Chick with broken legs and wing (No experience raising chickens)


In the Brooder
Mar 7, 2018
Newcastle, Australia
So, some backstory:
Today i found my dads hens had hatched 3 chicks, 2 are perfectly healthy but i noticed one was on the ground and could not move. Thinking it had died i went into the coop to check on it, and the chick was breathing but unable to stand. On closer inspection i realised both legs and it's left wing have been broken, i'm assuming this was done by another chicken in the yard.
Unable to leave it there to a horrible death, i decided to care for it until i can get it to a vet tomorrow morning. The poor guy is now living in some shredded paper in a shoe box, I'm using a portable spotlight for heat, and monitoring his box with a cheap outdoor thermometer which is being kept at approximately 30° Celsius. I've fed it some sugared water, from a jar lid which at first he gulped down like crazy. Two hours later he was not as interested in the water so i i checked his butt as suggested in another post, it was blocked, so using warm water and a cotton tip i unblocked it after which he had a rather large poo.

As i have absolutely 0 experience in raising chickens and was only checking in on them to feed them for my dad who is hospital, i am after the advice of people with more experience and knowledge than i do.
What more can i do to kept the chick comfortable in case it doesn't make it until morning?
Is there anything i have done wrong and/or should be doing instead?
Does the chick need to be fed every 2 hours? (as i am perfectly willing to stay awake to do so)
I purchased some plain "natural" yogurt as i read sick chicks can be fed this mixed with water, Should i feed it the yogurt mix or continue with the sugared water?
Basically any and all information anyone would be willing to give me about the situation would be much appreciated as really want to do all i can to keep the little chick alive. :)

EDIT #1: after attempting to feed the chick for the 3rd time he/she went absolutely nuts over the yogurt mix, eating approx 3-4 teaspoons (is this too much?)
The chick perked up almost immediately, even (Painfully) trying to move/walk around. Within about 2 minutes after i decided to stop the feeding, the chick was back sound asleep. Is this good? How long before i should feed again?
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Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

So sorry for your sad find. :(

I have to be honest... Keeping a chick alive that has broken wings and legs is cruel, to me. :confused: Every time you touch or move it for feeding and watering has GOT to be painful. Dispatching would be the humane thing to do, in my opinion. But I do realize that we all have different thought processes and such and I will still do my best to try and help you.

Chicks don't need to eat every 2 hours. The ones under mum sleep all night. Of course this is a special situation. Do you know how old they actually are? Yogurt is to establish good flora in the gut... but not sure it has enough vitamins and such to stop a chick from failing.

I suggest adding electrolytes to the water. Recipe is... 2 cups warm water (to help dissolve), 2 tablespoons brown sugar (has micro or macro nutrients that white does not), 1/2 teaspoon EACH salt and baking soda, (if you have it) 1/2 teaspoon salt substitute (aka potassium chloride). Stir until dissolved and serve full strength. If you have any liquid vitamins, a few drops would be great. Either Poultry nutri drench (feed store or Amazon or TSC) or Poly vi Sol baby vitamins with NO iron (make sure it contains B's), or liquid bird vitamins from the pet department at Wally or wherever.

I would feed scrambled or boiled and chopped egg (or even a raw egg yolk from my own flock in extreme cases). Eggs have the needed nutrients and are easy to digest. Just think they live off the yolk for the first few days of life. Maybe moistened feed or dry but crushed a little extra.

So you say the babe was able to drink on it own or were you helping it somehow? Are you sure the wings and legs are broke? Are you able to post a pic?

I think 40 C is a little too warm and should be closer 37-38. I can only presume the chick isn't able to move in and out of the warm spot so paying attention to body language might be helpful, though I'm not sure this chick can effectively express itself... Does it loud peep when it's mad? Anyways... wings spread and panting would usually be too hot... and a common cause of pasty butt.

Sounds like you are doing ALL that you possibly can. Wish I could be more help, but maybe you will get some more input if people see this.

Come on baby let's see some miraculous healing and recovery! :fl
Hi @AverageJoe404 :frow

Can you post some photos of your chick, her legs and wings?
Do you have any chick starter that you can offer your chick?
How old is she?

