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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a baby chick that hatched Saturday (12-19-16) with only one leg. The other leg is a stump that ends at the "elbow", with a deformed sort of foot (see pic attached). So far she seems to be doing ok and I've decided to give her a trial before I decide to cull her.

In fact, she's already learned to hop and can stand for a few seconds at a time. My question is, does anyone have any ideas on how to strengthen her remaining leg and teach her to stand longer/hop with better balance? Mobility is going to be a prerequisite for this baby to have a decent life and I want to give her every chance.

Any advice or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks!

(P.S. I've named her Una.)
 

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Awwww,poor baby!!!Hopefully it can adjust to it's deformity and I don't know why it wouldn't.I had a parakeet w/ 1 leg and he did just fine despite starting life w/ 2 legs.He could even perch on the medicine cabinet on the tracks so he could look in the mirror.The only problem I see is it may make it more prone to predators and w/ a secure set-up that should not be a problem.
 

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3 mths started limping on right leg...we tried a splint for her but too complicated for her getting around and took it off. She as actually learned to walk on her 'elbow' or thigh...she has a very apparent limp to the side as she walks. I thought we may have to kill her but my hubby said, give her time and we'll see. we kept her in a pen of her own, we call it the 'infirmary' for any chicken with a problem and to keep from other chickens so they don't peck the injured to death. she has thrived!! we call her popscycle because of the popscycle stick we tried to use for support...she is a doll. she has her own personality and has learned to be a 'scrapper'.....we eventually put 2 other reds in with her, one by one to see if they would peck her...it took a few wks but she has 2 good buddies in with her and we let the 3 out most days to roam around our 8 acres of land. she will fly when necessary and her 'bent to the back' leg does not seem to hinder her. she has some trouble getting to the roost in evening and her bad foot can't grasp as good as her normal one, but she makes it fine and her buddies are not far from her ever. she will grab food out of their mouth at times when I feed them. we have 9 other hens in their own coop/pen. we let them out at seperate times, since they will peck Popscycle as soon as they can get to her. Once I saw a big blue jay swooping down on Popsycle, out by herself that day, buffeting her from one side to the next. She has sent out the 'alarm' that she was in trouble and I ran and chased off the jay...since then she is let out with her 2 buddies and no problem with those devilish jays! they must have sensed her condition.
I have read advice to 'cull' the lame chicken since they will not produce eggs....well, let me set that person straight!!!!....our popsycle has been laying eggs for about a mth now, unbeknownst to us until today. when let out of the pen, she headed straight to the barn, while the other 2 explored the grounds...I watched this....I couldn't find her for about 10 mins and looked under a wheelbarrow leaning against barn...there she was in the 'nest' of straw! I always wondered if she ever layed an egg the past mth since we were getting an egg a day in the 'infirmary' coop. I let her alone, 15 mins later I heard her cackle and went to investigate. There were not 1 but 3 eggs in her little nest! 2 cold and one warm. I knew she had definitely layed the warm one!
SOOO I would say to anyone with a crippled chicken, if you want to keep it and love it, PLEASE DO SO! Whether it lays eggs or not....who cares!!! but...if you are strictly after EGGS and nothing more, then GIVE the lame one to somebody. She or he will surprise that person with a wonderful feeling inside! they are valuable to people who truly care for them, not what they can give us...:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for all the feedback! I've been really rooting for her and so far she seems to be adapting just as you all suggested. In fact, this morning she stood up, unsupported, for a good 4 seconds without wobbling and then SAT (not fell) back down. Seems small but it's a big victory and a good sign she's getting better balance.

My family keeps chickens for eggs but my own little "flock" (just my silkies and Una's mom, a bantam mix) are just pets. They have their own secure coop and there's definitely enough room for Una, once she gets bigger. I talked to some others who keep chickens and culling seemed like the only "solution" anyone could find, even though none had had experience with something like this... Again, thanks for the encouragement, it's so nice to hear and really lifted my spirits!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
She's a bantam/game bird mix an her mom is quite small, so her weight shouldn't be too much for her leg to handle.

This afternoon she stood up again for about six seconds, you should have seen how surprised and pleased she was at herself! Standing is apparently much harder than hopping, because of the balance issue. She's already learned to hop fairly well when she wants to.

Also, she and the chick that's keeping her company really love being held, and since I'm busy a lot I dug out an old fanny pack. Padded with a cloth it works great, especially at night when all they wanna do is sleep and be held!

I will definitely keep y'all posted, if only so that if this happens for anyone else they can find out my experiences!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the tip, Karen. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm going to, and I think the fanny pack works similarly when I arrange the padding right. She prefers that to being held, actually, unless I can make her feel really well-supported. I think being picked up makes her feel like she's losing her balance, and she starts flapping her little moth-wings all over trying to get it back.

But, she's getting better at it. She had a really good stand this morning where for about 10 seconds (slow ones!) if you hadn't looked closely, you probably wouldn't have realized she was on one leg, she was that steady. And some very neat, controlled little hops, versus the crazy stumbling around she started with. I'm feeling more and more optimistic. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Una is doing very well! She stands quite often now! She actually seems to prefer it to sitting, although she still sits more than Gloria does. And I finally got a good picture of her standing up!

She's still got some balance work to do (tends to stumble sideways when she moves), but she's making great progress, better every day. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Una has made some amazing progress! She is standing and hopping almost as well as Gloria and stands up most of the time they're not napping together. She no longer hops in circles or has to lean on something/sit down a lot to rest. In fact, during her better stretches, someone watching from above might not even notice her missing leg. They both love field trips outside and Una has even started doing those funny little "chick runs" -you know, when they get all excited for a few seconds and flap around. :)





 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update:

First off, Gloria turned out to be a little roo. :rolleyes: We've renamed "her" Geronimo.
Both chicks are doing great! They love being outside and it's been perfect weather, so they've only come inside at night the last few days, otherwise they're out in the composter-turned-brooder. Geronimo is still all-white, Una is gray-brown. They turned 3 weeks old yesterday.

Here's Una:



She tends to droop the wing on that side more and uses it for balance. She likes to lean against things, but she can hop fine without support. Both chicks are very curious.

Here's their brooder:



It's got a lid, partly to keep predators out but mostly to keep Geronimo in, otherwise he is apt to go in search of adventures! Something else interesting, both chicks have wing claws on their alulas. Too tiny to see in photos, but I thought that was interesting! None of my adult birds, including their mom, have them.

Also, here's a video of Una jumping a couple days ago. She's getting so good at it!

 
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