2 week old chick still can't walk unaided

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by abbeycreamcat, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. abbeycreamcat

    abbeycreamcat Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2012
    Geeveston Tasmania
    Hi, just wondering if anyone has had a chick unable to walk at birth recover and be able to lead a relatively normal life?
    One of my little Polish chicks was 2 weeks old yesterday, it pipped 2 days after the due date (a day after most of the others hatched) but didn't get any further for 24 hours and I could tell by its cheeping it was getting very weak so I helped it out. It really was weak and just lay on the floor of the incubator so I went to bed thinking it would probably die during the night. To my surprise it was still alive the following morning but couldn't get up. I wrapped it in a Chux wipe and put it in the brooder with the others but in a little open top box, still expecting it would die (unfortunately I can't kill them). The next day it was still alive so I gave it water from an eyedropper.
    This went on for 3 days and each time I checked on it I expected it to be dead, (particularly as I had lost several of the other more healthy late hatchers by then!) but to my amazement it was still going strong so when I got home on the third day I made it up some lightly scrambled egg and soaked chick starter, which it scoffed down like there was no tomorrow.
    To cut the story short, it is still going well and can now stand right up on its legs and feet to feed but I keep my hand round it to balance it when it starts to tilt. It can also stand well and even walk if it has something to lean on and I have been walking it for about 30 seconds with my hand around it each time I feed it, it moves forward ok with help but picks its legs up quite high like a toddler learning to walk. It can also right itself when it falls over with the help of its wings.
    Yesterday I transferred it from the box I had it in (as it kept falling over when it moved away from the sides) to a long 'corridor' (in a brooder with some younger chicks as per the photo) which it can walk along, but only by rocking back and forth against the walls I get it out every few hours and feed it, (it gets very excited when it hears me coming!) and I give it water from the medicine dropper as I am still feeding it chick starter and the egg, but dry not damped down.
    My access is limited here to specialized nutrition, but I am sure I should be feeding it something more, or am I just totally wasting my time and just prolonging the inevitable? Normally I would have already asked my neighbor to put it down but it just seems to have such a strong will to survive I can't bring myself to do it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated please?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am very impressed by the things you've come up with to help it!!!
    There are a few notes on nutrients that help with leg problems on my website linked in my sig. No other additional treatments come to mind off the top of my head, but you can scan the Podiatry page to see if anything else seems applicable.
    Oh--I would also check to see if the chick's Achilles tendons may have slipped out of their grooves.
    Best wishes with your little trooper! [​IMG]
     
  3. abbeycreamcat

    abbeycreamcat Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2012
    Geeveston Tasmania
    Hi Speckled Hills, thanks so much for your reply and particularly the link to the fabulous website which makes me think that I may have done a few things right without really knowing what I am meant to do, so that has to be a plus lol.
    I did strap the legs in a mini bandaid brace for a few days when the legs seemed to be going wide rather badly, which was why I really wanted to get it out of the box but still give it freedom to move. I only took the brace off when I put it in the 'tunnel' yesterday as it seemed by then to be restricting its movement. The other chicks in the brooder are on shavings, I have the problem child on a mixture of my horses' oaten and lucerne (I think you call it alfalfa?) chaff as it is less lumpy underfoot but isn't slippery and isn't going to hurt if it gets nibbled on.
    [​IMG]
    The tendons are good, in fact it seems to have good overall strength in its legs now and can stand well, it just seems to have very little balance.
    I hold up the food container up so it has to stand completely upright to eat, and it leans its chest against it for balance.Tonight when I was feeding it it gave me a pretty hard time and kept jumping up into it (you can see it in the background in the photo above - a good 'ol Aussie Vegemite jar lid!) and trying to run about, all the while I had to try and keep my hand cupped around it so it wouldn't fall over, or worse still, fall off the table.
    The mat I use for feeding it that it is standing on in the photo works a treat, it is an old soft rubbery mousepad turned upside down with the grippy side up. I also do the walking therapy on the carpet - good thing I am a silly old grown up in my own house, my mother would have killed me if I had done this at home when I was a kid!
    I have made a little pouch for it and I tuck it down my front so that it gets some close contact and it happily peep peep peeps away until it falls asleep, in fact the only time I have heard it unhappy at all was when I restrained it to put the leg braces on and off it, it is such a cheery chirpy little thing.
    Is it ok for me to still be feeding a little bit of scrambled egg? I started it on mainly that with a little bit of mushy chick starter but I am gradually decreasing the egg and increasing the dry chick starter, which is supposed to be a complete feed for chicks. It likes to pick out the bits of egg though it is eating more and more of the chick starter. It is quite small compared to the other Polish that are only a day or two older, and I also noticed on the website that vitamin D is important, I don't know of anywhere I could buy something specially formulated for chicks down here, but wondered if Pentavite drops for infants would be ok? I have used them for years for ailing puppies and kittens. In case you don't have it in the U.S. here is the ingredients list:
    Penta-vite Liquid Multi-vitamins for Infants (0-3 yrs)
    Penta-vite Liquid Multi-vitamins for Infants * (0-3 years) contain a special formulation of vitamins essential for infants' healthy growth and development. Pentavite may help maintain a healthy intake of vitamins in instances of fussy eating habits, appetite loss or during illness. This pleasant-tasting pineapple flavoured liquid formula comes with an easy to use dosing syringe. Available in pack size of 30ml.
    Each 0.45 mL contains:
    Thiamine hydrochloride (Vit. B1)

