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Day Old Chick with Broken Leg

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jstephens, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. jstephens

    jstephens New Egg

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    I received some chicks in the mail today and one of them wouldn't stand up. She appears to have a broken leg and I have splinted it and separated her from the other chicks. She won't bear any weight on the leg and just drags it around. I don't think my splint is too long…but maybe? Is this ok or is there something else I need to do in order for her leg to heal properly?

    Any help or pictures would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC. There are some leg problems with new chicks such as splay leg/spraddle leg and slipped tendon. I just wanted to point that out in case the leg is not broken. Is there any redness or swelling in the leg? Here are good links for leg problems to read which contains instructions of splinting, taping toes, and chick chairs:
    https://sites.google.com/a/poultrypedia.com/poultrypedia/poultry-podiatry
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/02/spraddle-leg-in-baby-chicks-what-is-it.html
    http://www.lbah.com/word/fractured-bird-leg/
     
  3. jstephens

    jstephens New Egg

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    It definitely isn't splay leg.
    It looks pretty much exactly like this pic I found online
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Google slipped achilles tendon and look for pictures. I'm not an expert on it, but it looks little more like that to me. Read the section in Poultry Pedia about how to fix a slipped achilles tendon. It has to bedone in the first day or two to work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  5. jstephens

    jstephens New Egg

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    Will she be able to move the leg in and out if it's a slipped tendon? She can move it just cannot put any weight on it and drags it behind her.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I wish I knew more about chick leg problems to help you. If the chick is dragging the leg, it sounds more like it is broken, but I've never seen slipped tendon.
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    This is an excerpt from Poultry Pedia Podiatry which I linked in post #2:

    Fix Slipped Achilles Tendon in Hock Joint

    Click here to read one little chick's success story of recovery from a Slipped Tendon & Perosis.
    Click here to see a video of movement patterns of one chick with Perosis. Editor's note: The video says Perosis can't be treated after 24 hours, but I have not seen any other source say this, so I don't know that is true.
    Note from Editor: I have had no personal experience with a Slipped Achilles Tendon being treated successfully, though a number of people have. Information below is from what I have read & tried to analyze myself, but may not be sufficiently informed. Please do additional research to ensure best treatments. [If you have a success story, photos, or treatment tips, it would be very helpful if you would Contact PoultryPedia so they can be shared to help others!]
    • Slipped Achilles Tendon is a condition that results when tendon that runs down through the groove on the back of a bird's hock has slipped out of place off to the side.
    • This problem causes a serious form of Splayed Leg that cannot be corrected until the Achilles Tendon is put back in place. It may also lead to Twisted Leg and other problems if not treated soon enough.
    • This problem frequently occurs in conjunction with Chondrodystrophy / Achondroplasia & Perosis, conditions in which nutritional deficiencies in parent bird's diet keep chick's bones from developing properly to hold tendon.
      • See "Ensure adequate nutrition to prevent Perosis" section to be sure that your chick feed has appropriate amounts of essential nutrients, and try supplementing in extra if your chick is showing a problem.

