by Donna
(Oshkosh, WI, USA)


We have a baby chick that hatched a couple of weeks ago. The chick has had a problem with balance and spends most of the time on it's side. It does eat and drink, though the balance issues have persisted. What could cause this type of condition and is there anything that can be done to change it.


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Chick Can't Stand Well
by: Sharon

Chicken health is basically the same as human health, so reasons for a balance issue could have causes from head to toe.

If the chick was like this when you got it, or soon after you hatched it, my guess would be this will continue to be a persistent problem. You say the problem persists, but didn't mention if you've noticed any improvement or any worsening.

As you can imagine or already know, a chicken with this kind of problem will not do well in life, even if it gets no worse.

Even a veterinarian with a lot of experience treating chickens, would have to do Xrays to see what is going on inside with the bone structure. If that is normal, then the reason could be a nerve disorder, or even brain issue.

You didn't say if the chick favors one side or the other. If it does, it may have suffered some kind of stroke or other event that cut off blood supply to the brain temporarily.

This chick could have an inner ear deformity or many possibilities.

Without studying the chick myself, these are the main things I would suspect COULD be possible. There is probably a 50/50 chance this chick will someday have normal balance, less if there has been no improvement or if the condition is getting worse.

It's fairly common for there to be one chick in a hatching that has problems. In a natural setting a chick like this would be left behind and not survive. Even temperature issues in the incubator or under a hen can lead to a problem later - if the chick manages to hatch.

Was this chick able to get out of the shell on it's own, or was it helped?

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