What's wrong with my baby Pheasant's feet?

Discussion in 'Pheasants and Partridge (Chukar)' started by BackyardDove, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

    235
    9
    74
    Oct 8, 2014
    Central Texas
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    What on earth is going on with his feet? He's a five week old Red Golden Pheasant, and as you can see, his feet are pretty gnarly. There's one toe where the toenail is even completely upside down! He's able to stand properly, but can't walk right to save his life. He's constantly stumbling and falling around. I had four other pheasant hatch this season, and they too seemed to have messed up feet and had difficulties walking. I lost those chicks though due to both an unexpected lice infestation and due to them getting their feet caught in the spacing of the wire floor(hence why this guy has a solid floor) weeks ago. I thought he would grow out of it, but he hasn't and his feet are only getting more and more noticeably messed up. I also noticed that, for the first few days, all the pheasant chicks were noticeably weaker than my chicken chicks. If they fell onto their back, they would simply stay that way for a few minutes, before getting back on their feet! Last year, I lost all but two pheasant chicks because the others were unable to hatch due to their parents not getting enough protein. Those two chicks also ended up dying thanks to my stupid dog, but their feet were normal and they weren't weak. This year, I gave my pheasant pair a special pheasant blend with 30% protein in it, as well as free fed them wild bird seeds with sunflower seeds in it. I didn't free fed them the special blend since my doves were gobbling it up too, and I was unsure if the extra protein would hurt them, but they got the blend every other day. I also gave them grass/weeds whenever I thought about it. As a result, any eggs that were fertile hatched successfully, but they all had this foot deformity. Meanwhile, the protein-deficient chicks from last year didn't? The chicks this year also all got only the special 30% protein blend. Is a nutrition issue, or something that glitched while in the egg, or something else? Help on what's going on and if I can help this little guy is appreciated! But please, if this is a nutrition deficiency, tell me how to fix it and not just say it's a nutrition problem. I have no idea where to start if this is a nutrition issue with the parents or chicks!
     
  2. Tony K T

    Tony K T Overrun With Chickens

    4,173
    128
    274
    Jul 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Was the grass you fed them treated with anything?Could your breeders possibly be related?What is this special pheasant blend?How many times a day during incubation do you turn them?Do you turn them while storing them before incubation while waiting for a batch to put in bator?
    In N.H.,Tony.
     
  3. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

    235
    9
    74
    Oct 8, 2014
    Central Texas

    No, the grass hasn't been treated with anything at all. I believe my breeder pair may be related, I didn't realize it at the time, but the person I bought them from had two males and only one female. But that doesn't explain why last year's hatch wasn't weak and had normal feet, yet this year's all messed up. I don't incubate them, my broody girls do. I don't turn them during storage and I don't turn my chicken eggs either, and I've have had no issues with them. I'm not sure what all the ingredients are, I just know it's got 30% protein.
     
  4. Ifish

    Ifish Chillin' With My Peeps

    291
    40
    98
    Feb 28, 2015
    PA
    Looks to have been born that way. All too common birth defect in fowl.
     
  5. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

    235
    9
    74
    Oct 8, 2014
    Central Texas
    Well... yes, I did say he's been walking funny since he was little, so, yeah, I'd say he was born that way. But that doesn't tell me how I can help him... And it is common, but I've never had an issue with my chicken's chick's feet. Seems a bit odd that all my pheasants that hatched this year had it and I've never had that issue with them before...
     
  6. 007Sean

    007Sean Overrun With Chickens

    1,269
    2,602
    261
    Oct 25, 2015
    South Central Texas
    Every once in awhile i have pheasant chicks hatch with crooked toes. At first i thought it was a nutritional issue, then genetic, then maybe a humidity issue. You can research the issue to death and never get a consensus agreement from any self proclaimed expert. Like Ifish said, "an all too common birth defect in fowl". Sorry, i can't give any advice or recommendations but after 45 years of raising birds of all kinds, i haven't been able to figure it out either. It does occur in wild birds as well as domesticated. You can straighten the toes, within hours of hatching, by putting tape under and over the toes and being sure to get the alignment correct. Usually, within 24 -48 hours the toes will remain straight and be in alignment. Treats the symptom but not a cure. If you ever get an definitive answer, please let us all know!
     
  7. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

    235
    9
    74
    Oct 8, 2014
    Central Texas
    Well I guess I did all this in vain. Now he's refusing to stand up, and falls onto his side whenever he's sitting, but he doesn't appear to be weak. I know what crooked toes are and I know it's a common birth defect, there's not much you can do to fix that issue before it happens, but it's not common enough to happen in ALL 5 pheasant chicks that hatched this year, who hatched at different times, by different hens. I simply won't believe that it's a 'coincidence' that all five pheasants got this issue. That and the fact that they were unusually weak when hatched tells me something more serious is going on, but I guess I'll never know. I really needed help beyond just confirming that his toes were crooked, which is pretty obvious, but I suppose I'll just have to figure out the real cause of this myself next year... Pretty frustrating to fail at breeding these supposedly easy-to-breed Red Goldens two years in a row..
     
  8. 007Sean

    007Sean Overrun With Chickens

    1,269
    2,602
    261
    Oct 25, 2015
    South Central Texas
    Yep, it is frustrating. How long were the chicks in the egg, once they pipped? I've noticed that when it takes a long time between pip and hatch that's when the chicks i hatch have crooked toes. Seems that there toes are curled up for too long, causing the crooked toe syndrome. I don't know for a fact but it's what i have observed. I've hatched 152 pheasants, partridges, prairie chickens this year. Out of those, 4 had crooked toes and all were Golden pheasants. They pipped on day 21, like there suppose to but didn't actually hatch until day 24. The others pipped day 21 and hatched day 22. Don't know if that's the situation with your hatches but it's what i have observed, next year, you might want to check and see if that's what's happening with your chicks.
     
  9. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

    235
    9
    74
    Oct 8, 2014
    Central Texas
    Hmm... I didn't think about that. I'm not sure how long it took the chicks who were incubated by hens to hatch after pipping since I prefer to leave them alone during the final days of incubation, but there was one chick I incubated myself. He started chirping at day 20, but didn't actually hatch until day 23. I don't know when he pipped since he pipped on the side of the egg that was facing downwards, but he did go past the expected hatch date, despite the humidity and temperature conditions being optimal. I had two other incubator pheasant eggs pip, but they were unable to hatch and died in the egg(again- they pipped facing down and I didn't even see that they pipped). Now that I think about it, the others may have hatched late too. I had a mix of chicken and pheasant eggs under the hen, and since pheasant eggs take a day longer to incubate, I placed the pheasant eggs in a day before I put in the chicken eggs. Despite this, I noticed that my chicken chicks hatched on time, meanwhile the pheasant eggs took several hours longer to hatch(possibly a full day longer- I can't remember). Thank you for that information, I didn't think that how long they take between pipping and hatching may cause defects.
     
  10. 007Sean

    007Sean Overrun With Chickens

    1,269
    2,602
    261
    Oct 25, 2015
    South Central Texas
    I 've also observed through the years that if i leave them in an upright postion, instead of laying on their side, that i have better hatches and less mortallity rate. Seems to me that when they zip the egg doesn't turn with the chick, like they do when laying horizontal. The results are the chick doesn't take as long to hatch and if too much moisture has accumlated in the air cell, there not as likely to drown. These are just some of my observations, yours may differ.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by