Why Do 9 Week Chicks Have Deformed Feet?

by George Thompson
(Marshall Arkansas)

I have incubated and raised some Rhode Island Red chickens. They are now 9 weeks old. One of them has deformed feet (the toes are crooked), but it does not affect her walking.

I need to know the reason for this. Does anyone have a guess at the reason?

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Deformed Chicken Feet
by: Sharon

I'm glad to read the chick can still walk around well. I have a hen that came to me when she was a year old with deformed feet and she does just fine.

Foot and leg deformities can have a few causes. The first would be from damage like broken bones, a foot getting caught somewhere, circulation being cut off.

Next could be genetic, due to inbreeding or chicks that came from a hen that was possibly deficient in calcium or other vitamins & minerals.

Less likely, but possible, could be a chick incubating in a strange position in the egg.

I haven't had any foot/leg problems with chicks from my flocks, but I have bred some small exotic birds like finches & parakeets. With the finches I was breeding for a certain color mutation with birds from different sources, but found at about the 3rd generation of line breeding/inbreeding, I started to see foot deformities in the colony. In a chicken flock that is too closely related, it's a good idea to replace your rooster with one completely unrelated to the hens.

In parakeets I saw chicks with soft leg bones once, when their mother's calcium supplement had been used up. It caused a condition called "spraddle leg" I knew it wasn't a genetic problem as it never repeated with calcium supplement in the cage.

Those would be my guesses.

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