Slight Case of Spraddle Leg in Chick, have questions


10 Years
May 10, 2010
I had always thought that spraddle leg looked like the chick was doing splits- a fairly extreme, easy to notice thing.

Yesterday, I realized on of my chicks does have a slight case with her left leg. She can still run around and such, but it just seems a little weak. She had to have a little help out of her shell (she didn't zip enough, and was trying to bust out without enough shell taken away), and I'm wondering if she was maybe in the shell a little weird.

Since she didn't seem that bad, I put her in a coffee cup for a bit (I'd read that sometimes this can give enough support and keep them upright enough to fix it). She jumped out within 10 minutes. Then, I put a bandaid on her legs. She busted through that in about 5 hours. So then I tried electrical tape. Broke through that within an hour.

Last night I finally put a rubber band on there, but I'm wondering if I didn't do the middle part tight enough- her stance still seems very wide.

Anyway, at this point I am looking for guidance from others who have encountered this. Should I redo the rubber band tighter? let her go free? I see no improvement from yesterday.
I found that rubberbands were frustrating..... What I did was cut a bandaid in half (so its not so thick) and just connect the stick to the legs... the chick looks hog tied but i set it close to the food and water and changed it every day. Sometimes i would force the legs closer. after a few days you can remove it, the chick will be a little stiff but it can walk straight again.
Try the bandaid, rotate its leg a little straight and make sure the bandaid sticks well. I use the cloth kind because they are very strong and sticky. Otherwise it might be fine... unless it is a hen and you have roosters later... the rooster can injure the hen severly if the leg cannot support weight well.....
The stance does seem wide--I would shorten the space a little til it's just a little wider (especially when using a stretchy material) than a normal stance.

You can also use sports tape--it sticks well.

You can also wrap the center section with an additional wrap of tape (vertically) to make tape stick better. That also helps keep chicks from putting their legs too close together.

There is more info on leg hobbles on the website linked in my sig.

DON'T GIVE UP! This problem has to be fixed while the chick's MIND PATTERNS are being put in place, as well as its muscles, tendons & bones developing.

Here's wishing for the best
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Thanks so much for your responses.

I have to admit this is my favorite chick of the hatch, so I really want things to work out.

I narrowed the stance a little bit, but I'm worried that having it wider earlier made things worse. I noticed that I kept the rubber band around the leg loose (I was afraid of cutting off circulation, so I I kept it loose). Problem with that is that the band slipped up, and I feel like her leg is even worse today. It also seems like she's turning that leg out a little bit now.

So, I took some of that first aid wrap material (coflex) and wrapped it above the rubberband so it couldn't slip up. Here's a picture I just took of her:

I'm sorry for frustration you've run into with slipping. This stuff can get complicated & frustrating sometimes.

To keep your chick's hock out, you'll have to make a hobble that has a stiff center. If it's the best you have, a trimmed-narrower strip of masking tape should work to make the hobble. Make the center part of the hobble stiff by looping a wrap or two of tape vertically around the center portion to make it thicker.

Here is a photo of this technique done on a hobble made from sports tape.

Because the chick was a couple weeks old, I made the center extra stiff because the chick had developed more muscle to use in pushing against. I cut a small rectangle of paperboard (the kind cereal boxes are made of) and placed it on the center section before doing a few vertical wraps of tape.

Note: The pictured chick's legs' condition was too serious & the chick was too old for successful treatment from this point.
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Oh, that picture is extremely helpful, thanks so much! I'm sorry that chick didn't have a better outcome.

Ok, I tried to do a hobble with a bit of super thin cardboard in the middle. See what you think. After seeing the picture, I adjust the tape a tiny bit up so it isn't interfering at all with that back toe.

What a cute pick of your chick checking out its hobbles!

Since the chick was able to get off the electrical tape before, I'd switch to bandaids or masking tape or Scotch tape. If you can make the horizontal strip of tape narrower, that would make it so when one leg moves the other doesn't get pulled by the hobble as much. Also, then the edges of the tape can't chafe against the ankle or hock.

You are obviously skilled with teeny-tiny work (I don't know HOW you put on the rubber band!!) so I hope adaptations aren't too tedious.

I just now used your photo to help me finally create illustrations of leg hobbles for the website (Been needing to or a long time!). They might help make things clearer & are below.

(I made the legs too skinny, which makes the stance a little bit too wide. Note to self: Move legs closer later.)

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I was working with the tape we had on hand- all we have is super cheap transparent tape and electrical tape. I think I didn't put it on very well last time, so hopefully it does better. I'll try to get some other tape today, I think.

When I made it so thick, it was because I was still operating under rubber band theory- the band was sliding up, and therefore pulling the hock in, and letting the ankle splay out, and I think I made things worse from having it that was most of the day yesterday.

So, here's new and improved bandage- I cut the electrical tape in half, so it's 50% thinner! I may go and reinforce the middle, since that is where it's most likely to break.

I still don't like how her stance is off. Much as I hate to harass her even more, I'm worried about that. Should it be right right away, or will it (hopefully) correct itself a little?
The hobble looks great!

I think the width of the stance looks perfect! Her balance of weight is indeed off but that's very much normal for her progression.

Since her problems have been going on a little while, it would take some extra help to give her her best chance. There is some info on my Poultry Podiatry page on "Physical Therapy..." It would be VERY helpful to also do some of that at least the next 2 or more days.

I REALLY would go get some more tape today and definitely wrap the center of the hobbles vertically to keep the leg wraps securely in place. It is IMPORTANT that the hobbles be secure--if the chick's leg position isn't consistent, her brain will get more confused and she'll have more difficulty learning correct movements, and it's critical that her brain program those in ASAP.

Sports tape is best & they sell that in the pharmacy-type section of stores for about $4 usually. It feels like white cloth. But masking tape might be another good option, provided it's not a cheapo brand that doesn't stick well. Also, even a decent brand of transparent tape can be pretty useful if the chicken hasn't gotten too strong yet. Something as serious as duct tape would be way too much, tho.

I feel your pain about "harassing" her!!! It's so hard to have to put chicks thru a lot sometimes when you're trying to treat them. Yours looks healthy & strong, though. Just try to let her have good rest & the best food you can between treatments & she'll probly deal with stresses alright.

I'm SO GLAD you're staying right on top of her treatment!!! You're helping her right in the window of time when she REALLY needs it.
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Thank you so much for all of your help. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. If you were close, I'd give you a hug.

The electrical tape hobble has been on for 6 hours now and still looks totally secure.

We just finished our first session of physical therapy on the chick (huh. That is a sentence I never thought I'd be saying).

I feel like there's already a slight improvement.

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