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8 week old chicks with walking/balance problems

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Quackadoodle, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. Quackadoodle

    Quackadoodle New Egg

    Aug 12, 2015
    Hi, I have an 8 week old chick that developed walking problems a week ago, it seems wobbly and off balance with its legs kind of going all directions when it tries to walk. My initial thought was an injury, until the following day 2 other chicks got sick and died suddenly. I had treated my whole flock for coccidiosis but a few days later another 8 week old chick died suddenly. Yesterday morning I found yet another 8 week old chick with walking/balance/leg problems similar to the first chick that I originally thought was injured. The vet doesn't know what it is, He doesnt deal with poultry often but gave me antibiotics to give them. They are eating and drinking fine and appear chirpy except for this leg/balance issue, no diarrhoea. I think it's some kind of virus or bacteria, has anyone any idea as to what this could be.. The chicks that died had gone off their food in the morning suddenly and died a few hours later, the two chicks with leg issues don't appear sick as they are eating a lot and drinking with no diarrhoea but it's distressing watching them trying to walk and fall all over the place. Any ideas what's happening here? They've been on their antibiotics 3 days with no improvement, in fact I think the second chicks leg issues have worsened.
  2. Owlgirl7

    Owlgirl7 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 24, 2014
    Sorry to hear about the chick problems. Hope this helps.

    I'm thinking that the death of the other chicks are mostly likely unrelated to the leg issues. From what I can tell your chicks have what's called "Splayed Leg" or "Spraddle Leg" which is fairly common in young chicks. You're going to want to treat this as soon as possible to correct the "spraddling" bone.

    A chick I had in the past had splayed legs in the first few days after he was born. I taped his legs together which a band-aid to keep them from splaying. I cut a band-aid in half long-ways, put the white gauze as a 'spacer' in between the legs and wrapped the sticky brown part around the leg. Leave this on for a day or two and if you did it right the legs should be corrected with the chicks walking normally.

    For a better description, try this video link;
    It uses a straw and rubber bands instead of band-aids. You should be able to go from there.
    Hope that helps with your chicks' legs.

    Unfortunately, I have no idea as to what killed some of your other chicks. There are so many variables... feed, water, heat, crowding. Just watch the chicks on a regular basis to see how there're acting. You should be able to understand "chick-talk" and when something's wrong if you listen frequently.
  3. Quackadoodle

    Quackadoodle New Egg

    Aug 12, 2015
    Thanks for your reply. I too was thinking saddle leg initially but because they developed it at 8 weeks and within days of each other I thought it to be some sort of virus, last night the first chick had begun to show signs of improvement with her balance, she has been on antibiotics for 4 days now. The other chick's walking and balance has gotten worse. Can botulism or Mereks cause these symtoms in 8 week old chicks, they still feeding and drinking well and don't have diarrhoea. But they seem a bit dizzy and slightly confused.

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