    • Symptoms:
      • The back of the hock will look flat (Compare to other legs to double-check).
      • The bird won't be able to fully straighten its leg by itself.
      • The bird will likely exhibit pain at least the first few days after injury. Birds may peep or cry repeatedly.
      • The joint will become swollen after a while.
      • Hold the joint between your thumb & finger and roll it back and forth. If the tendon has slipped, you will feel it snap back into place (and back out again, if the bone is not sufficiently developed). If you don't feel the tendon pop in, your bird may instead have a rotated femur, which requires surgery.
      • One leg may rotate out to the side or twist underneath the bird (showing Splayed Leg), depending on whether the tendon has slipped to the outside or inside of the leg.
      • If the tendons are slipped in both legs, the bird will stand & walk hunched down / squatting on its hocks ("elbows"), and may use its wings for balance.
    • Treat this problem as soon as possible, so the joint doesn't swell as much (making healing more difficult) and the tendon does not end up shortened or deformed.
      • If the tendon has been out of place more than a few days, it may be unbearably painful to the bird to try to fix it or may cause damage. You could try gradually stretching the leg the leg a number of times a few days to lengthen the tendon, & then try correcting the placement.
        • This is especially true of young chicks because their legs are growing so quickly. Various bones, tendons & muscles will have done a lot of growing in just a couple of days and may have become too short, long or twisted so they can't allow the Achilles tendon to be back in the correct location.
    • To reposition the tendon into the correct place: Gently pull the upper part of bird's leg a bit behind normal position and then carefully straighten the leg as though bird were stretching its leg back in a pretty normal stretching motion. Press gently against the side of the tendon if needed, and it should pop back into place pretty easily and cause little if any pain. Gently release the leg and it should return to a normal bent position.
      • Some sources recommend pushing the tendon back in place just by pressing with your finger. However, stretching the leg back is a much less painful method.
    • Sometimes a tendon has a hard time staying in place. It may have been out of place for too long or a chick's hock groove may not yet have developed enough to hold the tendon well (Be sure to provide very good nutrition to support optimal bone growth at this time. Do NOT give Calcium or other nutrients in excessive amounts, however--that could cause other problems.).
      • You can repeat the repositioning of the tendon additional times. This may help the tendon gradually lengthen & shape correctly, while the bone is also growing enough to hold the tendon better.
      • You can put the tendon in place & then ***wrap the joint area with sports tape*** or other tape to help hold it there. Use a thin strip of tape wrapped several times around the joint. Change the tape after a few days to ensure it doesn't restrict circulation too much.
      • It will also help if you put the bird in a Chick / Chicken Sling or Chair and/or put its leg in a cast (such as one made from a bendable drinking straw) for a few days (~5) while re-alignment stabilizes.
        • (Note: There is some debate on whether it is better for feet to not touch the ground--as recommended below-- or to touch the ground a little. Please research further when making the choice.)
        • It is important for the legs not be able to reach the ground. The bird needs to be suspended with its legs just hanging freely or in not-too-tight casts shaped in normal bent angle. In this position, the chick won't try to use its legs as much. Its legs need relaxed rest in their normal position until the tendon(s) have stretched and adjusted back to the right place and shape.
    • Even after the tendon is back in place, the bird may continue to have some problems walking for a few days. If so, use a Hock Cushion(s) to protect its hock(s) from chafing & bruising during recovery. Limber the leg by gently stretching the leg several times a day, as you did when repositioning the tendon (Check to make sure the tendon stays in place.). If the chick struggles to figure out correct movements, Physical Therapy or short sessions in a Chick Cup (More info to be added.) may help.

    • You can try Surgery for a tendon that won't go into place or won't stay in place, along with other treatments. Click here to read one little chick's success story.
     
  8. jstephens

    jstephens New Egg

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    Ok. here are pics of what we have. I am at a loss.[​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Is the break in the skin from chafing? Or from a bone sticking out? I did see a similar thread with that same thing. The third picture resembles ones I have seen of slipped tendon. There seems to not be a lot of success treating it, but I would probably try to do what the article suggests to fix it. I wish they had chick orthopedic doctors, but unfortunately many chicks with leg problems end up being culled. Here are a couple of threads that can be searched here on BYC:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/756556/slipped-tendon-splayed-leg-confused
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/483203/chick-with-slipped-tendon-swollen-hock-with-sore-update
     
  10. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The first thing i would do is treat that wound,clean it really well and apply an antibiotic ointment(nothing ending in "caine/cane" toxic to birds. The reason i suggest treating this first is you do not want this wound covered by any wrap while treating for fracture/slipped tendon. Looks almost like skin has been torn.

    To check for a slipped tendon,run your thumbs down back of leg from hock(leg joins body)to shank(scales start)if tendon has slipped you will feel it,it will feel loose/springy if you press down you can feel it snap back into place,compare to other leg so you know how it should feel. Press back into place,you may have to do this several times,you can wrap leg at tendon to keep it in place. You can also try stretching exercises,gently pull leg back,like chick would while normally stretching,this stretches tendon. If chick displays pain with stretching,then stop or perhaps you may have been stretching to hard. Slipped tendon can be very painful. I have successfully treated this in a adult rooster,it did take approx 2-3 weeks before my boy was walking normal
     

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