Splay leg in coturnix quail

Discussion in 'Quail' started by A1987, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. A1987

    A1987 New Egg

    Apr 9, 2011
    I have 8 Coturnix chicks that just hatched last night and 2 have splay leg. I am new to quail, but this is my 3rd batch of eggs I've hatched and I haven't had this issue yet. I've read a little about splinting the legs and about possible causes, but I wanted some insight from those with experience here.
    If it helps, I use an auto-turner until day 14 of incubation. The incubator has a wire mesh bottom and the brooder has paper towels lining the bottom. All other chicks from the previous hatches did great, and all the current chicks are doing fine except these 2. It seems to be an issue with the legs themselves since even holding these chicks or supporting them when they stand, I can feel their legs spreading out to the sides as if they just aren't able to hold them normally. They did just hatch last night, so they're no more than 24 hours old at this point. Also, they're from 2 different pairs and they're different varieties, so I question a genetic link.

    Any suggestions? I'd really like to resolve this if possible.
  2. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    i use the rubbery shelf liner from walmart on top of paper towels in the brooder.. it helps with any chicks that look like they are going to be splay legged.. they can get better traction and keep their legs up under themselves a whole lot better
  3. Stellar

    Stellar The Quail Lady

    Feb 6, 2010
    Tampa Bay
    Paper towels tend to cause more issues with splay legs. You can tape each leg and try to splint them...I haven't been successful with Coturnix though.
  4. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 2, 2009
    Spraddle Leg Is Not Genetic... Its Environmental. Somehow Ding And Dong Have Managed To Loose Grip Somewhere In The Process... It Happens. You Can Try Splinting, Or Place Them In The Small Little Yogurt Cups Which Dont Allow Enough Room For Their Legs To Spread Out. Which Ever Do It Now As Time Is Not On Your Side In Correcting This. Good Luck And For Future Reference You May Wish To Try That Non Slip Shelf Liner Directly Over The Wire Bottom In Your Bator/ Hatcher Next Batch...some Folks Swear By It And Its Readily Available Cheap From Walmart Or Dollar General Or The Like.
  5. snyd08

    snyd08 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2011
    i hatched a button the other day with splay leg and put the shelf liner in ther and he actually fixed it himself... give them something to grip its worth a try
  6. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:yup.. that's the stuff.. I have the paper towels underneath it to help with cleanup.. but the shelf liner does give their feet something to grip onto
  7. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Spraddle leg can be genetic but is usually a hatching issue. I've taped button quail legs before and they are about half as big as coturnix, so it's not impossible. Put them on a cloth towel and see if they don't correct themselves, otherwise take a band-aid, cut it in half lengthwise, and tape their legs together with it. Normally I use the gauze part as the 'spacer' but with coturnix you'll have to wrap the ends of the gauze around the legs too. Figure about halfway around the leg (middle of the front of the leg) on each leg for the ends of the gauze, then use the sticky parts as the 'tape' to keep it in place. Put them right above the foot. But try the cloth towel first cause that should correct them if they aren't too bad.
  8. A1987

    A1987 New Egg

    Apr 9, 2011
    Thanks so much! I put a towel in there this morning. I just checked them when I got home (it's been 15 hrs) and the chick who was worse is doing great, it actually took me a minute to find him since he was walking normally. The other is definitely improved, but not as drastically. I'll keep an eye tonight and tomorrow and try banding if needed. I appreciate the help!
  9. Q for Quail

    Q for Quail New Egg

    Aug 30, 2016
    Thanks to Flock Master for sharing the lengthwise-cut band-aid solution! You saved two of my quails' lives. I tried and tried the "hairtie/rubber band through a drinking straw" idea, and may have even caused further damage, before finding this thread. The straw trick probably works great for chicken chicks, but it is truly impossible on Coturnix chicks. This is my first time incubating anything, and I'm so grateful for your suggestion! Easy, fast and effective!
  10. purslanegarden

    purslanegarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2016
    I've used masking tape for baby quail. It's not so sticky that it will peel off their skin or feathers, but it is sticky enough and can be cut into small strip easily, to make a similar shape as described by the "rubber band and straw" method above. So each leg gets some tape around the ankles, tied loosely that it is not encapsulating their ankle but more like a chain link around the ankle (think prisoners with ankle chains). Those two loops are then connected by another masking tape segment, long enough to allow normal walking but not enough to let their legs spread out from under them. They usually stumble the first few steps walking with this new chain on them, but then they get used to it. Depending on how dirty it gets, they get a new one every few days for about 1 week. I've gone as long as 2 weeks on some hard cases, but usually 1 week was enough.

    For chicks that had toes which end up pointing the wrong way or were not straightening out, which also makes them have trouble walking, I have used those chenille stems (found in Walmart craft section as well as other fine craft stores near you) to form basically another foot, and then tape each toe to the the different 3-prongs of the chenille stem. I've used both of these methods successfully with chicken chicks as well as quail chicks.

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