Legs on Newly hatched chick

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Black Feather, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. Black Feather

    Black Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2007
    I see this every once in a while, but have never found out what it is or what causes it, of anything.

    Every once in a while I get a newly hatched chick whose legs seem to extend out in front of it and it can't seem to pull them back into proper position. It's almost like straddle leg, just straight out in front instead of off to the side.

    Any thoughts on what causes this? The little ones have sawdust for bedding, so it's not too slippery.

  2. SunAngel

    SunAngel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    Hopefully its just spraddle leg. I am not sure what causes it, but I have had a couple chicks hatch like that too. I just followed everyones advice here and used the bandaid method. Heres the link I found....


    Two of mine from this hatch want to tuck their outside toes under their feet and walk on the sides of their feet, so I have them in little bandaid boots for a few days.
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I had one of my leghorns have this problem 2 days ago.

    One of my sons named him Bow-legged Billy. Here he is with his new orthotic device.


    He continues to try and pic it off. Once I can see he's got his proper legs back, we'll remove it.
  4. JanieMarie

    JanieMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2008
    Georgetown, Minnesota
    Maybe a slipped tendon? I had one like this. Here's an excerpt that explains it:

    This is most likely a displaced Achilles tendon. This can
    happen as the chick pushes off the eggshell or from being
    stepped on. When treated as soon as it happens it is simple
    to repair but after the chick has dragged the joint on the
    floor there will be swelling and abrasion making it very
    difficult to treat. The Achilles tendon connects the
    muscles in the tibia (drumstick) to the tarsal bone.
    This tendon normally slides in a groove accross the back of
    the hock joint (at line between the feathered part of leg
    and where the scale covered part begins)
    If there is no swelling you can push this tendon back to
    the center of the joint and suddenly the chick can stand on
    the leg.
    But if there is swelling in joint and damaged skin the
    chick must be put in a "chick chair" or body sling to rest
    the leg so that it can heal. There is a picture of a
    "chick chair" at:

    And heres a link to the thread with pics of the one I had. Pics on page 3:
  5. CK Chickadilly

    CK Chickadilly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2008
    West Michigan
    I have a new one that hatched yesterday....she seems to have a bit of a bent leg at the joint throwing her leg inward, & the toes are kind of curled so I have her bandaid in between the legs, a bandaid on the foot & I taped her to the bottom of a box & put papertowel around her so she is propped up & has to stand.

    She wants to keep flopping to the side & won't stand properly. So I am hoping that by having her stand upright or propped, & a bit of struggling, she will build up the little leg muscle so she can stand on her own.

    I really don't know what else to do for her, she seems normal in every other way. ??????
  6. Black Feather

    Black Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2007
    This little guy came round with a little stretching and is standing and getting around on his own now.

    It's not straddle leg so you can't tape the legs together. What's happening is the legs are extending out in front of the chick, like the chick is still cramped in the egg with it's legs extended up near the head. I seem to get a few of these each year where they can't pull their legs back into proper sitting position. Sometimes a little stretching of the legs completely behind the chick will loosen the muscles enough that they can pull their own legs back.

  7. Farm Frenzy

    Farm Frenzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Oak Hill, Florida
    I just yesterday had to cull a chick that was like that. He was born like a week ago, but seemed to be in so much pain, I couldn't stand it anymore. He leg came out in front of him, and a little to the side. It almost seemed like the ball joint at the knee wasn't in place. It had been that way since the little guy hatched, but kept getting worse. I hated it, but I'd rather him gone than suffering.[​IMG]
  8. Black Feather

    Black Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2007
    The one thing about this 'condition' is you have to be on it right away, otherwise the muscles strengthen in the wrong position. I've also had chicks die because of this.

    What I did with my little chick was I picked it up and held it in my hand for about ten minutes with it's legs held straight out in behind. It doesn't take much effort when they are under 24 hours, but gets much harder after wards. I've had success taping the legs right up under the chick in a 'sitting' position for a few hours then letting them go. It's like the muscles are 'cramped' and just need a little stretching to bring them into the correct alignment. I call it chick physio [​IMG]

    I'd like to know what causes this though. I'm wondering if the hatching tray is a bit too slipery.

  9. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    I was searchign for causes of spraddleleg and found this thread - I had one hatch this morning like this - he couldn't stand, kept laying on his back, and one leg kept stretching out totally.

    I probably used the wrong thing [​IMG] but I put a twist tie on his legs for about three hours, and he is up and bopping around fine, now.

    He couldn't even keep himself upright before, I guess the muscle just needed to be trained to go the right way?

    it worked, anyway, and he's happy and healthy now.

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