If both legs and a wing is broken, that would be very hard to repair. She is likely in a lot of pain. Sometimes with injuries that severe it is kinder to put them out of their misery.

You are doing what you can for her, keeping her hydrated. Sugar water is o.k. If you have poultry vitamins you can add those to the water. If you don't have chick feed, finely mash up hard boiled egg would be good.

Hopefully with photos we can give you better suggestions.
Hey, thanks for the welcome and the reply. :)
First of all, the chick is definitely in pain when moving, so ive tried not to disturb it at all, only moving it when it seems to have positioned itself uncomfortably or in a painful position etc, and i am definitely okay with paying for it to be euthanized if the vet thinks that is the most humane course of action, but i definitely do not have it in me to kill it in anyway myself.

Thanks for the recipe, ill try to make it with what i have at home but as i live in a small town in Australia nothing is open near me at 1:00am in the morning :(

I think the chick may be roughly 4 days old, as my dad has been in hospital for that long and wasn't aware the chicks had hatched.

Basically i have been holding the food/water in a teaspoon in front it's face and he/she has been pecking at it and feeding her self that way. I did try to sit an upturned jar lid in front of it so it could drink at its own pace, but she didn't seem to have the energy and kept falling asleep and i was worried she may drown :/

I dont have any of the poultry stuff as i dont own any animals at my place and took her home as soon as i found her like this. She was quite cold as it approaching dark when i found her could that have caused the past butt also?

It's hard to tell in her pictures but her left leg is completely floppy from top (the shank?? The part where it meets here body) and the right is floppy at what i guess you might call the "ankle"?. While her left wing seems to point toward her head rather than her tail.


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I forgot to mention that she is quite chirpy and definitely lets you know when she is in pain, she was pretty quiet when on her back while i took the pics, but will chirp loudly in what i can only assume is pain when her wing is touched or leg is placed at an odd angle.
You are not going to like what I am about to say.
the chick was born with splayed legs. it happens.
You are wasting your money taking it to a vet.

If you can take action within the first day or two after the chick hatched, you might correct the splayed legs.

take some tissue paper and make a tight roll of it about 3/8" diameter. and as long as the leg bone from the ankle to the first joint.
place that between the chick's legs and tape the legs to it.. leave it on for several days.
this will immobilize the chick, so you will have to tend to it's feeding and watering.
If you can, prop the chick upright between some padded blocks of wood or whatever you can devise to hold it upright.
don't go and get to feeling sorry for it.
it has to be done. if you free the legs too soon, then you might just as well kill the chick, because you cannot repeat the procedure.. and it will be splayed legged for the rest of it's life..
a splayed legged chicken will develop sores from dragging it's breast on the ground.
and they don't live very long , usually..

Thanks, i may try this but i don't think id feel comfortable or capable enough to do this well enough to ensure the proper healing of it's legs. Would a vet not be able to do this more expertly than myself?
I am in I.T, about as far from animal care as you could get :/
Edit: Also, there still seems to be a major issue with it's left wing as it is pointing the wrong way and seems to be causing tremendous pain to the chick when it lays on it or is touched. again, i would be more comfortable with someone with more experience than myself tending to the wing if need be.
You're doing pretty good, exceptional for not being a poultry keeper. I heard someone recommend getting some chick feed and I'd like to second that. It's formulated to provide proper nutrition and that'd really help her regardless. *And the feed can be left out for her, she'll know what to do ;)
Thanks @DaviJones I am worried as hell about this damn chick, i don't know why but when i found her i just felt an overwhelming need to do anything i could for her even if it meant keeping her warm and comfortable for her last few hours, If the vet thinks the best option is recovery and not euthanasia my next stop will definitely be the pet shop to get some chick feed :)
I know you are feeling sorry for this chick.
but , don't let emotions get in the way of logic.
to buy a healthy chick would cost about $3.oo.
to take this one to a vet is going to cost $50.oo
or more..
remember, it is just a chicken..
personally, I would put it down..
it's up to you. talk it over with someone close to you. spouse, sibling, parent ???

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