Help! 1st Time Raising Chicks. Chick with curled toes..What to do?


7 Years
Oct 29, 2012

I'm new to BYC so please forgive me if this has been answered elsewhere. I searched the forums and could not find what I was looking for.

I had chicks born over the last two days. One of the chicks had difficulty breaking out of the shell. The membrane had become dry so I moistened it with a warm paper towel and gently helped the chick free itself. There was no blood whatsoever.

I moved the chick under the mother hen and went to bed not sure if it would live or not.

This morning, I went to check on my little chick and noticed that its feet/toes (one is worse than the other) are curled. I saw a thread that stated to used cardboard and bandaids to make chick shoes so I did that. The chick is getting around a little bit better, however, whenever I tried to put it back in with the mother hen she started pecking at the chick shoes(bandaids).

I'm not sure what to do I isolate the chick from the mother and other chicks. If so, isolate it completely or with another chick? Or will it be okay back in the cage with the mother hen?

I just don't want the mother hen to kill the chick. I'm hoping the chick shoes will correct the problem and I can take them off in a few days.

Thanks for any help!
Unless you are planning to show the chick later on, I would probably forgo the shoes & leave baby with mama hen. It might be more difficult to reintegrate the chick into the flock as it gets older. And, its always easier to let mama do the work for you!
(Also, you probably already know this, but.... if you put the chick back under mama after dark she will be much more likely to accept it back.)

If you end up using the shoes & isolating the chick, it will be MUCH happier & more likely to thrive if it has at least 1 friend. So, you might consider choosing one or two others to join it.

I have a 7 month old cockerel who had a similar problem as a chick. I decided to leave his feet alone so he could stay with his brothers, sisters & mama. While his feet aren't exactly beautiful, he gets around/ roosts just fine.

Welcome to BYC & best of luck to you with your new babies!!
I disagree, curled toes can cause problems getting around and will shorten the life. I would separate it out with another chick for company and brood with a lamp. After the toes are fixed you can try to reintegrate it back with the mother. It may not work. But I am sure there are posts with help in doing it.
Why don't you split the difference and separate the chick and one other chick from the momma, but leave them where the mother can see and hear them? With a heat lamp, of course, since they won't be able to get under mom for warmth. Then when the toes are fixed momma might take them both right back. It might only take a few days to get the toes to straighten back out, anyhow.

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