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Slipped tendon. 24 hours old chick, got it back inplace but won't stay there!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Any help is very much appreciated please.

Hatched 24 hours ago with what I thought was a bit of splay leg. Tried to fix it today but I think it has slipped tendon, pulled the leg straight and I could feel what I'm presuming is the tendon go back on to leg. Only problem is it won't stay there sad.png
Any tips?

It is getting about and has eaten and drank but with help. Am I flogging a dead horse? Dispatch it now? Don't know what to do idunno.gif

Checked out the podiatry link but still not sure what to do.
post #2 of 9

@Garden Peas probably has some good suggestions.



post #3 of 9
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks @casportpony

For now I have taped the legs and popped it in a pot. The leg is tucked up and slightly stuck out to the side. Hoping the tape will hold it down but it's a little wriggler!!

post #5 of 9

Hi @Yorkshire coop, how is the chick doing?


It looks like you taped for splayed leg -- which makes sense.  If the chick has a slipped tendon, it will probably need to have the hock joint taped while it heals. 


You can check for a slipped tendon from behind the bird -- looking at the back of the hock joint.  When the leg is bent, the tendon slips off to the inside, taking a shorter path.  When the leg is extended straight, the tendon will slip right back into place, either on its own or with a little nudge.  But keeping there is challenging.


In chicks, the groove that holds the achilles tendon in place as it travels along the back of the joint is not as deep as on an adult bird.  Taping it in place for a few days (5 is what the vet recommended for mine) gives it a chance to heal.  It also lets those bone grooves develop more.  The tendon may also shorten a bit, which helps it stay in place, or at any rate, it doesn't get overstretched while the leg is taped.


The first thing to know about the taping is that taping around the leg will not work.  Instead, you will make a flat splint -- flat like an envelope -- using wide adhesive tape. One piece goes on each side, sticky sides face each other and stick down.  You want the leg extended mostly straight, with a little bend in it, so the tendon stays in place.  I did one yesterday and found that it helped to put the inside piece of tape on first.  This is a job that goes better with two people.  More instructions below.


Here's a picture of the splint the vet made:




Here's a picture of one I did on a different bird yesterday:




First, you need wide cloth adhesive bandage tape -- if your tape is very thin or flexible, you can build it up with multiple layers.  Start with the two pieces facing each other (outside & inside), so it makes an envelope shape with the knife edge of the envelope lined up with the big toe -- facing forward and backward.  So looking straight on is like looking at the edge of the knife.  At this point, it will be large, approximate rectangles.  Put as many layers as needed to hold firm, make sure the leg is at a good angle (slight bend, mostly straight) and crimp the tape together so it sticks to the opposite side and conforms to the shape of the leg.


Once it is a good envelope, take your scissors and trim off the excess tape closer to the shape of the leg.  Then take small strips of tape and overlap the edge, reaching to about the middle or a little past on each side of the envelope.  Cover both the front and back knife edges to keep the tape strips from separating and add stability.  You can see the vet managed to put a little twist in hers that matches the placement of a chick's leg naturally.  (There's a reason vets get the big bucks!).


Try to keep it on for five days.  Check to see if it needs more when you take it off.


The chick will eventually learn to stand up while the splint is on, using the other leg.  I tried making chick chairs, but I have peafowl with big strong legs, and the chick just tore up the chair/pen/feed/water...  and hurt himself. 


The chick I am treating now is doing better -- I'm syringe feeding it which is helping.  It has also started drinking water on its own.  Chicks aren't very mobile in the tape splints, so be sure the chick can't drown in the water dish.  I also have mine in a "hospital" cage with one other chick for company, so the other peachicks don't bother it or keep it from eating.


There are some pretty good, step-by-step photos in this link that @casportpony gave us the other day:


Hope this helps!  Send more photos if you can.  Good luck :hugs

-- The Accidental Peahen
-- The Accidental Peahen
post #6 of 9

I want to clarify -- you need to use wide tape (not narrow tape).  You can build up thickness for stability, but it will not be secure and stable if you try to build up width using laps of narrow tape.  For my peachick, I needed tape at least one inch wide.  One and a half inch wide tape would have been better still.  The excess will be cut off anyway.


Also, to be more clear -- splayed leg is different from slipped tendon -- the tendon issue happens at the hock joint.  Splayed leg comes from higher up in the next joint area.  But the two conditions can co-occur.

-- The Accidental Peahen
-- The Accidental Peahen
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you @Garden Peas

I will get this done today but I think inch thick might be a little big for this chick. It's a bantam Pekin/Cochin with feathered legs. It's a tiny little thing. During the night it's got out of its tape and the pot th.gif
Will be 48 hours this afternoon so I'm hoping this is still time to fix it. Going to pop for some thicker tape this morning and get it strapped up ASAP.
To say it's so small it's a feisty little thing. Hope this works as it's been one of the worst hatches I've had. Just one thing after another with these eggs, started with 18 as replacement eggs due to the first batch having low fertility. Set them hoping for better but 10 of them were clear so left with 8 that made it to lockdown.
All 8 hatched but three were cockerels that have been dispatched. Late long and drawn out hatch it was. This little one with the leg problem plus an Orpington that got stuck zipping. Did nothing different incubation wise and the incubator was checked as a always prior to setting. Barring my first ever hatch this has been the worst sad.png

Once again thank you so much for your help and I will get some pics of the chick later.
post #8 of 9

Did you have any luck with the tendon taping?  The reason for using wider tape is that the leg gets taped in place with a slight bend at the hock joint.  Using wide tape allows you to put a rectangle of tape down and have the leg form a flat "v" on the tape, then put the other rectangle sticky side to sticky side of the first tape, making that envelope that I wrote about.


There's never any wrapping circumferentially around the limb axis with this method.


After the envelope is formed, then you trim along the leg a bit, ending up with a flat "v" shape which follows the leg -- it's a very wide opening to the "v" -- an obtuse angle.


The narrower tape doesn't accommodate the "v" shape of the leg as well.  By using one piece, it holds the shape of the angle through the joint, which is pretty important for keeping the tendon in place while it heals.  We don't want the bird to flex the joint for a few days.


Also, you may want to clear away the feathers so you can get a good, firm splinting action on the leg.  I'm told they grow back better when plucked -- that seems harsh, though they don't seem to mind the feathers being plucked nearly so much if the feather is twisted round on its axis before it is removed.  A little spin and out it comes, no bleeding that way.


Hope this helps.  Let me know if anything's not clear.

-- The Accidental Peahen
-- The Accidental Peahen
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
It's been a total disaster hit.gif I Made a couple of splints and put them on but it's escaping from them all the time. Its leg is so tiny. It does not have feathers as such on its legs yet, it is literally fluffy chick fluff. The last one I put on, its leg turned a funny colour sad.png Needless to say it got it off anyway. The hock joint is swollen and it seems to be bruised with a callous on it. I've probably done this as I was straightening the leg. I've moistened the callous and popped it back in with its hatch mates. I have tried but I'm getting nowhere so I'm going to let nature take its course. Right now it can hobble for food and water and I have seen it put it down a little bit. If it manages ok and grows something like I have a very quiet special needs hen it can go in with.

Thank you garden peas.
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