Fixing Splayed Leg Please Advise


13 Years
Jul 12, 2008
Have you successfully treated a newly-hatched chick with splayed legs? Please give me your input on our treatment protocol. I've read everything on the internet and watched a million videos and have done my best, but would love input from someone with experience.

Australorp chick hatched 11 pm Saturday night from an especially small egg, normal hatch--unassisted. Noticed splayed legs Sunday night when I put her into the brooder. She could run, just had a very wide and unsteady stance and used fluttering wings to balance. She would not stand up, just flopped down as soon as she finished running 5-8 steps. She hatched and dried off in the incubator on shelf liner, so no slick surfaces. Took her out and made a sports-tape wrap with little rings of paper towel around each leg so it didn't stick to her legs.

She hated it. Wouldn't even try to walk for that first day. Mostly scooted, but only a few inches. She did get interested in food sprinkled around the brooder and ate fine but sat on her hocks or laid on her belly all day:

Took it off last night to check for improvement and she was elated. Started running all over the brooder, flapping and staggering. I could see no improvement in the splay.

I decided maybe it was too heavy/bulky, so I replaced it last night with the hair elastic/straw style:


I know she looks weird here, but don't worry, she was just super calm and happy in my warm hand and was very dozy. You can see the hobbles here.
100% improvement in her outlook--she was standing, trying to walk a bit, and working on balance. So I really like this style. My question is--how wide should they be? This one seemed a little narrow, so I lengthened it a bit (took one knot out of the hair ties in the center of the straw).

She spent yesterday in an isolation brooder and is now eating, drinking, pooping normally, and walking and standing really well.


20200526_172924 (1).jpg


So, she's had this hobble on for about 36 hours (since Monday night). I took it off to check progress and was a little disappointed that without the hobble she still steps pretty wide. She's definitely improved when she's standing (she wouldn't even stand before) but walking she still throws her feet out without the hobble and is really unsteady.

Should progress be more rapid or is it normal to assume it will take longer? Should I change anything? I have vet wrap and tape, and could try other styles of hobbles if recommended.


  • 20200526_143459.jpg
    256.2 KB · Views: 4


Apr 18, 2019
I was looking for advice for the same thing! I was given a 5 day old chick with a apraddle leg and this looks great! Im going to try this with my Xena. I hope you get some wisdom!


  • 20200527_171928.jpg
    517.8 KB · Views: 3


13 Years
Jul 12, 2008
Good luck, Shaelynn! It really has made a huge difference for Star. I hope it works just as well for Xena!

A couple great resources in case you're still looking for any:

I'm sure you've seen the poultry podiatry site. It is wonderful and super helpful:

And here is a tutorial about this particular hair band style which helped me see how it's done:

And a link with good pictures of this style, using a slightly different kind of band:

Good vibes coming your way! :fl


14 Years
May 25, 2008
@coloradowildflower - Very sorry I didn't see your message earlier!
People have had different experiences with different hobbles. Here are my opinions:
I lean toward sports tape hobbles taped directly on to legs. This allows you to make the tape a tiny bit shorter across the front so it slightly rotates legs forward at the same time as pulling them closer together. This can help change the chick's stance so the hocks don't turn inward as much.
I feel nervous about rubber bands if they are very stretchy at all. It looks like yours are the less-stretchy kind, which is better.
I favor stability in hobbles, having a consistent maximum width (& also possibly adding some stiffness in the middle portion if the chick is much too cow-hocked) & reliable support. However, my logic on that might actually not be optimal--dunno?
The methods in the Physical Therapy section on my Poultry Podiatry page may also be very helpful in these types of cases. Helping the chick practice walking can make a significant difference.
Please let us know how your little chick is doing!


13 Years
Jul 12, 2008
PoultryPedia, your podiatry page was such a wonderful resource! Thank you for the time you've taken to provide such detailed information. It educated me so much. I can see why the sports tape would work best--holding the legs in a firmer position.

A little update on our Star:

The hobbles worked great to help Star walk, but upon taking them off, her feet still turned out and she really struggled to walk. It was as if we'd never put them on. She could walk WHEN they were on, but as soon as they were off, she had a hard time.

20200525_212639 (1).jpg

I noticed that the legs didn't turn out from the hip, rather, she seemed knock-kneed, like they were turning in, and forcing her feet out.

After reading on BYC and the internet, I determined that it was not splayed leg, but twisted tibia, as described in this article: Twisted Tibia in Young Poultry and we began taping her legs for 8 hours at a time.

We used vet wrap and a chick chair and it was like magic!



20200529_163110 (1).jpg

The next day, when we removed the tape and let her out of the chick chair, she could walk! Her feet were still turned out, but her legs were noticeably straighter.


They continued to get straighter after each taping session:


After 4 days, I couldn't tell there was any problem! She is doing great--one week after stopping taping.


She's back in the brooder with the rest of the hatch. I think she will have a normal life, without evidence of her early challenges! Thank you all for your input and your help. I am so glad to be part of such a wonderful, supportive community. Please feel free to message me if you think your chick has a similar problem and I'm happy give more info on the treatment that worked for Star!

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom