Crooked toes in chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mkathleen, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. mkathleen

    mkathleen Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 6, 2015
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    I have some new HRIR chicks hatched within the last 24-48 hours and I'm having some crooked toe issues. Of the 9, two have one foot that looks kind of 'windswept' if you know what I mean, and another has both feet windswept/crooked. It's not a massive deformity, I'm not concerned for their health at all, but I am wondering the cause. Some say genetic, some say incubator, some say parent stock...
    My incubator is one of those set-it-and-leave-it fully automated types, I have never known it to spike in temp/humidity in the years we've had it and I have had no power outages. I did however leave the egg tray in there for lock down which in hind sight I should have removed that has egg-shaped holes held approx 2-3mm off the bottom. Little toes can trip on these. The incubator was not opened until they had all hatched.
    Some of the chicks also took quite a while between cracking the egg and actually getting out, not sure if this is a possible cause? Come to think of it, I think there were three like that...?
    These eggs are shipped eggs from someone I have never bought from before, so genetic factors/any deficiencies in the parents I'm not aware of.
    At the end of the day, I'm wondering the likelihood of genetic causes and whether or not I should cull from the breeding pen.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    And that's one of the many ways banding birds aids you. You can make a boot with cut out thin cardboard and tape to keep the toes in good position. If done soon enough most toes correct in half a day.

    Crooked toes can be genetic and can just be minor twisting from hatching or incubator. Correct it the best you can and band the birds so you know which did have toe issues at hatch. There are many issues to look for when finally selecting a breeder. Hocked legs (definite genetic) would be culled long before minor toe curl (if it fixed easily and unknown if genetic cause) in my opinion. With banding you may find you have much more solid type birds to breed without using one of the curled toe birds. If one of them is your stellar bird then I'd not give it a second thought to use it to breed.
     
  3. mkathleen

    mkathleen Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the reply!
    I didn't mention all the twisted feet are all booted up and artificially straight, I expect it'll correct quickly given it wasn't hindering them and I'd almost consider it cosmetic. They will definitely be marked and kept track of throughout their growth and if there are better birds they can just be egg layers, just hoping not to completely rule them out just yet, so thank you very much.
    Off topic, but could you tell me what a hocked leg is? I'm unfamiliar with the term.
     
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I misspoke (possible day off and few socials)- Knocked kneed is what I meant.

    Other major defects as they grow that are definite genetic are roach back, wry tail and....oh, I had a few but forget...many more. After you cull for those KNOWN genetic faults the last birds become clearer. The entire body type your looking for in breed is evaluated...if any of the hatched twisted toes are still on the list I'd pick another equal contender at this point to breed but still use the crooked toe as second. Or if crooked toe passed everything but that intitial crook then I'd say it was definitely not genetic!
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Bone and skeletal malformation defects would concrete your notations in banding records of those crooked toes. Any bird that passes all true hands on evaluation of skeletal body and happened to have a crook in toe at hatch in incubator with turner still in.... forget about it!


    May have been unclear...few cordials...don't even think that it's genetic. If all other bone/leg/back issues that can arise don't- then those toes are 99% not genetic.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
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  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I want to be clear in that I know your starting with few birds. I myself hatched some shipped eggs this spring. I aided the latest to hatch as it was glued in...too many kids and what not. Still my runt of litter and not working well with rest of hatch mates in 23 weeks. If I was alone on a normal non Easter Hatch I'd not have "saved" this stuck late hatching bird.

    Once you get to picking breeders this first year and really putting out some chicks....I'd sell off any curl toed....get rid of as many possible rejects at hatch and just hatch more...making your actual grow out of X amount being the best of 10x's that amount.

    Get to know your breed and cull right at hatch. Sell many at 2 bucks a chick or less just to get rid of them. Make some head size decisions (fat heads keep-look from above=fattest heads rule) and other measure at hatch decisions you'll free your brooder/grow out pen and everything of burden of numbers.

    My motto is sell a spade as a spade. Sell cheap as striaght run layers. You only sell breeding stock or show quality potential accordingly. It takes a lot of culls to get there even in a well kept line.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
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  7. mkathleen

    mkathleen Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much for all that info, I'll definitely take it all on board.

    I've grown up with chickens and am starting to learn to develop my eye but these chicks are the first that are my own, so I'm trying really hard to avoid those rose tinted spectacles we all get sometimes. So far I'm happy with them, very strong types despite the toes on a couple. But yes, if I only get one or two good ones from this I'll be happy as Larry. I have a stunning rooster who has shown successfully to put over them, hopefully I'll get a good line going from him. Fingers crossed!

    Thanks again.
     
  8. Goronson Chicks

    Goronson Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Should I Breed a rooster with crooked toes? My one and only 5 month old [​IMG]



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    Cuckoo Bluebar rooster has crooked toes. His 5 girls do not. Should I breed or not? He eats and gets @ just fine. A bit of a nasty temperament but I've carried him under my arm a few times to show him to the others - rooster shaming I think. He's a little better, but still quite rough.
     
  9. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    That is entirely up to you. His crooked toes could be from a hard incubator hatch or an injury, in that case, they'd be fine. If its a genetic issue, you may end up with chicks popping out with crooked toes as well. Personally, I wouldn't breed him, crooked toes and a nasty temperament does not a breeder make. But, you could always do a small test hatch to see what happens.
     
  10. Goronson Chicks

    Goronson Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hatched 6 eggs on my counter and all 6 hatched. 1 roo and 5 hens. All the others are fine and healthy. I should have noticed the crooked toes earlier. Then, there might have been a chance to fix them. He's the only roo I have of this particular breed. So, maybe I will try a test hatch, as you recommended. Thank you
     

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