Chicks legs not working... HELP! :(

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by horsekrazy74, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. horsekrazy74

    horsekrazy74 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2010
    I had to assist in hatching a baby chick last night because he was stuck to the inside of the shell. Well, his legs arent working as of today. We have been feeding him sav-a-chick and food and water all day. Hes such a fighter and is in the brooder with the 5 other babies, but hes in a little cup and he talks to them! He tries to use his wings to kind of move himself.

    Im still a senior in high school so im gone for about 8 hours of the day. My mom worked at home today and kept him fed and watered. But she has to leave on a business trip tomorrow.

    What is the best thing to do in this situation?

  2. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    If he is having trouble getting his feet underneath him, you can make him sort of a leg brace by using a bandaid to hold them together, like a set of hobbles on a horse. Then you can work with him on helping him to stand up and learn to work his legs. (I do this by several times a day gently holding the chick up on its feet so that it can work its legs and build strength and learn how to stand correctly.) If the problem is that the toes are curled up, you can make some little therapeutic shoes out of thin cardboard and tape or bandaids to spread the toes flat.

    You'll have to continue helping the baby eat and drink probably until it is able to move around on its own. I have found that holding them a lot and talking to them/petting them seems to give them a stronger will to get better than just leaving them alone in an incubator or brooder. I had a turkey baby that couldn't walk for a few days because of curled toes, I made him some little shoes and carried him with me everywhere in a pocket, I named him Boots. He was super sweet from all the attention!
  3. Ukiah

    Ukiah Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2011
    It'll be hard to care for this chick being gone 8 hours everyday. Is he eating on his own? What about drinking?

    When hatching, the last step, after zipping, is when the chick literally climbs out of the shell. This is important
    because of the way the chick develops. When it is ready to hatch, its legs are not in their sockets at the hips.
    The process of pushing and climbing out of the shell puts the legs in their proper place in the skeletal structure.
    When they are assisted with hatching out, this step is usually skipped, and you have to do other things to get
    the legs in the right place. This is why when I have to assist shrink wrapped chicks now-a-days (which isn't often)
    I zip the shell for them and let them push out.

    splayed legs, or 'spraddle leg'.

    splayed legs

    If you click the link I provided above, it will take you to a very helpful page on fixing splayed legs. Usually
    Splayed legs can easily be fixed, as long as you treat it in time. I've had a couple chicks with this problem,

    and the method in the link I gave you worked great for me. [​IMG] Remember, once chick has the splint on his
    legs it's going to be a big scary change and he'll probably roll around and flip over on his back a few times.
    Because of this, the danger of him falling into his water dish or rolling over onto his back and 'giving up' is
    high. So once you put the splint on, spend atleast 40 minutes - 1 hour with the chick being sure he has
    gotten used to the splint, and helping him up when he falls.

    I have high doubts that it is the toes, if he can't stand period. Curled toes often occurs in chicks. Sometimes
    curled toes is a genetic thing, but often it's a result of some problem in incubation/hatching. Curled toes basically
    look like the chick's toes are curled into a fist. Heres a link on fixing curled toes. You can decide whether you think
    this is the problem or not.

    Fixing Curled Toes

    In the link I gave above has lots of info not only on curled toes, but other leg problems in chickens aswell.
    Be sure he always has food and water. Boil some eggs and mash up the yolk mixed with some water really fine,
    and offer this to your chick. They tend to prefer this over started (My chicks do, anyways) and it'll give him some

    One thing I WOULD defiantly recommend you do is take the chick away from the others if hes having troubles
    standing. You don't want them trampling him. Put him in a 'hospital brooder' 'next-door' to the others if

    I would also put in a super shallow water dish, you don't want him falling in and drowing.

    I've had my fair share of chicks with leg problems. It's not fun to see them struggle. Early this year around march
    I had to assist a shrink wrapped chick in hatching. The mom abandoned him around the 24th day of incubation,
    and he had survived two cold nights. Anyways, after 24 hours of trying to hatch with no luck, I helped him out, I
    didn't let him push out because he was so weak, so he had leg issues aswell. He couldn't stand what so ever. I
    made a sturdy little cup out of paper towels and taped it to the bottom of the incubator so that it wouldn't tip over,
    and I sat my chick inside of it. This helped him stay upright and not tip over onto his back.

