Hen conundrum..?

Jun 13, 2017
43
43
64
Minnesota
My family has a black hen (no idea what breed she is) that has her toes all messed up on one foot. They curl under her foot and are permanently stuck there. When she was a chick no one noticed anything but as she grew older her toes curled under on one foot. She is an adult now and quite a good egg layer, which is why she's not butchered. She hobbles very painstakingly and is very handicapped on how fast/where she can get to. If her toes are moved from under her foot it is very painful for her and their pretty much stuck in that position.She is separated from the rest of the flock because they beat up on her but she is very lonely and has to live with the free roaming barn cats which I think is very dangerous for her. I want to bring her to my coop and keep her with my bantam chicks, but she also is known to beat up on chicks. I just feel bad that she has to live in that state and want to help her as much as possible. I do know that it is too late to fix her toes, I just want to make her life a little easier for her in any way I can.
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Sep 29, 2014
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New Zealand
Some people make house pets of their disabled chickens. There's a whole thread about house chickens. Not sure if this is an option for you? Bantams are generally able to stand up for themselves if they are in the majority, so you may be able to integrate her with them.
 
Jun 13, 2017
43
43
64
Minnesota
Thanks. House chicken may not work the best because I have a large dog, but maybe I could put her with the chicks when their a bit bigger than little bitty size? As it is now she has no access to gravel, fresh greens or insects. She is scared of people but has been getting better. If I worked with her how friendly could I get her from where she is now? She will probably always be a bit timid but right now she can't even run away from something because she can't use one of her legs very well. It makes her very frightened quite easily because she knows that she can't get away.
 

WVduckchick

🐓🦆 For the Birds! 🦆🐓
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Feb 9, 2015
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West Virginia
My Coop
I have an OEGB hen with some missing toes. She roosts, scratches, and gets around great, and sticks up for herself and her babies. She's the best broody momma I have.

Personally, I think the younger the chicks are, the quicker they will know that she is boss, and they will blend better than waiting until they are older and might fight back with her, when they see she is "handicapped". Just watch them closely at first, and as long as she just gives them a few pecks on the head to put them in line, they should be fine. Also make sure the little ones have a safe spot to get away from her. Something they can go under where she can't fit, or an opening that she can't fit through. Eventually they should work it out.

I also wonder if toe amputation may be an option for you to look into. I've seen/heard of many chicks getting their toes accidentally amputated and do just fine. Not sure how one would go about it on purpose, but may be something for you to research, just to give her less pain.

My little Harriett, the day I brought her home, over a year ago, and the second pic is yesterday as her chicks are hatching.
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