Birth Defect or Mutation? Extra toes.....? or something?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jegsouds, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. jegsouds

    jegsouds In the Brooder

    Sep 18, 2013
    Hey everyone! My wife and I started raising chickens this year and bought several baby chicks of varying breeds and they have matured, laying us nice eggs :). Our maran decided she wanted to be a mother and went broody. We were skeptical about whether or not she would stick with it considering how young she was and inexperienced but after a week of her stubbornness we relented and gave her 9 eggs to hatch. One egg turned out to be infertile but she hatched the other 8 and the little chicks are seemingly doing great and are about 2-3 days old.

    However, We noticed one of our little chicks (which we assume to be a Production Red/Cream Legbar Cross) has an extra toe or something growing out of her leg near the top where its leg meets its body. The little chick seems to be doing fine but I didn't know if this could be a sign of other future health problems or if its a sign that we shouldn't continue hatching eggs from that chicken or if this if just some sort of birth defect/mutation that can happen once in a while.

    Take a look at the pictures and let me know if you have any thoughts! Thanks!


  2. brahmabreeder

    brahmabreeder Songster

    Feb 22, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    [​IMG] Must say that is a first for me. I would guess mutation.
    Thought I would add I doubt it will pop up again.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  3. jegsouds

    jegsouds In the Brooder

    Sep 18, 2013
    Yeah. I searched google for answers and couldn't find any so I thought I would see if anyone on here had any insight...
  4. I would patent the DNA sequence. You may be able to breed a chicken out of it that bird that'll produces 4 drumsticks.
    1 person likes this.
  5. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    It actually looks like an entire FOOT up there somehow, because I'm seeing TWO extra toes! I bet if you got the chick x-rayed, you might find bone stubs or something for more toes.

    This almost sounds like the type of thing we see in siamese twins in humans, or in humans with that type of deficiency. It means that the embryo started to split after fertilization, but never completed that process. Sometimes an entire second baby is born, still attached. Other times, it's just an extra head, foot, arm, etc.

    The interesting thing is, I've never known a chicken to be capable of doing this. If they were, we would end up with "twins" inside a single egg, developed from a SINGLE yolk. As chicks they wouldn't survive to hatch, but I've never heard any stories of a single-yolk egg being cracked open later with two embryos.

    The key here would be to "line-breed" it and see what happens. That means breeding it back to the mom or dad. If you can produce another one, then it's a mutated recessive gene that can potentially be used to create a new breed (that's actually how new breeds are created - when genes mutate to create something new). If you can't get anymore like that, then it's simply a one-time birth defect.
  6. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama

    That's what I was thinking too but LT explained it much better than I could have. Wonder if the extra toes will function, like for grabbing a roost perch or something.
  7. carrieb62

    carrieb62 Chirping

    Sep 16, 2013
    Oh wow this is so amazing! Its got me reading articles on "Chicken Polydactyly" now! [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  8. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Crowing

    Feb 12, 2013
    Eastern WA
  9. jegsouds

    jegsouds In the Brooder

    Sep 18, 2013
    Thanks for the thoughts! This is our first year with our chickens and our first time allowing our broody to hatch some babies.

    My thoughts were similar about he X-ray... I think he/she may have a whole other foot us under her skin because it looks almost lie a complete foot jutting out of the top of its leg... Very strange but I will be interested to see how the chick grows and develops
    1 person likes this.
  10. jdoane

    jdoane Songster

    Aug 7, 2013
    Western Massachusetts
    Very interesting. Keep posting to let us know how the chick develops!

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