Curing balled feet and curled toes on DOC's

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BobDBirdDog, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. BobDBirdDog

    BobDBirdDog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2014
    I have seen many post as on how to cure curled toes (balled feet) and there are many good suggestions such as using pipe cleaners and tape and many others.

    The problem is, most chicks are delicate and hardly ever still, thus they test your patience as you try to apply any technique.

    So here is my thoughts and cure which I believe is quicker and less intensive.~

    In my experience's, I think aside from some bad genetics, not turning the eggs 3 or more times daily has something to do with curled toes and/or balled feet. I came to this conclusion after I was sick for a few days and failed to turn a setting of eggs a during the sick days , thus I ended up with quite a few balled feet.

    Since a chick is only a day or so old, its bones and ligaments are still growing and somewhat pliable as they are starting to shape and harden after hatching. The below can be done on chicks up to 1 week old as I have not seen any that would survive past that age with the balled foot.

    My solution is Aluminum metal duct-tape (wally world) NOT the Cheap Grey Duc-Tape it will not work well.

    This duct tape is metallic aluminum and mirror shiny and is light when cut and trimmed, its is also just the right stiffness for the job. So there is no fumbling around with pipe cleaners and tape as to make a splint or cast.

    To start and make the cast more uniform and perfect, (fig 1) cut a rectangle the width of the foot and then fold it in half (before removing and exposing the sticky (figs 1 and 2 in the image). Then (in fig 2) cut the red line to trim away the blue. When you unfold you will have the diamond as shown in fig 1 as well as a natural fold.

    Peel the tape half way to expose half of the sticky and straighten the feet/toes. Place the foot so that the toes point facing the widest part of the Half Diamond and spread the toes out in normal position and stick them down. If the toes are clean and dry, they should stick rather easily. I use a wooden tooth pick to move the toes around and spread them apart. A slight pressure on the top of the toe will cause it to stick better to the sticky.

    Then finish peeling the tape and expose the rest of the sticky and fold over the other half of the tape to make the top of the """"SHOE/cast". Being careful when folding as not to break any toes as you fold. Once folded over the toes, press down between the toes as to stick the tape between the toes, and form a cast so the toes do not move if they happen to loosen from the tape.
    (Note: On the top side of the fold, it may be necessary to trim away a little more near the leg so the aluminum tape does not rub or cut into the leg/ankle as the chick learns to walk.)

    Lastly, after the foot is taped in place CAREFULLY trim away the (Blue) corners of the triangle as to help the chick while walking else it will be tripping on the corners as it learns to walk.


    It is essential to leave about 1/8 inch overhang on the outer edges of the tape as to stick the tape together. You want tape sticking to tape, not tape sticking to the toes.

    After the tape is folded, you can crease the top side of the tape around the toes and it will help more to hold the tape/toes in place and keep the tape sticking together.

    As the chick starts moving around more, the tapes sticky will usually get dirty and wet, but holds well and is perfect for this job. When the time comes to remove it (about a week later), the tape will peal off rather easily with a pair of tweezers. The tooth pick can be used to wedge and pry the tape apart as well.
    By this time the toes, joints and ligaments should have harden and the chick should no longer have balled feet. If so, repeat the above as the chick has probably out grown the first cast.

    The tape is a little more expensive (about $8.00) but 50 yards will make more than enough cast for a life time...should you need that many! If that is the case,you should take a look at your incubation process or look into getting new birds with better genetics.
    1 person likes this.
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2017

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