Would you know what to do if this was your chick? Know what’s wrong and how to fix it?

Tracy had this chick hatch April 30th and emailed me for advice. It sounded like a splayed leg and I suggested making a brace to hold the chick’s leg in its proper position. It’s hard to diagnose something sight unseen, and in hindsight I realize this was a case of a slipped tendon. It’s not as easy to fix as spraddle leg and ultimately Tracy wasn’t able to.

I’ve done a bit of online research as to the cause of slipped tendon. Some people point to vitamin deficiencies and others to injury. I suspect the latter, as Tracy feeds her chicks with starter crumbles which contains everything they need.

The chick, McNugget, did remarkably well hopping on one foot, getting around the yard, up the ramp to the coop and even flying up to the roost bar. Tracy was fine to keep a special needs chick; unfortunately what she thought was a pullet, ended up being a cockerel. She and Keith have a rooster and don’t have room for another. We posted ads but there is stiff competition between cockerels and it proved impossible to find him new digs.

He was given to Thomas for a date to ‘freezer camp’. He said it was interesting looking at McNugget’s leg post-mortem as there was a lot of calcification at his knee joint.

I think Tracy only took flattering photos of McNugget – always trying to get his good side. That’s too bad because his leg was bent at a 90 degree angle at the knee which made for a pretty dramatic sight.

For future reference: Examine your day old chicks and look for spraddle leg, curled toes and slipped tendon. Sometimes they are easily remedied if you are able to employ the right intervention early on.

Photos courtesy of Tracy

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