Spraddle Leg, which is also known as Splayed Leg, is a condition that can affect chicks after birth. When a chick hatches, sometimes one or both legs begin to fall to one side. This can result in an inability to stand or walk and must be addressed immediately. By taking proper precautions, Spraddle Leg is usually avoidable, but if it does happen, knowing how to treat it is key to fixing the problem as soon as possible to prevent malformation of muscles.
The main cause of Straddle Leg is poor traction in the incubator or nesting box. If a chick is unable to properly anchor its legs to stand, Straddle Leg can occur. In order to be able to stand correctly in a normal timeframe, proper flooring is a necessary for chicks. Use of newspaper or other surfaces that are slick directly contribute to the formation of Spraddle Leg. Instead of using such items, line flooring with rubber shelf liner or even paper towels. Both have a tackier grip that will allow your chicks to get the traction necessary to stand properly and keep their legs in good shape. It is safe to use newspaper as a base layer but only if it is covered with one of these materials.
Other possible causes are high temperatures in the incubator. If the temperature is too high or even too varied, you may wind up with a case of Spraddle Leg on your hands. Nutritional deficiency, while less common, can contribute to Spraddle Leg as well. Signs of this are curled toes and tilted heads. Should you notice such issues, adding a product that boosts nutrients can help alleviate them.
If you have a chick with Spraddle Leg, working to repair it immediately will give your chick the best chance at a normal life. Repairing this condition can be done basically by bracing the chick's legs so that they fall into a normal stance. A good way to do this is by wrapping a small strip of Vetwrap, Band-aids, or even gauze around the legs of your chick. Vetwrap is great due to being self-adhering so all it takes is pressing it onto itself to seal your brace closed; it also will not stick to the legs of your chick. Place your wrap around both legs in a stance that is near to normal (slightly wider is fine but avoid going narrower) and press the Vetwrap onto itself to bond your brace in position. Check your chick's legs twice daily by removing the brace to check for progress and continue to replace it as needed until your chick's legs have corrected to a natural position.
Attending to Spraddle Leg quickly is necessary for afflicted chicks to survive and thrive. If attention is not quickly paid to this condition, chicks can die due to an inability to reach food and water. Luckily it is a problem that is easy to remedy and your chicks should be good as new in very little time with proper attention from you.