9wk old chick won't stand up on legs? What's wrong with her?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 25, 2009
Littleton, Colorado
I've got her inside now in a laundry basket. Her appetite is healthy, and she drinks her water well. So why can't she walk/run around? Her legs look good to me-and she can move them both at the body when I pick her up, but she just sits when I put her down. She's venting fine too. Any ideas? Thank-you!!!!
9 weeks old? I am not an expert but you might want to give more info about her. It is important to know if you have other 9 week old chicks and how they are and if they have a nutritionally complete diet. Add whether or not she was vaccinated for Marek's (I'm not sure but I think 9 weeks may be too young to show signs of Marecks). Post a picture if possible and answer all the other questions for emergencies in this link:


Until then keep her warm and offer her water and food. Hope she is OK!
Thanks Chickerdoodle- Her sisters are doing fine. All 8 are healthy and curious and growing. I will follow up on the questionnaire you refered me to. I've also called my feed supplier. He's been breeding poultry for over 30 years and also supplies me with a premium mash for my big girls. I have 10 layers, and just added these 9 buff babies. Oh, and none of my hens or chicks have been vaccinated for anything. Just medicated chick start then straight to mash. Everyone is well 'cept for this little one. I would provide a picture but I don't know how to post it. I've tried!!
Well, I'm just frantic researching everything and every thread and post on splay leg or what others have done for chicks who can't stand up. I have sprinkled some oyster shell in her mash (suspecting a calcium deficiency) and am toying with the idea of adding ACV to her water (her vent seems suspicious to me) She gets pasty butt which I attribute to being immobile. And I don't know if I need to straddle her legs under her with band-aids or not. She continues to lay with her wings spread out completely, appearing quite larger than she is. She makes quite a fuss when she is trying to move around on her own. (Like she's in pain?) Geez, I dunno,.....I don't want to overdo it! Should I straddle her legs?
Don't know if I'd use band-aids for her legs like a really young chick but a sling to allow her to get some strength and help her get a little exercise might be better--like Oldtimegator did--if you determine she has no injury. You may offer her a few meal worms (if she gets chick grit) for a little protein boost. Can you take her to an avian veterinarian? Keep us posted.
I have some 12 week old pullets - most OK - but one walks stiffly and sits down a lot and in a rather awkward way. Was researching when I found this post. The poultry health book lists nutritional deficiencies and this looks like biotin deficiency according to their list. Maybe it's the same for you? I'm going to try a liquid vitamin supplement in their water. Only one affected, but who knows, the others may be about to develop symptoms too.

With Mareks (or botulism which has identical symptoms) they drop their wings aswell - generally one side affected before the other, and become gradually paralysed. They eat and drink normally and their droppings are normal, if they can get to food. If your chicken's wings are unaffected it is probably not Mareks or botulinum.

I hope your chicken recovers, and a little vitamin in the drinking water won't hurt so worth a try.
Thank-you all so very much for the helpful suggestions. She is still active and lively. She's trying so hard to stand. One leg being weak and useless, but she can move it still. The other she seems to be able to use to flop, around in her basket. When she does try to move, she gets her legs under her with toes spread out on both feet as they should be, but just not enough strenth in them to hold her up. I am concerned these legs are going to stay useless if I don't figure this out, so I'm going to the local bird store to put up a vitamin supplement. I do know of a bird vet I can call, but I will reserve that call for one more day. (He's a long drive away). I will keep you updated.
Well I do hope she gets better. I am still watching mine carefully. The trouble with vitamins is that they take weeks and weeks to really work I think (unlike something like iron supplement which works in a few days). I have been to the vet several times with sick birds but they always seem to die as they are so hard to treat or even to diagnose. I do recommend that you get the Poultry Health Handbook by Gail Damerow. I had it as a birthday present and it is only partly useful to me as I live in the UK and cannot get some of the things she mentions, or they have different names here. If nothing else, leafing through that book will help you worry yourself into an early grave. When you see the range of things which chickens can get wrong with them, you may want to change the bit at the end of your messages, lol.
too much calcium can cause all kinds of problems in young birds (not yet laying) and even death in some circumstances.
leg problems are often due to D3 problems and incorrect ratios of D3/phosphorous and calcium.
Is the feed you have been/are using a commercial feed or one made privately from your feed store?

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