One-Legged Chick

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Rachel96, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Rachel96

    Rachel96 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure where to put this thread, but here goes:

    Well, as you may surmise, I hatch chicks. A lot. Over the past two months I have hatched about 100 chicks.

    Today, I got a bit of a surprise. Well, apart from waking up this morning to find ten little chicks wandering around the incubator. One was stuck in the egg (I hatch in cartons, so this isn't uncommon, they've hatched but they just sit there rather than getting out and wandering about). With a little encouragement, the chick tipped itself out.

    It was the least fluffy, so this particular chick stayed in the 'fluffer-bator' for today - a very small, non-turning incubator which serves as something of a temporary brooder for the youngest chicks of a hatch, while they're still working out how to stand up, so they don't get picked on by big, fluffy chicks who are a day older.

    After a while, I noticed that the chick wasn't moving around as it should be and hadn't yet worked out how to stand up, and was unable to manoeuvre itself to the water. I picked it up, wondering what the problem was, and found it had only one leg.

    The chick seems otherwise perfectly healthy but I'm not sure it will stay that way as it can't stand and thus isn't able to eat or drink.

    The right leg is missing; from what I can tell, the hip and part of the femur is there. I don't think the chick realises it's missing a leg - you can see/feel the stump working when it tries to stand.

    I have another chick, six weeks old now, who also had a deformed right leg (I think the problem's in the hip - the hip sticks out at an odd angle and the knee won't bend, amongst other things). I didn't think that chick would last either, but it seems to be managing to get around the 'intensive care unit' and is certainly growing and healthy!

    Anyway, I know that these two chicks with strange right legs have the same father, and my mother suggested that they might have the same mother, too. I don't know anything about genetics, but could a bad genetic combination be the reason for the leg malformation?

    I do have some pics, but for some reason I can't upload pics at the moment.

    I hope and pray that the chick will somehow manage to survive and grow. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might have caused this? And any ideas to help the chick?

    from Rachel.
     
  2. t8562005

    t8562005 Out Of The Brooder

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    My grandfather had a chick with only one leg. She grew up and was perfectly fine. He free ranged her and she even had a few chicks of her own.
     
  3. Rachel96

    Rachel96 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's reassuring.

    I know my father said he had a chick as a kid, whose leg had been taken off at about a week of age by a cat and lived perfectly fine, free-ranging. I'm wondering, though, that chick lost its leg after learning to stand and getting a fairly good sense of balance - this one still hasn't worked out standing up.

    Was yours born with one leg or did it lose the leg later in life?

    from Rachel.
     
  4. Rachel96

    Rachel96 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here it is!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. t8562005

    t8562005 Out Of The Brooder

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    It was born with just one leg, it took it awhile to figure out how to hop and keep its balance.
     
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    It could be genetic, but I hear heat spikes during incubation can cause leg/foot problems and deformities as well. Did you have any problems with the temperature during incubation?
     
  7. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, it's kind of adorable! You could try feeding it and helping it drink for a few days, and then slowly wean it off, see if it can work out walking at all.

    I think it's very interesting that the two with strange legs have the same father, especially if you've hatched out so many chicks. You could always continue to breed him (and the hen, if you think it's that combo) and see if any other problems come up.
     
  8. DallasCriftins

    DallasCriftins Chillin' With My Peeps

    My point of view is if it is showing any signs of distress would be to put it down humanely rather than watch it struggle to put on weight and grow,
    If it does survive at least ensure no eggs this bird every father or if a hen produces can hatch which I guess is not going to be that easy.

    If the deformity is in any way hereditary you will simply be storing up even more problems for the future.

    If you already think you have a breeding pair producing problem eggs then even more so
     
  9. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    I used to have a chicken with only half a leg. She managed perfectly well and hopped about with the rest of the flock. However, she was a bantam breed. I think if your chicken are large heavy breeds then she might have a problem having so much weight on just one leg when she is adult.

    If I were you I would just give her a chance and see how she does. Let her have a few days / weeks to learn how to get about on one leg. If, after that, she is still having problems and seems in distress, then you can kill her.
     
  10. Rachel96

    Rachel96 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unfortunately the chick died yesterday. I had been helping it eat and drink but it hadn't learnt to stand and was having trouble getting around. It seemed quite healthy right up until it died though, so I'm wondering if there might have been other issues there.

    I don't remember any heat issues during incubation - but we have frequent blackouts and I don't always remember when they happen (the past few months they've been trying to make our power 'more reliable'. This just means they cut it off for eight-hour chunks at infrequent intervals, giving about three days notice by letter. To be honest, I prefer the irregular, three-second blackouts we usually get. They don't effect anything). I do remember the humidity getting pretty high though, but the temperature seemed fine.

    I still think it may be hereditary. I have two roosters - one throws black chicks and one throws yellow chicks. I get some brown chicks occasionally because of some of the hens, but I can usually tell pretty easily who the father is by down colour. So the two chicks with leg problems both have the same father. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing who the mother is. I wasn't planning on using the father to breed from after this year, anyway, so I suppose it doesn't matter. (On another note, the older chick, who is doing very well and growing healthily, is turning out to be a cockerel. It will become dinner.)

    Anyway, thanks for all the comments and advice you guys gave me, but I guess this chick just wasn't meant to live.

    from Rachel.
     

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