I had one chick hatch with a leg straight out behind.It got worse until it couldn't walk. I put it down.Five weeks later a second chick from that hatch began to have a leg turn back until it would just fall over. Any ideas?


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by: Sharon

There are several things that could cause this. Possibly nervous system or bone disorders that could be caused by: disease, nutritional deficiencies in the hens that laid these eggs, genetic issues possibly caused by inbreeding?

The second chick may have been injured, but if you see similarities in the condition of both chicks, I would guess something genetic or something lacking in the hen's diets.

I've never seen this in baby chickens, but have seen leg problems with chicks of other bird breeds, often caused by calcium deficiency in the diet of the mother. As chicks are developing in the egg an entire skeletal structure is formed, which takes calcium and this calcium can only be supplied to this process, by the hen, before the egg is formed and laid. Forming egg shells takes a good bit of calcium, so hens need plenty, especially when eggs are to be incubated and hatched.

If I were having this problem, I would up the calcium for any egg laying hens & existing chicks. I would consider how closely related any roosters & hens are & likely get new non-related roosters. Generally these two steps should solve the problem unless there are diseases or toxins in the environment.

If chicks with soft bones make it out of the egg, stresses on the bones can cause them to be literally bent out of shape. This can happen as body weight increases, even as mother hen attempts to keep her chicks warm under her. Soft bones would be throughout the body, but weight bearing bones would be most at risk, including lower leg, upper leg & even bones you can't see easily in the pelvic area.

I don't know the breed you are working with, but Cornish Cross put weight on quickly and are known for bodies of an unnatural weight for the strength of their legs.

Hope you find this helpful and the rest of your chicks are OK.

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