Foot problems - bent toes?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by GoodEgg, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Well, I am back having to ask again.

    I have *two* black australorps with this problem. Not sure if they both had it before and I didn't realize it was two birds, or if only one before. Again, it doesn't seem to bother them. They do step funny sometimes, but I really think it's the long grass they don't like against their bodies, since all of my standard pullets will move that way sometimes. (They are all just over 3 months old.)

    Two of them have toes (the long toes at the front) that sometimes bend at odd angles. Sometimes they seem to have more than one bend in them, so that the toe almost curls a bit. Then with the next step, the foot appears normal. (Edited to add that more than one toe is involved on each bird, and sometimes different toes will bend/go straight.)

    I've never seen them act as if they have any problem from it, they don't seem to be in pain, and can't see anything wrong with the skin of the feet.

    I have other birds that are larger, but these are two of my bigger girls (the australorps, black sexlinks, and wyandottes are generally the biggest right now).

    I am wondering what might be going on, and especially if it is something genetic or management or nutrition-related. I have fed starter/grower as their main food, they've been allowed grass/bugs/weeds all day since about 3-4 weeks, and the "treats" I offer are at least intended to be nutritious ... we don't have many leftovers. I usually feed treats in the evening, so they've eaten other things all day, or else I feed only a small amount. Treats included oats, yogurt, spaghetti, fruit, veggies, egg yolk, cheese, and flax seed, for the most part. I still need to move the roosts down ... they are at about 30" and I need to borrow a drill again to move them. They do have a step to jump to to get up there, and down. Using pine shavings over wood floor, not too deep at the moment.

    I wish I could take a pic to show. If anyone has any ideas, I'd really love to hear it. I hope it doesn't progress to a point where I have to put them down. And if there is anything I should be doing differently, or it can affect the others as well, I really want to know. Also, if I need to not breed them (though not planning to at the moment) I need to consider that as well.

    Thanks if anyone has ANY idea,

    trish
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2007
  2. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2007
    Illinois
  3. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

  4. Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2007
    Naples, Florida
    Oh wow her poor feet. Was she born like that? I had one chick that hatched a while back from some eggs I bought of eggbid that the one front toe was bent. I just gave it and the single comb ameriaucana chick to a little girl. Her grandma said she was sad because her little chicken had died and was looking for a new one. So I know they went to a good home.
     
  5. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

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    May 17, 2007
    A lot of foot problems are the result of incorrect roosts. The chicken's foot is designed to grasp something round. Nature dictated that they should be roosting on limbs, not square cut lumber. I notice in pictures of peoples' coops that they tend to use one by twos or two by twos for roost. That will cause foot problems. Look for straight tree branches about two or two and half inches across. Round poles like those used in closets work fine.

    Rufus
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Rufus, I respectfully disagree about that point. Chickens do not grip that well with their rear toes like wild birds do. I would say a flatter, though slightly rounded on the edges, board works better, like those from very large pallets. Note, I said rounded edges. My birds had a hard time when I built the roost in my coop addition when they went from 2x4 type roosts to the very rounded pallet planks. They actually kept falling off! Still, I'd say round poles would be good only if they were over 2" in diameter.
    Too small a diameter would cause as more problems than a rounded edge 2x2 or 2x4. And on a completely round roost, the toes are exposed in the winter, making frostbite more likely to occur than if they can sit on their feet with their toes under the feathers. Here is my roost-the top four are from a heavy pallet and sanded and re-sanded:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Slifer's was a birth defect. She never roosted, she couldn't.
    She got around fine though.
    Beat the snot out of my Aunt's pocketbook one day...and spurred me once.
     
  8. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    My BAs' toes can look kind of like that. One step and everything is straight and normal. Another step and one or more toes will bend and curve, sometimes as badly as Slifer's. At least I think it would look about like that from underneath. The joints remind me of what a very arthritic person's hands might look like.

    I posted on a separate thread btw ... I have TWO black australorps with this. I have to watch carefully, because they can look normal for a dozen steps or more, then suddenly you see the bent toes. I don't think any others have this, and I think only 2 of my 4 BA's. Now I'm wondering if it's genetic, for that reason.

    I'm glad to hear Slifer did ok with it. That's all I want, is for them not to suffer, and go ahead and lay. They get around fine, and don't seem in any pain. I won't breed them in this case, if it is genetic, but I didn't have my heart set on it anyway. My roos are all banties, so if I want to let them brood I will probably have to buy eggs, since I don't want to "breed down."

    Thanks for sharing the photo, and thanks for all the info. I still don't know what the cause is, but I'm leaning more towards genetics. I hope so, so that it's nothing that will affect any others.

    Thanks,
    trish
     
  9. Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2007
    Naples, Florida
    I had the large closet rods in my coop to start with but the girls found it hard to stay on them. If one flew up the others would lose their balance and fall off. The bantams were ok with the smaller poles but my standards couldn't hang on enough to stay up. So I changed them all out to 2x4's. Everyone seems happy now. I couldn't imagine my roo trying to sit on a closet rod as big as he is.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2007
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I agree with Cynthia. Flat places to roost for chickens is ideal since they literally sit on their feet. My banties like to roost on the flat side of a 2x4 while my standards like to roost on the edge of a flat sheet of plywood where when they are sitting, you can't see any toes. Makes me think they like to have their feet flat.
     

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