    The cup:

    Once he was dry I put a band-aid splint onto his legs, which helped alot.

    For the first few days, I put him inside that little cup in the brooder aswell. I put a beach towel as bedding
    inside his brooder, because it had alot better 'grip' than paper towels do, and it was alot comfier as well.
    Every hour I offered him mashed up boiled egg and sugar water. He was inside of a brooder nextdoor to
    my healthy batch so that he could talk to them -

    After a couple of tiring weeks of hand feeding and watering this chick every hour, he finally got better. He
    was standing, and eating and drinking on his own. He was named 'Trooper' and I cannot even tell you how
    attached I was to him, because of all the time I spent caring for him. But he got through it, and I hope your
    chick will to. As long as they are not in pain, as long as they're eating & drinking, and seem happy I don't cull.

    Good luck [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I wonder if this has something to do with the fact that it is a "helped" chick. I wonder if they need to have that time of pushing with their legs in order to have strength & coordination to walk on their own.

    I once had a chick that was in a crisis situation -- fire ants were going into the pipped hole, biting the chick and making it yell!-- and I had to quickly remove all the shell & membrane in order to blow all the ants away. It never had a chance to even begin trying to push itself out, it was all curled up like a bedspread folded into its package. It took several days for the chick to slowly dry off, uncurl, and then finally learn how to use its legs. I really didn't do much to intervene, figuring if this chick had enough of the Right Stuff to get along then it would have to do it on its own.

    But it did fine, eventually able to do everything a normal chick could do.

    And then, at about 4 weeks of got killed by a snake! [​IMG]
  5. horsekrazy74

    horsekrazy74 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2010
    He cant eat or drink any on his own. His legs just dangle there and have no movement in them when you pick him up as well as him having some foot deformities. He's just never going to be able to live on his own, much less the time when Im away at school with no food or water.

    We are thinking we may just have to put him down, and to keep him from suffering [​IMG]

    Im going to cry like a baby if thats what has to be done, but it may be the most humane.

    Does anyone else agree?
  6. Chris Herzog

    Chris Herzog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2011
    I had the same thing happen to me just over a week ago. The chick could not use either leg. I ended up putting him down for all the same reasons. I’m sorry you have to go through this as well, it's a tough thing to decide but it's probably for the better. Chris
  7. kenny7673

    kenny7673 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 13, 2011
    could anyone on here answer a couple questions for me
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Kenny, this forum is all about answering questions for each other, fire away!

    Horsekrazy, I'm sorry you have to deal with this issue, but it does happen when keeping chickens. Everyone has their limit when it comes to giving additional care to an injured or ailing chick or chicken, you are at liberty to decide just how far you will go to intervene with this chick. You could try some of the methods discussed here, or leave it to tough it out on its own, or help it Cross The Road more quickly. Perhaps it wasn't meant to live long anyway, since it wouldn't have even come out of its shell without help. It was worth a try anyway, and you're giving it the best care while it's here.
  9. RareBreedFancier

    RareBreedFancier Surrounded by Broodies

    Nov 5, 2010
    Australia :)
    horsekrazy74, I'm so sorry. [​IMG]

    Unfortunately I have to agree with you, if the chick can't eat and drink on it's own and has to be left alone for 8 hours the kindest thing is to end it's suffering. [​IMG]

    I've had to do that with several chicks with leg problems that weren't improving with lots of care. I'm home full time and sometimes it doesn't mater what you do they just don't get better and it's never an easy choice but sometimes we have to do what is in their best interest. [​IMG]
  10. bek007

    bek007 Just Hatched

    Aug 3, 2016
    I've got the same problem.
    My 3 week araucana chick has her right leg abit bent. Just realised it now.
    She has a bit of difficulty walking.
    I also don't no what to do with her.[​IMG][/IMG]

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