Baby chick cant walk

by Lindz
(Riverside, CA)

Question:
Baby chick can’t walk
I have an incubator and just hatched my first chicks.....a day later now two of them can’t get up and walk. They are sliding across the bottom of the cage they are in.

I thought it was because the bottom the cage they are in was to slippery....so I put a towel down to see if that would help...it hasn't yet? Help!

Answer:
One cause of leg weakness in chicks can stem from a calcium deficiency in the mother hen. Make sure you have a good quality chick start and hopefully that will help. Another cause could be poor hydration of the chicks.

You can gently dip the tip of their beak into some water, or vitamin water mix, or even Gatorade or similar a few times a day until they are strong.

Be careful using a terry-cloth type towel as footing. The toe nails of the chicks can get caught in the little loops and prevent them from getting to food, water and heat.

Paper towels can work or a piece of ½” x ½” hardware cloth covering the entire floor of the cage. You could sprinkle shavings to help with easy clean up. You said the chicks are in a “cage”.

Make sure you have provided a good heat source and that they can move as close or as far as they need to regulate their body temperature. Be sure there are no drafts as this can quickly reduce chick body temperature and be another cause of weakness.

Until they grow in their hard feathers, with enough down beneath, little chicks are unable to hold adequate heat in their bodies. They must have an artificial source or mother hen to run to when they feel too cold.

It would be unusual for such young chicks to have any disease, unless there was some kind of contamination of the incubator or brooder.

Make sure their food source is clean and fresh and check the bag for signs of mold or a bad smell. Some chicken feeds contain animal fats and if these go rancid they could cause a problem for such little chicks.

You didn’t say if the hen these eggs came from is in your care. If she is, make sure she has a good source of calcium in addition to her regular feed.

Layer feed is often adequate, but a good breeder feed can supply better nutrition. Calcium for hens, in the form of oyster shell or other made for hens, should be continuously supplied, kept clean and dry. If your hens aren’t eating the form you have, try another until you find one they like.

I hope this helps!

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Aug 11, 2011
I have the same problem!
by: Sara

Hey just read about a problem that's the same as mine! They were just born not being able to walk they can't even try so my question is, if they are born with this deficiency can it be fixed? (will they ever walk?) I can send videos for reference if needed.
Please really need help on this.

thanks

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