Chick's Foot Turns BLACK & Falls Off!!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dsquawker, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. dsquawker

    dsquawker Chirping

    Oct 1, 2011
    Bluegrass State
    Hi. Has anyone else had a chicken who's foot turned black as a chick and fell off? I have a RIR and she's aptly named Stubby. She's about six months now. Hasn't started laying yet, don't know if she ever will. She has one foot now because when she was a chick her right foot turned black and fell off. She hops around perfectly content and unbelievably is top hen in the pecking order. She pecks at our Shepherds if they get too close and she holds her own. I was wondering if there are chicken prosthesis out there? Seriously. I was trying to think how I could make a fake foot for her so she could balance better and relearn to walk with two legs. I don't know if her condition will affect her egg-laying, which hasn't started yet. Any advice, ideas, or concerns will be greatly appreciated. Have you or do you know anyone who has had a chicken with this condition? If so, does it have a name? Treatment? Cure? Is it genetic?

    Angela (dsquawker)

  2. Tanichca

    Tanichca Sparkle Magnet

    May 6, 2009
    Vail, Arizona
    I know there are a lot of birds who, for whatever reason, lost a foot and now have healthy, happy lives with just a stub. Not sure about the egg-laying thing, though.
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I doubt the foot falling off is a condition, as such. She likely had an injury that damaged the foot beyond repair. Chickens, being the incredibly resilient creatures they are, lose limbs fairly easily if they get damaged too badly. Fortunately, this happens without the added drama of getting massive infections and huge amounts of suffering on the chicken's part. I may sound like I am downplaying the whole thing, but I am not. I am truly impressed by the ability of birds to withstand some pretty devastating injuries with hardly a peep out of them.

    I would scrap the idea of a prosthesis. A prosthetic limb is never convenient or comfortable, and is often more of a nuisance than it is worth. If the bird is thriving without it, then don't try to fix what is not broken. She will not be able to roost for obvious reasons, but I see no reason why she shouldn't be able to lay and/or hatch (if she's so inclined) eggs.

    I have a bird that has never roosted. The group she was raised with never learned to roost, and any given night all of them could be found piled into a corner of the coop. The group is gone, but she remains, and I have set her up a small bed in an old feed bowl that I used to use for my pigs. Despite the fact she isn't jostling for position on the roost, she continues to be the dominant bird of the flock.

    I also have first hand knowledge of a bird that survived a radical case of frostbite that cost him both feet one winter. That bird survived well beyond losing the feet, and used to just stalk around on two stumps. No intervention was ever attempted on his behalf (mostly because no one dared to get near the miserable bird), and he did fine. Never an infection, no limping, and he was still an unholy terror that nobody dared bother... even footless.

    My advice is to leave her be, but watch for signs of infection down the line. If she should suddenly end up lame, then I would intervene, but not before that.

    Good luck.
  4. Quote:100% AGREEMENT!!

    My grandma had a hen that lost all its toes one bad Pocono winter. Stumpy didn't seem to notice at all, still pawed at the ground with her foot pads, and could run as fast as the rest of 'em. She died a natural death at the ripe old age of 13.
  5. dsquawker

    dsquawker Chirping

    Oct 1, 2011
    Bluegrass State
    Thank you. That makes me feel better about her situation. She likes to bathe in the dirt and sun bathe regularly. She's healthy and strong and yes sometimes I see her scratching with her stub. All seems normal. Did your one legged/footed/missing toed chickens still lay eggs? Did it take longer than most, than normal? Steve, sounds like your Stumpy did live a ripe ol' age - 13 years!? Wow. I've seen an eight year old hen and thought that was old. But your Stumpy has her beat. Thanks again. Angela (dsquawker)
  6. Stumpy was already a few years old & laying when this happened. She continued to lay, but I am not sure if there was a delay in her getting back to normal laying. If a hen suffers a shock, it can disrupt her ovulation a little, but in most cases, I think it starts back up again relatively soon, as long as she's full-grown, not in molt, and not broody. Your girl's only 6 months, and some just get a slow start. Give her an extra few weeks. She may even start with a few soft shelled eggs, then stop for a week or so, and then get right into a normal pattern of normal egg laying. Sometimes, some girls just have a bit of a rough start. Healthy, strong, acting normal - it sounds like she is doing great but just needs a little more time.

    And there are chickens out here way older than Stumpy. I think I read someone on the board had a 17-year old bantam hen. These are the rare exceptions I think. My oldest chicken is only 7, but she acts like she is 3 or 4. She still lays an occasional egg, maybe one per week. She has never, ever gone broody her entire life (and I know b/c I hatched her & she has only ever lived w/ me), and I think she's at the top of the pecking order. When I had GreedyGuts at the vet a few months ago (her first trip) the vet said she was in "remarkable health" for 7. She was our first Chicken Ambassador (she's the one I take to educational and poultry outreach events). I hope she outlives Stumpy!!
  7. jfaith51

    jfaith51 Songster

    I have a Marans hen that injured her foot/leg somehow and is unable to use her foot at all. She hadn't started laying when this injury happened. Now she hops around on the other foot and does very well. Skippy is the head hen of her little group. No one messes with her, not even the Silkie rooster! She does lay eggs. Her injury never affected her egg laying.

  8. CinnamonQueen12

    CinnamonQueen12 Chirping

    Jul 20, 2011
    I have a chicken who has a deformed foot. She hatched with it. The vet said that it was mostly likely a vitamin deficiency when she was in the egg. About your chicken, it is possible that in the egg, there was a minor interior deformity in the leg, and this deformity compressed a major blood vessel, and eventually, without any blood going to the foot, the foot just died and fell off. I don't think it would be genetic, though.
  9. dsquawker

    dsquawker Chirping

    Oct 1, 2011
    Bluegrass State
    Vitamin deficiency would make a lot of sense. Also an interior deformity is a great possibility too. I don't think it would be genetic either, just a fluke thing. Thanks for your post. Angela (dsquawker)


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