Advice please - chicken hurt foot/ toes


5 Years
Oct 4, 2014
Hi there,

One of my chickens hurt herself a few weeks ago. I thought nothing of it since I've seen it happen before.

Her hip appears twisted outwards but I don't think its the problem.

I have compared the joints from the hip downwards at each side and there doesn't appear to be any swelling or any bones out of place.

She leans on the lower part of her leg at the knee joint and her toes are curled inwards.

I think the ankle/ toes may be were a break/s occurred. Her toes don't curl round my finger. When she moves she leans on her leg and is a unbalanced.

She is still able to climb down from the coop to get food and water everyday and is still social with the other birds.

Should I put the chicken down? I don't want it to be suffering
Seeing a vet is not an option as its just too expensive.

Please advise on what I should do.

Thank you,

If I'm not mistaken, your birds appear to be Cornish cross meat birds. That would explain the leg problems and massive size--Cornish crosses are meant to grow rapidly and be eaten at about 8 weeks of age. Some do live longer if their diet is carefully controlled, but their heavy size can cause many leg problems or heart attacks.

I had a cockerel that behaved similarly to your injured hen last year. He walked around mostly on his hock, but otherwise acted normal. After some rest, he seemed to recover for a little while. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure he had Marek's disease, since he began to get worse and finally died.

What I would do is isolate your hen in a clean, well bedded place. Don't give her a roost, and make sure there are no sharp objects for her to hurt herself on. Put feed and water within easy reach. With luck, all that is wrong is some sort of sprain, and the extra rest will heal her. If not, you could try creating a "sling" from which she could hang until the leg got stronger. During this treatment, I would also cut down on her feed, and feed her no more than 1 cup of food each day.

However, if neither of those methods work, then it would be best to cull her.
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Thank you for the response.

At the moment I give them 3 scoops of meal per day. That's just under one cup per chicken. I will try decreasing that because you say they are big.

I ended up culling the last bird I separated. It had a swollen foot and hid itself from the others. It deteriorated every more when I put it on its own.

Should a bird be kept in a sling for a few weeks until better or should it just be put in it for an hour or two daily?
I was looking at some other posts were people had used slings. I particularly like the trampoline style one with holes for the chickens legs. It looks like it won't choke it if it starts to flap about.

You are right about my chickens breed. I live on a free range poultry farm. The chickens come in at 35 days old and go out at 75 days. I'm finding it very different from backyard chickens.

On collection day sometimes chickens are left behind if there isn't enough to fill a crate drawer or they are too small.
I investigated using meat birds for laying as I didn't want to cull the birds left behind. I thought it would be a good way to learn more and get some eggs too.

I changed their feed so they are getting a good balance and not high protein corn and they have a decent size secure habitat to dwell as well as good housing and fresh bedding.

I have 7 birds, 2 are roosters. All of them are over 280 days now. The girls started laying between 125 and 148 days.
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