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Hatched a 3 LEGGED CHICKEN. It is now struggling to survive. Advice?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jennerzz, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. jennerzz

    jennerzz In the Brooder

    Nov 1, 2011
    I know I am only new to the forum, (I posted up a greetings in the 'New Member Introductions' thread) although this situation is really an emergency... I am really very worried about this chicken.. [​IMG]

    My parents bought a group of silkie chickens, (We have had different types of chickens throughout the many years, but this time we went for something a little different and got silkies) so one hen was laying and finally over time, out hatched 13 cute little chickens... however, number 13 had hatched with 3 legs. One leg is situated on the back area of the chicken (all curled up and useless), the other 2 legs are in the right place although it's right leg is all shriveled up. So only 1 leg of the three legs are working proporly... the chicken can't walk.

    The mother hen didn't like the chicken and treated it like an out-cast and wouldn't accept it remotely near her. The other chickens would peck at it. So we got it and kept it in a box of blankets with the warmth from a light bulb. Every day I try to feed it just itty bitty bits... and it would struggle to even swallow the food proporly.. (my dad said to feed it mushy porridge and fluids). As a few more days past, it would eat a little more, so I thought the chicken was okay. It also poops, with no blood or anything, which was a good sign.

    But today, the chicken seems so... weak. ... and it breaks my heart. I know a lot of people wouldn't care for it or just "put it down", even a guy friend of mine said, "sorry, but I think I would of broke it's neck and burried it by now"... I said "you're crazy".

    I'm willing to give the little guy a chance of life. I've seen chickens and ducks on youtube survive with 3 or 4 legs.. But this one is so increadibly weak today and only moves it's head, but it chirps a lot. He is also making an odd noise... and tilts his head up a lot looking like it's swallowing something when there's nothing in it's mouth... a cold maybe? He also keeps it's beak open a lot... I'm worried the chicken can't breathe proporly!... I really don't know...

    Please help!! I really hope somebody can help me help the chicken.. :'( It's so innocent and beautiful.. I would love and appreciate any help that is given.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011

  2. Momma on a Mission

    Momma on a Mission In the Brooder

    Sep 15, 2011
    Seymour, IN
    I truly understand that you want to give this beauty a chance at life. But going by the info you gave it sounds as if the birth defect could also be inside the chick. It's lungs may not have formed properly along with the leg. Keeping a beak open to breath constantly isnt a good sign. I'm so sorry. [​IMG] I'll pray that I'm wrong.
  3. Quote:I agree. It sounds like the poor guy is suffering and struggling. I would put it out of it's misery. If it can't walk, it will never live a normal life. Also praying that I'm wrong [​IMG]
  4. GAchick

    GAchick Songster

    Apr 29, 2009
    Pembroke GA
    I wouldn't neccesarily kill it because of not walking properly. I have an EE that apparently either had a leg defect, or it got broken at some time and healed improperly. The chicken cannot put any weight on the bad leg, but can hop around on 1 leg pretty good. (And you should SEE how fast it hops when the treats come out). But, the breathing thing is a whole nother story.... I hope the sweetie gets stronger, and lives for you, but, please start distancing yourself so it doesn't tear you up if he/she doesn't make it...
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    We all have different goals. I would not personally struggle to keep it alive, but that is your decision and your business.

    I suggest making very sure it is getting food and water. They eat and drink a lot. They are in real danger of dehydration and need food for energy. As a quick boost, I suggest getting a medicine dropper and putting drops of sugar water or something like that just inside the tip of its beak. I used that hummingbird liquid for an injured hen. It is slow and painstaking, but only put a little inside the tip of its beak so it can work to swallow it. Don't force a lot or you might get liquid into its lungs. You can do the same thing for pure water.

    If it is able to eat solids, you can try putting small bits of chick starter on the inside tip of its beak. Again, don't cram it down its throat, just give it a chance to eat it. You can't do this on your own. The chick has to cooperate. I'd use chick starter for this, not something else.

    One big problem you have is that it may not be able to move to get food and water, so you need to have those within easy reach. Just because it can't walk does not mean it can't get around, but you'll have to figure this out. You can try different things here for it to eat, like boiled egg yolk, as well as the chick starter. It doesn't matter too much what you get inside it as long as it gets something to build up its strength and energy.

    Also, keep it warm. Chilling would be a real danger. And give it something soft to snuggle with. Plush toys or something like that are nice, but right now I'd just use a small towel.

    Many of these are not meant to make it, but occasionally, some do. I really wish you luck!!!
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  6. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    This is one of the truly hard things a chicken owner goes through......But it would be a kindness to put the little crippled thing under. The open mouth breathing suggests it may be suffering from some internal problem......

    It's best to put it down. What I do, is I give them a cuddle, and tell them how sorry I am, and I gently place them into a paper lunch sack, then I sit it in the freezer. They will go to sleep. I dispose of it later, and I don't look at it.....I just can't seem to break the neck.....

    Alot of people will just cut the head off with very sharp scissors........

    Grusome, I know.....So sorry you're going through this,

  7. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    judging by your post and what you've said, the little chick has more going on than just a 'three legged' defect..it possibly has internal issues.
    it is not getting any better and is more than likely suffering. if you are having to feed it (as in..it can feed itself)and it cant get around by itself (so you should be moving it around and doing physio on its legs to keep blood flow going) then thats possibly something your gonna have to do for it for the rest of its life.....are you willing to care for a disabled chicken (if it survives) for the next 5 to 10 years?

    may i ask why your are 'keeping it going'? for yourself? or for the chick?

    if its more a case of you not being able to actually do the deed of ending its suffering...im sure someone else could do it for you.

    sadly this is one of those not so great sides of chicken keeping..sometimes you have to make a desicion based on whats best for the chicken...not for your conscience.

    all the best
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011

  8. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Songster

    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    i don't know if it is the same with poultry, but in human babies, skeletal defects go hand and hand (no pun intended) with kidney defects. You often see them together.
    I am sorry this is so hard for you. I am a weenie about stuff like this, but that is why my son, eternally grateful for me giving birth to him, will come over and do deeds like this for me.
  9. Davian

    Davian Chirping

    Sep 8, 2010
    Vermont, USA
    You should cull it as its probably suffering.
  10. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Songster

    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    Sometimes we love something so much, the best thing to do may also be the hardest thing to do.[​IMG]

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