Crooked Toes? Bedding? Loose Droppings? Scratch?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Simple Chick, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. Simple Chick

    Simple Chick In the Brooder

    Mar 24, 2007
    Oh my, so many questions!

    My little chicks are looking pretty good, but I do have a few questions:

    - I have them on paper towels and change them a few times a day. 23 little chicks make a pretty serious mess! I noticed that there feet are getting a little crusty. I bought some pine shavings and am wondering when it is OK to switch? They are probably 5 or 6 days old now. A few may be a couple days older.

    - I also noticed that a few of them have crooked toes? Is this because they don't have the proper bedding? A vitamin deficiency? How do I handle this?

    - One or a couple of them have loose droppings. (I'm not totally sure which ones yet.) How do I address this? What causes it?

    - When can I put a paper plate or something in with scratch? Can I just use regular sand?

    As an additional note - I used the recommendation to treat them with a little boiled egg. The first couple days they were so nervous when I opened the top of the brooder so I finally offered them a little treat from my hand. Now any time I put my hand in there they all come running to me! Yeah! Thanks for the great tip! [​IMG]

    Simple Chick
  2. shandea

    shandea In the Brooder

    Mar 17, 2007
    This is very interesting for me as well. I have my own first chickens and have some of the same questions.

    I was using pine shavings, but that was really difficult to keep cleaned out and the shavings were constantly in their water, which also menat their excrement was also in the water and I had to clean it out constantly. Several people said they use have always been successful with newspaper.

    So I've been using that for the last day, cleaning it out about 3 times a day. Hopefully this will not cause any problems?

    I'm kind of bothered by the crap on their little toes as well, so I'm looking forward to advice about that.

    I will try giving mine some hard-boiled egg this evening. How much is too much though? I have 4 2.5 week old chicks, so maybe one egg between the 4 of them?

    My neice also gave them some earthworms. They went CRAZY with them and started doing a little spinning dance and chirping like mad. They slung them around the place and then ate them. Whenever I go to them now, they start flogging my hand looking for the worms!

    Good luck to you, Simple chick!
  3. Simple Chick

    Simple Chick In the Brooder

    Mar 24, 2007
    Among my 23 chicks, it took a few days to get through one egg. They will eat as much as you offer, but I didn't want to over do it! I just offer them a little treat once a day. I make them take it from my hand so they get used to me. Maybe I need to try some meal worms or something! Yesterday a fly ended up in the brooder and they went crazy chasing it around! So very funny!

    Good luck to you too! You sound much more reasonable then me - starting with just a few birds instead of a couple dozen!
  4. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    Congratulations on your new chicks !

    People use different things for bedding and most work well with some tweaking. Most use pine shavings and start out with paper towels over the shavings until the chicks get used to what and where the food is. To help keep shavings out of the water, raise the waterer so it is about even with their back or a little higher. I usually have to change the shavings once a week.

    Newspaper is not recommended because it is too slick and can cause a condition called spradle leg. Cedar shavings give off a fume that is not good for the respiratory system.

    Crooked toes are usually a genetic problem. I am not familiar with what to do to correct them, or if they can be corrected. Hopefully someone will chime in and answer your question.

    Chicks will have loose droppings two to three times a day, just like the adults. They are usually quite smelly. Watch out for blood in the stools or really waterery stools, as it could be a sign of coccidiosis, which needs to be treated immediately.

    Chicks don't need scratch. If you mean grit, it is included in their chick feed. If you feed them other treats, they need additional grit. Washed play sand in a wide shallow dish is fine. It will also be a nice place for them to take dust baths in.

    If the stuff on their toes is poop, gently pick or wash it off if it bothers you or the chick. There is no way to prevent them from stepping in more though.

    Hope this helps...
  5. soonerdog

    soonerdog Songster

    Simple Chick, the bedding has nothing what so ever to do with the twisted toes on your chicks. I have read a lot about this and from what I gather some people think it is a deformity caused from improper hatching techniques. Still others say, it is a direct indication of too much inbreeding, as well as a host of other ideas. I personally have seen this in a line of birchen ameraucana that I have and I know for a fact that they are inbred. They probably were before I ever got the stock. On a personal note, I've introduced new breeding birds to bring in a new bloodline to these birds, and since I've done so, I have not seen any more chicks with the twisted toes for the past three seasons of hatching. So, I feel that inbreeding definately has a lot to do with chicks hatching with deformities. My chicks were hatching with twisted toes and twisted beaks. This was not something very nice to have to deal with and was very difficult to change through breeding. Good luck with your biddies! Johnny
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2007

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