chicken hatchling leg shakes


May 25, 2021
Tennessee, United States
Background: We had a broody hen and gave her some fertilized eggs to lay on. We are first timers so made the mistake of leaving her and her eggs in the coop with the other hens. 3 got knocked out and stepped on at different stages by the other chicks and after 1 hatched she gave up on the other 2 (put them in incubator).

Anyway, we are a bit concerned about the one that hatched. She has been doing good, eating what momma hen gives her, color and energy look good. Yesterday (2 days old) momma was showing her how to dust bath. It was adorable but we noticed when baby would lay on her left side her right leg would stretch out and shake. At first we figured she was just stretching but she only did this with her right leg and it would keep shaking until she would roll back over.

Flash forward to today and the hens planned and executed an attack on baby (seriously scary how it seemed so planned. One attacked the momma hen, my dad grabbed the attacker and the next one attacked momma again while the 3rd went straight for baby and ran off with it). We got the baby back and although momma and baby seem OK (no blood, eating and drinking) the baby's leg is more noticeably shaking. She puts her weight on the left leg mostly and after a few seconds of it shaking will sit down on them. But not long after standing up it will do it again. She seems to walk OK and yesterday was able to jump up and follow momma no problem. Should we be concerned? Is this normal or is it like early sign of splayed leg?

We never expected so much drama with all this honestly. We just figured she would lay on them for a while and if they hatched they hatched if not then OK she got it out of her system. LOL Boy were we wrong!

FYI we have separated momma and baby in a dog pen inside until we can make a quick 2nd coop for her and baby to be safe in for a few months until baby can defend itself. The other 2 eggs we tried to candle but they are Rhode Island Reds so the egg color is dark and hard to tell so I have them in an makeshift incubator and going to give a couple more days. Bonus question: I read that chicks do much better in groups. If the other 2 eggs don't end up having chicks (or hatching anyway) do we need to get another chick so she isn't alone?


Spring Has Arrived
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jul 16, 2015
How's your chick doing? Sounds like a sprain perhaps which should improve. A single chick will be fine with a mother hen.

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