Hi everyone! First post here, but we've benefitted from many of the existing posts. Thanks!
Here's the issue. We have six approximately 5-week-old chicks we got from Tractor Supply. One of the chicks our kids wanted was noticeably the smallest of all of them, even though I suppose they were all close to the same age. It was a red pullet of some kind.
Anyway, within a couple weeks it became obvious that Tiny wasn't growing as well as the others, and I thought it was just a matter of having suffered the effects of being the runt. Then upon closer examination, we saw that its toes curled inward. I researched and thought it might be a riboflavin deficiency, so I separated it from the others and began giving it supplements for a week or so, along with some makeshift shoes. The others never had that problem, were getting much better feathers than Tiny was, as well. When fitting the shoes I noticed it had feathers all the way down to its feet, and then I noticed that one of its feet had an extra toe. After the week was up, I saw that nothing had substantially changed except (marginally) its size and feather condition, probably due to its isolation. Because its feet are so malformed, I still have it isolated to avoid being hen-pecked.
Now the other chicks look like young chickens, and Tiny, at around half the size, looks like a bizarre deformity. Now there is something more identifiable as feathers over her body. But I have no reason to believe there is any suffering (there don't seem to be any neurological effects). Tiny scratches and peeps just like the others. My question: is Tiny a bantam gone somewhat afoul (pun not intended)? Honestly, I'm mostly worried about its feet. Do we need to consider euthanizing him/her/it, or might he/she/it live a somewhat unusual but not miserable life as a pet? I don't want to kill it just because it looks weird. Plus, I have my kids to worry about...
Here are some pictures:
Note Tiny's toes:
And for comparison, here's the other red we got the same day:
I'd appreciate your wisdom! Thanks!