bent inside toes - possible vitamin deficiency?

BarkerChickens

Microbrewing Chickenologist
12 Years
Nov 25, 2007
3,508
21
244
High Desert, CA
We have several 11 week old chicks (all different breeds) that all started to develop a crooked toe or two AFTER being placed outside in their new coop and run. They were moved outside around 8 weeks old and all toes were fine before, so it is not genetic (also supported by various purebreds, so absolutely no relation to one another). The bent toes are only the inside toe and it occurs on either one or both feet. It is not curled and bends away from the middle toe at only one joint. Some are slightly bent to a 90 degree bend.

We have considered that it may be from injuries. We use the deep litter method and think it may be from jumping off the roosts that range between 1.5 feet up to 4 feet. But, we have considered vitamin deficiency of some sort since it happened after they were moved out and they eat dirt, bugs, leaves, etc, which may be depleting them of something that is in their starter feed.

My question is what would cause it? Is it reversible? If not, how can we prevent in the future. About 1/3 to 1/2 of the chicks have developed it. None of our adults have ever had this problem, so it is new to us.
 
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GreenGoddess

Songster
10 Years
Jun 6, 2009
1,375
11
151
St Pauls, NC
I'm pretty new at all this but perhaps some veterans could help more.. I do have one theory.. A while back I had an iguana (since birds are close relatives to dinosaurs and they were reptiles) with very similar symptoms.. Unfortunately i found out too late that it was a calcium deficiency.. And since you have changed them from the starter to more natural foods in their free ranging maybe they aren't getting as much as they should? Like I said, it's a theory.. Anyone else want to chime in on this one?

Goddess:jumpy
 

BarkerChickens

Microbrewing Chickenologist
12 Years
Nov 25, 2007
3,508
21
244
High Desert, CA
We haven't "changed" their diet so much (still giving chick starter) as much as they have expanded it on their own. However, it clearly affects what they are getting into their systems. The calcium deficiency idea is interesting! Thanks!


Anyone else have any input?
 

BarkerChickens

Microbrewing Chickenologist
12 Years
Nov 25, 2007
3,508
21
244
High Desert, CA
idunno.gif
Luckily the 3 roos I want to keep don't have bent toes. Well, that kind anyway... My Jersey Giant roo has one partially missing toe and the toe next to it is bent 90 degrees, but that is because of an injury at only a few days old (his fellow chick mates were being mean. They bit the end of his middle toe off and then dragged him around, which I guess is how the one next to it got broke.
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). He's fine with it though.

ETA: Some corrected their toes somehow. Not sure if it was them eating better (not sure how, but no complaints) or if their toes just popped back into place.
idunno.gif
 
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threehorses

Songster
10 Years
Apr 20, 2009
3,427
170
221
Houston
At about six weeks they should be moving to grower or starter/grower. That might be part of the issue. Integrate the new feed. Make sure its not broiler grower (which isn't designed to be fed freely.) It should be a grower or starter/grower for birds intended for laying.

Then at five months or when combs start to plump and redden in pullets (cockerels start much earlier) , start integrating laying feed into the diet slowly. At that time, introduce oyster shell slowly into their grit dish. (And please do give them grit now if you're not.) At that time as well you can do yogurt weekly to improve vitamin D levels which are important for calcium absorbtion.

But for now, grower please.

In case of rickets (a possibility), you can start yogurt now daily. One teaspoon per bird, plain no fruit no flavors. Make a quickly eaten wet mash of yogurt and crumbles and give that as their first meal of the day. They'll eat it, and then you replace it with free-choice grower. The D in the yogurt is what allows calcium to absorb.

You can also supplement with Enfamil PolyViSol baby vitamins (the no iron formula - cvs carries it) at 3 drops in the crack at the side of the beak daily per bird. That provides another oily source of A, D, and E as well as some B vitamins and other good stuff. It's important that your ADE vitamins all are given in a fat or oil to be absorbed correctly.

Adding a boiled egg mashed into the yogurt before making the mash might also give them a boost.

This might not correct the toes that are already bent, but it could help prevent continuing problems if this is nutritional. If it's not, it will NOT hurt. It will only help them to thrive.

Please do feel free to ask me questions here or via email if any of this was unclear or you require further help. I'll do my best, as will everyone here.
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BarkerChickens

Microbrewing Chickenologist
12 Years
Nov 25, 2007
3,508
21
244
High Desert, CA
The original post is from a month ago...

The chicks turned 15 weeks old today and have been on grower since probably a few days after I posted. There are oyster shells available already, but that is for the hens since they have been integrated for the past 3-4 weeks now. The chicks ignore it and the hens seem to be getting enough shells since the eggs are still hard like when they were on lay pellets. Most of the bent toes are roos and luckily, not the ones that I intend to keep. Some corrected too, which is odd since it was really bad in one of my delaware roos and now none of the dels have bent toes.
idunno.gif
No complaints about that though!

ETA: They free range the yard now, so maybe the weeds and bugs helped with some deficiency too since the only food that changed was the starter to grower.
 
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