Chick with crossed leg

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In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 12, 2011
I've been reading this forum for a long time and I've learned a ton. I've never owned chickens before......until about 3 months ago... now we have 47 head
About 3 weeks ago we got finished hatching some shipped eggs for the very first time. At lock down we had 28 and 22 of them hatched
We used the dry incubation method and cut down egg cartons during hatching. The incubator was a Hovabator 1588 with the automatic egg turner. During the last day or two of hatching three of the chicks were stuck inside the shells. They had all zipped but they couldn't push themselves out. We waited 24 hours before we helped them. At this point we were pretty sure the other 6 eggs wasn't going to make it. I slowly pulled the shells off the chicks and they were really stuck to the shells. 19 of the other chicks came out perfect... and fluffed up within an hour or two. I kept the 3 chicks in the incubator for another 24 hours with some food and water.... but they were really weak. After a couple days 2 of the chicks didn't make it. The 3rd chick seemed pretty healthy with one exception... his left leg looked odd. When he said down, instead of his left foot being under him it stuck out in front of him....almost like he was setting on his whole leg. He also limped really bad when he walked. I've been keeping an eye on him and he seems to be healthy with the exception of his bad leg. Last night we were watching them and I noticed his leg wasn't sticking out in front of him anymore... I was hoping it had corrected itself. When I picked him up I noticed his left leg was now crossed over his right leg. And now his right foot was curled up. It almost look like he had been setting in a bad position for a long time. I tried to make a little boot for his right foot to straighten it out, but it came off this during the night. I was wondering if he was hungry or thirsty so I held him in front of the food and water and he seemed very thirsty and hungry. He seems to be able to move around but he has to flap his wings and hop around and it isn't in a very controlled manner. I feel really bad for him and I'm wondering if there is anything I can do or should I just put an end to his misery?
I'll try to shoot a video and some pics and show you guys tonight.

I read in several places that you shouldn't help the chicks out of the shell and just let mother nature run it's course, but I felt so bad for them and I didn't want them to just die in the shell when I could easily remove the shell for them. I guess we live and learn

BTW, 18 of the 19 chicks came from one farm and the chicks that had problems came from another farm. So I'm sure the quality of the birds had something to do with it.

It is not unusual to have a chick hatch with a leg deformity of some kind - I believe this is something that happens during incubation for unknown reasons. I'd keep a chick shoe on the toes to keep them from curling and put a chick hobble on the little one to try and get the legs straightened out. It is important to do this during the first few days of life to give it a chance since the bones have not yet hardened completely. If the leg is too badly deformed, it won't help, but you can at least try. Sometimes the bones are twisted from the hip or from the knee and there is not much you can do, but other times, you can get it straightened out. You could also put the chick in a small box surrounded with towels and a donut support made from a wash cloth or towel to keep its legs under it. If you do that, you will have to hand feed and water for a few days.

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