crooked toe confusion, incubation issue or genetic? please help

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by WDFlock2015, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. WDFlock2015

    WDFlock2015 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 26, 2014
    I just noticed my 3 week old chicks have crooked toes, well about 30% anyway. I'm sure this must have developed in the last few days. What's interesting is that only my BRs seem to have this problem (about 75%), not my BOs. This was my very first hatch and I may have done something wrong. Storey's guide says low temp can cause, but my incubator was pretty steady between 100-101 degrees. I'm starting to collect eggs today for a new hatch & want to know if this is genetic. I have 2 BR roosters and would need to determine which of them is carrying the trait. Any suggestions?
     
  2. LittleGecko

    LittleGecko Out Of The Brooder

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    It is difficult to know the cause, my first hatch was a disaster, only one egg hatched and the chick died, but the second went really well and I ended up with that rare event an all female group of chicks who are now all full grown!
    It is always a good idea to monitor the hens really closely as a deficiency, either genetic or nutritional may be coming from one of them (a weaker hen may need a conditioning feed prior to breeding to produce a good chick).
    If you can partition the run with netting and place half of the hens with one cockerel and half with the other, you should discover if the cockerels carry any genetic issues by marking the eggs to identify the father.
     
  3. WDFlock2015

    WDFlock2015 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 26, 2014
    Yeah, that's what I was thinking I'd probably have to do. I have a small coop (used to be rabbit hutch, but my husband constructed it to easily convert) that I can put 1 roo and a few hens in. I'm on my way outside to do that now. Thanks.
     
  4. WDFlock2015

    WDFlock2015 Out Of The Brooder

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    It must be genetic. I'm thinking Plymouth Rocks might be predisposed to this defect since I've seen at least two other threads mentioning crooked toes in this breed. It's definitely not inbreeding because my roos came from a different breeder than my hens.
     
  5. WDFlock2015

    WDFlock2015 Out Of The Brooder

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    Does anyone know what the time-frame would be for the fertilization issue? If I separate them today could tomorrow's eggs still be populated from the other rooster?
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It could be either incubation or genetic, but that certainly sounds genetic. Did your chicks hatch about on time or were they late by a day or two? Have you checked your thermometer to make sure it is reading correctly?

    It takes about 25 hours for an egg to go through the hen’s internal egg-making factory. It can only be fertilized during the first few minutes of that journey. That means if a mating takes place on Friday, Friday’s egg is not fertile. Saturday’s might or might not be, depending on when the mating takes place and when he egg started its journey. I would not count on it. Sunday’s egg will be fertile.

    That’s the easy part. The problem comes in that a hen will usually store sperm in a special container near where the egg starts its journey for two weeks, sometimes even more than three weeks. To be absolutely sure you’d have to wait three weeks for the hen to clean out her system.

    It gets even more complicated. A professor at the University of Arkansas Poultry Science department says that the container operates on a last in-first out basis. That means the last rooster to mate will be the father of the chicks. He is convinced of that but not all of his colleagues agree.

    You are not just testing the roosters, you are also testing the hens. If it is genetic, it could just as easily be coming from them. I don't know if it is a dominant or recessive gene.
     
  7. WDFlock2015

    WDFlock2015 Out Of The Brooder

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    That's great information to have, thank you.
     
  8. WDFlock2015

    WDFlock2015 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 26, 2014
    I forgot to answer your questions...all hatched on day 21except 1 on day 22 (counting the day I set as day 1). My temps were consistent at 100-101.
     
  9. WDFlock2015

    WDFlock2015 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 26, 2014
    Ridgerunner, I need a little help sorting through the information you gave me. I know it's been a few days, but I'm hoping you see this msg.

    I'm going to give you a little background, and I'm hoping maybe you could help me think this through. Before I noticed the bad feet, I had 2 roosters and 7 hens together. I hatched 20 eggs from this group (6 pullets and 14 cockerels), of these 5 have severe deformities of the feet/toes, and 3 or 4 more are mildly affected, meaning 50% are exhibiting deformity. I'm thinking it has to be a rooster, not a hen or it wouldn't be so widespread? The problem didn't show immediately after the hatch; it was somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd week (I noticed right at the 3 wk mark). So, I'm operating on the assumption that it definitely was not an incubation issue, also considering my temps had steady readingings on a brand new thermometer.

    Now, I'm going to mention something else that may help iron out the issue of the sperm reserve. 2 days prior to collecting eggs for that hatch I had separated my breeds (BO, BR and GLW). My GLWs and some of my BO hens were not yet laying at the time. During those first two days, we discovered our dividers in the coop were inefficient as 1 BR hen had escaped to the BO side each of the 2 days. 2 of the hatched chicks are obviously cross-breeds (and oddly enough do not have the deformity, though this is unimportant, I think).

    Currently...early yesterday I separated 1 rooster and two hens from the BR group (we'll call group A), leaving the remaining rooster and 5 hens in the other group (we'll call group B). The group A hens had already laid their eggs for the day. So, the could have mated with the rooster from group B prior to the eggs I'll see today, right? But, if we do not factor in the sperm reserve, tomorrow's eggs from group A would be fertilized from rooster A, correct?

    In attempts to try to determine which rooster my be carrying the defect, I'm thinking to operate on those assumptions and start collecting the eggs and marking them appropriately. If the sperm reserve comes into play, I guess I'll have to start from over after this hatch which I'm planning to set on Feb 9th, by which time any reserve would be spent, right?

    I really do appreciate any advice, suggestions or information you can offer.

    Thanks, again Ridgerunner.
     

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