Chick with compound fracture of the femur or tibia

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sonoran Silkies, May 30, 2010.

  1. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Came back from dinner to find that a hen had badly pecked a newborn chick--its femur or tibia--I really can't tell which--is broken; the end of the bone was sticking out. I gently pulled the leg straight and tried to put it back in place as best as I could; my son taped it against a thick wooden skewer (cut short).

    It's after 11 on a holiday weekend. Help, please.
  2. ultasol

    ultasol Songster

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    I would watch and wait overnight. Obviously, as I am certain you are already doing, brood artificially. Frankly, though, at that age if it isn't doing well in a few days, or takes a turn for the worse, I would cull it. From what I understand, breaks in bird bones don't heal the best, although if one would heal, you would think it would be a chick (baby). The recuperative powers of the young.

    I had to cull a chick a few days ago. It wouldn't have had a good quality of life longterm. If you have to cull, do not feel bad. In the meantime, keep it comfortable and safe, it sounds like you are doing the right things by stabilizing the fracture. I have a litter of ferals caged right now in my shop. We trapped feral mother, and she gave birth before the spay/neuter clinic she was scheduled for. One somehow broke it's femur at about two weeks of age. In older cats, the vet said the position of the break would have required extensive orthopedic surgery (with screws) or euthanization, but this little fellow's bone started knitting within a week. He is now a month and walking fine.

    Watch and wait. What worries me is the fact that the break was bad enough to break skin, and we all know a chicken coop isn't the cleanest place. If infection appears, I would try pen-g or baytril.
  3. kelar

    kelar Songster

    May 22, 2010
    I think the fracture would heal, but the exposure of the bone is an invitation for infection. I had a chick years ago with a broken leg & splinted it with a paper clip and some tape. It healed just fine, but it was a closed fracture. I know from years as a vet tech & working with my own animals through bone injuries, that infection is the biggest danger with an exposed bone. I'd try flushing it with Betadine & wrapping to prevent anything from getting into it. I just don't know if that is possible with a chick - the difficulties of wrapping alone are going to present a big challenge. When my horse had surgery on his foot a few years ago, the bone was exposed - the vet had to inject antibiotics directly into the bone to prevent infection. Once we got him home, he had to be kept in an ultra-clean environment with the foot completely wrapped and booted, with flushing and re-bandaging being done every single day. Is it possible to flush the wound and then pull skin over it to close it? I'm not too optimistic, but it may heal if you can keep it aligned and prevent it from getting infected. Good luck with the baby. Karen

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