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Hock Joint Problem - Chicked culled but thought I would share.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Winsor Woods, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Songster

    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    I had a broody hen hatch out 10 chicks two weeks ago. I noticed that one chick was not able to stand and was only able to move by scooting/controlled falling. I separated him and put him in the brooder and kept an eye on him. Within 3 days he was walking normally and acting like a chick so I put him back with mamma and his siblings. Today, about a week after he is back with his family, I noticed him walking very funny. It appears as though his left hock joint was bending both ways (front and back) as well as a little bit to the outside. I put a hobble on him hoping this would help but it didn't. I initially thought it was splay but I think it was a slipped tendon. I tried to straighten the leg and get the tendon to slip back into the groove but I couldn't tell if it was back in or not. His joint was very swollen and it was hard to see/feel anything. There was quite a bit of fluid around the joint too and I could see little bulges pulsing and subsiding as I carefully manipulated the joint. He was in pain and peeped a lot. I felt really bad for the little guy. My wife used to work at a wildlife rehab facility for 5 years and I asked her to look at the chick. She agreed with my assessment that it was probably best to cull him. After a moment of silence, I agreed. He won't go to waste. We're falconers and we'll use him to nourish our kestrels. Regardless, I'm quite surprised at the sense of loss I feel. He was part of the the very first batch of eggs that I ever hatched. (ok the broody hen hatched them but you know what I mean.) I gave him a kiss on his head and let my wife take him off somewhere to do the deed.

    I raise meat birds and have no problem processing them. I even spend a considerable amount of time watching my meaties and talking to them, but I guess it's just different. I feel like I lost a little friend. I sure hope there wasn't something I overlooked that would have helped him out. At any rate, he would have been part of my laying flock (I call him a he but I don't know the sex.) If he was a roo, then he'd be processed for meat and if he were a hen, then there's a chance that my next batch of eggs to hatch would have some genetic tendencies towards this condition and I really don't want to deal with this again. So for all those reasons I think I made the right choice but it was still a hard one to make.

  2. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    It is hard to cull when a little one isn't right. But I believe you did the right thing. You are right that if a hen, this problem could have increased in your flock and weakened your flock vitality. But it is not an easy thing to cull for the good not only of the little one but of the flock also.

    I would watch the others closely for any problems. If this repeats you may decide to cull that Broody hen or your Roo. I have had to cull a Roo because of continued hatch problems. After that the problems disapeared in the following hatches. I knew it was the Roo because I had previous hatches from all of the hens with other Roos before, so my decision was easy to make. Sometimes, its just not a good match match even if all look healthy.

    I am sorry for your lost little one but glad you nipped a potential big problem before it grew. Good luck with your flock management.

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