Came home yesterday evening to discover poor chick #5 had slipped a tendon -- arghhh!!! He was perfect when I left, and has been doing great for days. While I waffle about whether it could be related to his earlier spraddle (this poor little guy has been through a lot already), as sound as he was, I tend to think he just got injured. The chicks have been really rambunctious the last few days, playing jump the pea and chase the pea and ring around the pea -- lots of activity in the brooder. He was one of the two smallest, and the big ones were having a growth spurt. I guess it doesn't really matter, but I hate to see him go through this, and I'm not at all sure if we can get it corrected.
Disclaimer -- I don't know if this chick will make it. Slipped tendons are pernicious and not necessarily easy to get fixed.
Here's what we did last night.
PART 1 -- REPLACING THE TENDON AND STABILIZING THE HOCK JOINT
First, I popped the tendon back in place, and gently flexed the hock to see if the tendon would stay. No joy. This is still a very young chick, and the grooves at the hock are not really deep yet. With the swelling already starting, getting it to stay in place with just repositioning it didn't work. You can see in the photo that the tendon is back in place, but slightly swollen. Didn't have enough hands to record it popping back out, and didn't want to put the chick through that. Got it back in and held the chick in position to keep it there while stabilizing it. (At some point early on, we wrapped the upper bird gently with vet wrap (only sticks to itself), which helped keep the bird calm and prevented it from injuring a wing while we worked on it)
So then we moved on to taping the tendon in place. I tried a couple different ways of taping; finally ended up with this:
I was reluctant to put tape on the joint itself, due to the swelling and the mechanics, so settled for taping above and below the joint to try to keep the tendon in the correct position. I was concerned that flexing the joint (which will have to happen for a full recovery) would pop out the tendon again if the swelling hasn't had a chance to go down and the movement isn't controlled while healing. So we made a splint for the leg, to stabilize it for the time being.
(I scavenged the nerf darts from my son's room ) Nerf darts (or whatever they are actually called) are already hollow, a perfect size and shape, and both rigid and soft at the same time. I put it on with the open side to the back, to allow the swelling to subside and not cut off circulation, and I think the edges of the opening will help further stabilize the tendon for the next few days. Once I had the nerf dart trimmed to size, I taped it down, again keeping the tape above and below the hock joint:
Here's our chick with the leg stabilized, ready to move on to part 2, chick support...
The vet wrap is gently around the bird to help it remain calm and not injure a wing. It's loose enough so the bird can still breathe easily and wiggle it's upper body around.
Next post... Part 2