Day-old Chick With Broken Leg

chickensuit

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jun 15, 2014
17
0
29
BC, Canada
For those in a rush, the short question is how to go about splinting an injured leg of a day-old chick where you can't identify which bone(s) are injured. Should I do my best to try to splint the femur, tibia, and metatarsus? I don't think I will be able to separate the chick from the mother and other chicks, is that okay or is it absolutely necessary to separate? It is dark out now and I don't want take the chick from the warmth of it's mother. Tomorrow I will take a closer inspection and try to post pictures and maybe a video. The chicken seems to have almost no use of the leg. I really don't want to cull this chick because it has been through a lot and seems otherwise healthy and happy.

The long story of how it happened is I had two hens go broody at the same time. I let each hen have 4 eggs. I think sometimes the columbian rock got pushed out of her nest by other hens but would find her way back onto her eggs pretty quickly. Once in a while I would find that she had settled in another nesting box so I would pick her up and put her back on her eggs. The eggs were pipping last night so I have been spending a lot of time with the chickens today and I was getting ready to put her in a brooder box so she would be separate from the flock. I went into the coop and she was in the wrong nest box and one of the chicks was just starting to split its egg open. I gently put the columbian rock back on the eggs and a few minutes later when the chick started to wriggle a bit she attacked it! She had it in her beak and started to thrash it a bit. I grabbed her by the neck and she dropped the chick and i put her out side. I thought the chick was done for sure, but when I picked it up it seemed mostly okay so I carefully cleaned it off a bit and put it under the the Buff Brahma in the small coop (her first egg hatched the night before). I also gave her the rest of the columbian rocks eggs. Shortly after the other eggs started to hatch and she now has 5 chicks and another one starting to break through it's shell.

So basically this little chick has been through a lot but other than it's lame leg, it seems very happy and healthy. I haven't had to splint chicken legs before but I think my best bet is to splint and put the chick back with mom and the siblings. I have some vet wrap which seems like the way to go for splinting. The chick seems to be able to poke it's head out, and get back under mom, but with how limited it's mobility seems, I'm afraid it won't make it in a separate box with a heat lamp. I don't think it would be able to move very will to the sweet spot as the ambient temperate changes. I also don't know what to do about splinting. And whether I should splint the toes or not. Like make a full boot for it essentially. Like I said I will try to take pictures tomorrow so I don't disturb her and take her into the cold night air.

Thanks for any guidance.

Edit: I should point out I can't guarantee its not a displaced joint, broken pelvis or broken back. The left leg appears fine so I would tend to rule out broken back. There appeared to be contusions on the both the femur and tibia if I recall correctly.
 
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Sylver Queen

Songster
6 Years
Jul 21, 2014
103
101
176
California
Yikes. Tough little guy. : ) I've never had to splint a bird's leg either, much less a brand new chick's, but I've read that pipe cleaners work well for gentle splinting. Maybe that with a little vetwrap to keep it on would be helpful without being too cumbersome? Sorry to not know much, but hopefully someone with more experience will be able to help.

Glad you've got another mommy hen to look out for him. : )

Oh, and is the leg crooked, or just not useable? I've never read about how to provide support for a broken pelvis, but maybe a forum search would have how-tos.
 
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chickensuit

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jun 15, 2014
17
0
29
BC, Canada
my internet is having serious problems. the leg is definitely lame. there is bruising by the foot. I don't see any obvious breaks. the leg seems straight. i have the chick in a box with a heat lamp, food, water, and one other chick for company. i think i am going to remove the splint (which was really hard to make). it seems to be harder for her to move and she drags it behind her so she will never have the leg in its correct position. From all the reading i have done, it seems i should leave her in here with a friend and hopefully she pulls through. i hope the mother will take her back in a few weeks if she makes it through. i hope i'm not removing the other chick from the mother and other chicks for no reason and have to cull the injured bird eventually. this is not fun at all.
 

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