meat bird leg rehab!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ceelo, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. nothing

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  2. cull

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  3. tie legs

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  4. separate

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  5. use lamp for heat

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  6. high protein diet

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  7. ACV water or probiotic

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  8. Ferment feed

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  9. other

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  10. limit feed

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  11. limit light

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Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. ceelo

    ceelo In the Brooder

    18
    2
    26
    Jul 11, 2012
    Nevada County
    Hey fabulous BYC Community!

    I wanted to share a successful meat bird leg rehabilitation story.

    I got a batch of meat birds who were all vigorous and healthy. Actually, these have been the healthiest birds I've ever raised for meat. About 3 weeks in, 1 of the hens didn't walk much. I figured it was the heat, since it had been in the 100's. The next day, she barely walked at all, and showed signs of spraddle. Obviously, this particular bird's bones and muscles were not able to keep up with the rapid weight gain of Cornish crosses.

    Checking through various sites, I found a thread here on fermenting feed, and adding ACV in the water to improve health, and eliminate odors. I've started all the flocks on ACV water and they all show improved health, with the bonus that the coop no longer stinks!

    I decided to separate her, put her on 12 hour feed, instead of free feed, and get her to rest by keeping it dark for at least 4-12 hours, so long as it stayed warm at night. I also started her on ACV water.

    I also contacted 3 or 4 local chicken farmers. All said she was doomed to struggle, using her wings for balance and walking, and she would be small but tasty when harvest time came.

    One suggest putting her back under a warm light for a few days, saying that occasionally had helped some of her birds with similar condition. She also suggested not tying the legs for spraddle, as it would impede the hen's ability to walk and practice using her legs normally.

    Another suggested getting her off grain and onto protein ( yogurt, cooked egg yolk) and fruit, just to support her muscles and slow weight gain.

    I did it all: less feed, higher protein content, warm light, dark times, separate quarters, ACV water.

    Within 1 day, she was keeping her legs under her. After 2 days, she was standing occasionally. By day 3, she's up and walking. I even reintegrated her into the flock in the field for a few hours. She happily ate greens, some of the feed, drank and no one picked on her.

    I think a few more days and nights of special care and she'll be ready to go back to the flock full time. She's a lot smaller than the other meat birds, probably close to 1/2# less at this point. But she is almost back to full health, and if we harvest her later, that's no big deal.

    I hope this helps someone else whose meat bird hits the skids!

    Have fun with your peeps!
     

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