Tiny baby chick can't stand up...


10 Years
Feb 23, 2009
Walkertown, North Carolina
I had seven hatch since late last night and six are doing fine...one is complaining and whining and appears to not be able to stand up. Five I put in the brooder but left this one and another one (the last two born) together in the incubator with the unhatched eggs. The batch was 'due' yesterday so I have not given up on those eggs yet.

One in the incubator is fine...both are dry and fluffy...and is acting normally but one seems to not be able to use its legs. Instead of standing up, then flopping on its tummy to sleep, it sleeps on its side. If you put it on its feet, it will push itself over backwards and struggle until it is back on its side. Sometimes it doesn't make it and seems to be stuck laying on its back. Its legs seem to work, but it feet don't seem to.

Anyone know what may be wrong with it? Don't tell me to cull it because I'm not able to do that.
I've had some with spraddle leg...last year...and fixed that. This isn't that.
And I've had them with crooked toes, and fixed them.
This one just doesn't want to stand up...it is active, and loud, and dry and fluffy and has no pasty butt.
I've had that too and fixed them.

Terry in Tennessee
It may just need a little more time to get its legs sorted out. Id give it a little sugar water to perk it up. Maybe some ploy-vi-sol??? Good luck!
Thanks for the reply. It isn't any better today. It is very active, and vocal but will not stand on it's feet. If you try to stand it up it will stay that way but is unbalanced and when you let go of it it will just flop over. Laying on its side it stretches its legs way out. Its legs move fine, it just won't stand up. They don't look malformed. It does not seem weak, it is just uncoordinated. I suspect it is brain damaged somehow.

I guess I'm going to have to get my big girl pants on and cull it. It does not want to drink and the other chicks are picking on it. I took it...and it's little buddy that were in the incubator and put them in the brooding box. The other one is just fine, went straight for a drink.

Well, that wasn't easy. I culled it.
i just had one die on me. well im blamming the other chicks for smothering him. He was starting to do better and i had him eating and drinking out of my hand. he wasnt walking very good and he managed to crawl around. He was crying a bit ago and i figured he was getting walked on again and ws just going to get him out and when i found him he was under a pile. And no life left. poor guy i wish i would have been a big girl and did what was best before but i thought i could save him. No good to let them suffer.
It's the first one I ever culled. I had a few last year I should have, but couldn't. So they died slowly. Not good.
It is the third spring/summer for me to have chickens. I've been through two winters. You just learn as you go along when it is time.
Last year I read all the culling methods and none seemed ideal...so I just flush mine. I start the flush and when there is a vortex that would suck it down immediately, I threw it in. It never made a sound. I had a full bucket of water on hand for a second flush right away in the event it popped up and was drowning and peeping but that didn't happen.

This morning I killed a six foot long rat snake that I found in an outside pen/nest that had eaten six eggs. There were six in there last night when I locked everyone up. I pinned it's head down and piled cement blocks on it and left it that way for an hour. I'd already chased it out of nests twice before...and back into the woods. Last year I had another one I took down the road and released as normally I don't kill black or rat snakes. Well, normally I don't kill anything. But I can.

It was just hard to cull the little chick. I guess like it would be harder...I guess...to kill a butterfly or a ladybug then it is to kill cockroaches or mosquitoes. It is just perception. But it is part of the chicken mommy duties just like the rest of the chores are. I hope it gets easier because sometimes you just have to.
Yeah, I guess that was a stupid remark on my part CDA. I took responsibility for that living creature when I put the egg in the incubator.

I'm an old lady with a long history of having to have my beloved pets helped to their final rest over the years and it never got easier, actually...it seems to have gotten harder. Most of mine are rescues but one Pug I got as a tiny puppy only five weeks old and finished bottle feeding her. Her mother was not doing well with a large litter.

This weekend she (Blossom) is 14 years old. She is mostly blind, and mostly deaf, and mostly sleeps but seems to be in pretty good health for an old lady. I lost her 'buddy' who was her age...another Pug... a rescue (Buddie) a year ago last December 16th. He died of congestive heart failure. I cried for three solid days. I'd had him for over 11 years. I am going to be inconsolable when it comes Blossom's time...and Bibette's too. My Black rescue Pug...she will be nine on Dec 21st.
I'm having the same problem exactly. This little guy hatched out and seemed strong. Had problems keeping it's head up though and the legs just splayed out straight and it slept on it's side. I kept trying and trying to help it get and stay upright. I even made it a setup to keep it erect so the legs could get movement and it could push with it's feet. Still it could not get any footing and would just end up in some weird position and peep to high heaven wanting to be erect again, and finally it just gave up and lay there

.... 28 hours and no better. Same exact behavior without any motor skills developing. Just flopping over and laying on it's side.

He was in the incubator 20 days before it hatched out. Temps were 100.05 and 65% humidity.

We decided to cull... I'm heartbroken (of course)... This was our first hatchling ever. I feel like a total flub-up -failure, with regard to this venture.

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