    540 mcg
    Riboflavine sodium phosphate (equivalent to riboflavin (Vit. B2) 800 mcg)

    1.1 mg
    Nicotinamide (Vit. B3)

    7.1 mg
    Pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vit. B6)

    135 mcg
    Ascorbic acid (Vit. C)

    42.8 mg
    Cholecalciferol (Vit. D3)

    10.1 mcg
    Retinyl palmitate (Vit. A)

    490mcg
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  4. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The vitamins drops sound great. Here in the US, us chicken keepers often recommend children's PolyViSol to each other, & it's similar.
    I think it's fine to feed some scrambled egg. The yolk part is highest in nutrients (esp. protein) so if you're only feeding a little you might want to feed mostly that part, I'm thinking.
    Love the mousepad idea!
    I'm very relieved to hear the tendons are in the right place, & you've been doing some very helpful exercising to help it with strength.
    If you put leg braces back on. I'd make the center section just a little shorter so the legs are a little closer together. I'm not sure of the chick's specific problem, but I'm wondering if carefully spaced hobbles & physical therapy may be the most effective treatments to help it learn to center & balance its weight.
    It sounds like you're giving the little one some sweet & much-appreciated TLC!
    I will send up prayers for you & your little chick.
     
  5. pheasant101

    pheasant101 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have also read that you can use pipe cleaners on their feet/ legs to help them. Its kinda cute to see such love for such a small little gal. I have a hen that had crooked toes after a few days of bringing her home from TSC. I read it was from too much or not enough humidity in the incubator or not enough heat in the brooder. At the time I didnt know this and just let her run around like that. They say if you catch it early enough you can tape pipe cleaners to her feet/toes and correct the toes but I didnt catch it in time. She is over 2 years old now and is one of our best layers. I didnt clip her wing like I did the rest so she could get away if needed from preditors. ( had a few of them jumping the fence and wanting to roost in our apple tree) Good luck with your baby chick.
     
  6. abbeycreamcat

    abbeycreamcat Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2012
    Geeveston Tasmania
    I wondered if the taping was any use with it that far apart, I did have the legs a bit closer but it seemed to make it worse, it struggled continually while it was on its feet couldn't walk at all so I lengthened them to how they are in the pic.
    I am feeling very despondent today and am wondering if I am doing the right thing keeping it going. It gets very hard when I see it getting upset when it tries to get around and continually falls over. Add to that an eye problem which has emerged, initially I had another weak one in with it but even though that one could get about it didn't have the fight in it that this one has and died at about 4 days, but in the meantime it scratched this one in the eye which is now looking like it may ulcerate.
    Oh and for those who think I am weird tucking it down my front for hours on end, fact is that it is happiest when snuggled up in my hand but I can't just carry it around, so down the front is a compromise so I can go about my business and still keep it cozy.
    I took a photo of it this morning and compared it to one from 4 days ago when it couldn't stand upright at all. It's just so hard to give up when it has such a strong will to live, and I can see an improvement, just not sure if it is enough
    I normally hold the dish with one hand and cup my other hand around the chick without actually holding it but so it can rock back and forth without falling. It puts its chest against the feeder and balances really well and can climb up on to the feeder from that position and tip it all out lol. In the first pic I couldn't hold both to take the photo as it just leaned back on it's bum or toppled to the side, as you can see in the second photo it is stable enough that I can.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This might be a struggle that can't be completely solved. [​IMG] I don't know.
    So hard! I will try to write something more within the next day, but just wanted to send out a hug to you & your chick at least for now. [​IMG]
     
  8. abbeycreamcat

    abbeycreamcat Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2012
    Geeveston Tasmania
    An update on my little Polish girl, she obviously considered me her 'mummy' and loved to snuggle, she never made a fuss and was the sweetest little soul, and as long as I continued her physio she was able to sit and stand on her own but could still not walk more than a few steps before falling. Unfortunately we reached a stalemate and it became very clear that after many weeks of trying she had not made enough progress to lead a relatively normal life and so I made the tough decision and she was pts. RIP little battler
     
  9. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2008
    Idaho/Utah
    I'm sorry I lost track & didn't write again earlier.

    I'm very sorry your little one wasn't able to progress to stable walking. It sounds like you took very tender care of her, but she just had a condition she couldn't overcome. She sounds like she was a dear & sweet patient.

    Thanks very much for letting us know how things have gone.

    I send condolences for your pain in losing her. I am sure she appreciated all your care very much. [​IMG]
     
  10. abbeycreamcat

    abbeycreamcat Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2012
    Geeveston Tasmania
    Thanks Speckled Hills, she really was a little battler, but at least I know I tried to help her, can't do any more than that....
     

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