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Chick Not Using Leg (PIctures) - Humane Death Necessary?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I assisted the hatch of a Welsummer chick who hadn't made progress other than a large hole and who had begun drying in the shell. I am 100% confident without intervention this chick would not have survived. I didn't know the reason for it's inability to turn itself and zip without help but upon drying in the brooder it's very clear that it was because it doesn't use it's left leg.

 

The chick CAN move the leg (when I turn him upside down, he kicks it out), but doesn't appear to want to. The toes stay curled under as if the leg is unusable almost all of the time. The chick stays laying down the majority of the time and when it wants to move it shuffles itself by kicking its strong leg and flapping its little wings.

 

I'm curious if anyone has ideas on how to treat or support this chick. I suspect it won't make it, but is there a point where I should just put it out of its misery? Has anyone had a chick with a bum leg successfully make it to adulthood?

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellmare View Post

I assisted the hatch of a Welsummer chick who hadn't made progress other than a large hole and who had begun drying in the shell. I am 100% confident without intervention this chick would not have survived. I didn't know the reason for it's inability to turn itself and zip without help but upon drying in the brooder it's very clear that it was because it doesn't use it's left leg.

The chick CAN move the leg (when I turn him upside down, he kicks it out), but doesn't appear to want to. The toes stay curled under as if the leg is unusable almost all of the time. The chick stays laying down the majority of the time and when it wants to move it shuffles itself by kicking its strong leg and flapping its little wings.

I'm curious if anyone has ideas on how to treat or support this chick. I suspect it won't make it, but is there a point where I should just put it out of its misery? Has anyone had a chick with a bum leg successfully make it to adulthood?












I would wait it out. Sometimes they are so tired when they first hatch that all they do is lay down. He may have had the leg at a strange position while hatching as well. Or it could be something more serious, such as splayed leg or a deformed or nonexistent leg bone, which I've had to put down a quail chick for recently. Chickens can also survive with only one usable leg and may simply use this one as a "crutch" to keep him balanced. I'd let it play out and see how things go as long as he isn't in pain. You may need to separate him from other chicks to keep him from being picked on. Good luck, he is a cutie!

Regards,
Leaf
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you Leaf. I'm planning on making a chick sandal later tonight, as well as treating him for splayed legs, just in case. The leg appears to be formed normally so I don't have any idea why the chick isn't using it. I'm going to try to give him some hard boiled egg yolk later and get him to drink some water.

If anyone else has advice or experience with this, please chime in.
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellmare View Post

Thank you Leaf. I'm planning on making a chick sandal later tonight, as well as treating him for splayed legs, just in case. The leg appears to be formed normally so I don't have any idea why the chick isn't using it. I'm going to try to give him some hard boiled egg yolk later and get him to drink some water.

If anyone else has advice or experience with this, please chime in.

Make sure you get him some electrolytes as well. Good luck!

Regards,
Leaf
post #5 of 6

You've gotten some basic good advice as to wait and see, and support for fatigued chicks; however I doubt it is fatigue from hatching but failure to hatch because of some genetic cause. Typically a healthy but fatigued chick will rally within 1 to 2 days at most and then run around like the rest of the chicks bright eyed and fluffed.

 

The trouble with unthrifty and failed to hatch chicks is often neurological or some other invisible cause.

 

Some such birds will make it into adulthood with success. Often they die later of their deformity usually because they can't eat or drink well as it becomes more difficult to move with their growing weight, or they catch something and die because a compromised immune system usually goes along with failure to hatch or any deformity.

 

Over the years after a number of attempted assisted hatches, splinting, reviving, nurturing, nursing, I have come to the conclusion I will no longer assist hatch (unless I know environmentally caused shrink wrap...usually a hen disturbed at the wrong time). There is almost always a reason the bird couldn't make it out of the shell that will prevent it from thriving. The birds that do make it after an assisted hatch or deformity in chickhood do not survive as well and seem far more prone to disease thereby acting as a vector of illness to the rest of the flock. (That's why the other birds will often drive away and haze a frail bird).

 

If your are trying to keep a sustaining and self supporting flock, cull now.

 

If these are pets, and you have time and desire to fuss and nurse, by all means do so knowing this may always be a special need bird and you may need to cull later if the bird cannot handle larger body weight.

 

If you are breeding for show or sale, cull now.

 

Good luck with your little one.

 

LofMc


Edited by Lady of McCamley - 3/27/16 at 12:04pm
Keeper of 15+ layers, common to specialty types for colorful egg baskets. Brooding Queens: The Queen Mum Silkie and 2 Bantam Cochin handmaids. Preparing to breed my own Olive Eggers! Barnevelder roo with Splash Marans and CL for egg color and color coding :D Former 4H leader, GDB Puppy Raiser, Homeschooler. Current ESL tutor. Proud new grandma. Loving wife to a very tolerant husband.
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Keeper of 15+ layers, common to specialty types for colorful egg baskets. Brooding Queens: The Queen Mum Silkie and 2 Bantam Cochin handmaids. Preparing to breed my own Olive Eggers! Barnevelder roo with Splash Marans and CL for egg color and color coding :D Former 4H leader, GDB Puppy Raiser, Homeschooler. Current ESL tutor. Proud new grandma. Loving wife to a very tolerant husband.
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post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady of McCamley View Post

You've gotten some basic good advice as to wait and see, and support for fatigued chicks; however I doubt it is fatigue from hatching but failure to hatch because of some genetic cause. Typically a healthy but fatigued chick will rally within 1 to 2 days at most and then run around like the rest of the chicks bright eyed and fluffed.

The trouble with unthrifty and failed to hatch chicks is often neurological or some other invisible cause.

Some such birds will make it into adulthood with success. Often they die later of their deformity usually because they can't eat or drink well as it becomes more difficult to move with their growing weight, or they catch something and die because a compromised immune system usually goes along with failure to hatch or any deformity.

Over the years after a number of attempted assisted hatches, splinting, reviving, nurturing, nursing, I have come to the conclusion I will no longer assist hatch (unless I know environmentally caused shrink wrap...usually a hen disturbed at the wrong time). There is almost always a reason the bird couldn't make it out of the shell that will prevent it from thriving. The birds that do make it after an assisted hatch or deformity in chickhood do not survive as well and seem far more prone to disease thereby acting as a vector of illness to the rest of the flock. (That's why the other birds will often drive away and haze a frail bird).

If your are trying to keep a sustaining and self supporting flock, cull now.

If these are pets, and you have time and desire to fuss and nurse, by all means do so knowing this may always be a special need bird and you may need to cull later if the bird cannot handle larger body weight.

If you are breeding for show or sale, cull now.

Good luck with your little one.

LofMc

Good advice. I thought this was a newly hatched chick. I was guessing that you were keeping this chick as a pet, but you definitely do not want it to procreate. I try not to assist hatches either, though it is hard sometimes. Survival of the fittest. Good luck!

Regards,
Leaf
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