Chickens can get a dislocated leg pretty easily and for several reasons as well. Baby chicks are sometimes born with a dislocated leg and adult and heavier chickens need only to jump down from their roost or land hard and crooked on something to dislocate a leg.
Dislocated chicken legs are also called splayed legs or, in baby chicks, they are referred to as “doing the splits” by chicken breeders or straddle-legged chicks.
Several signs will point to your chick or chicken with dislocated leg and it may display one or more of these signs to alert you to the condition. Most often the toes on that foot are curled inward tightly and they won’t move at all as she can’t uncurl them even with a lot of effort, because the dislocation causes the nerves to be injured.
The foot may just be flopping around when she walks or she may just drag that foot on the affected leg behind her on the ground. She may also have broken skin where the dislocation caused the bone to break the skin in severe cases.
You have a few different treatment options to repair your chicken’s defect in its leg on your own, or you may decide to take it to a veterinarian to see if a professional can reset the leg for you.
The at-home treatment methods usually involve things that you would normally have around your home or farm, anyway, and are very inexpensive to save your chick or chickens foot. It is important to note, that chickens can actually get along very well with only one leg.
How Do You Fix A Chickens Dislocated Leg?
The very first thing to do, as in all injured animals or pets, is to isolate the chick or chicken in a pen by itself so others don’t peck on it as chickens do when another one is injured.
This is where the term of “chicken pecked” comes from. You can try to reset the leg yourself and bandage it up to heal or make a chicken swing or make another sort of splint called a hobble for your chick or chicken.
To reset the leg yourself, grasp the affected leg just below the hip joint and gently push it upward slowly to put it back in place.
You will most likely hear a popping sound when it is set correctly. You can then bandage the leg to hold it in place for a week to 10 days while it heals with vet tape around the lower body, and between the two legs and around them in a figure 8 to hold both legs in the right position.
You can reset the leg and then make a chicken swing with two holes for the legs that hold the chicken’s weight off the legs while it’s healing by suspending them just above the bottom of their isolation cage.
This works best with heavier and older chickens to keep the joints from being damaged as they heal.
For spraddled leg baby chicks, cut a straw about a half-inch long and pull a ponytail holder through it and then put each end of the ponytail holder on an ankle to hold the legs in the correct position for a chicken hobble.
Can A Dislocated Leg On A Chicken Heal By Itself?
There are degrees of dislocated chicken legs just as in humans. If the dislocation was caught by you right away after it was hurt or after a chick hatched, you pop it back in the socket and allow it to heal. The leg must be popped in to heal though.
If you aren’t sure about trying these procedures, take your chicken to the veterinarian or make a farm call for one to come to your home.
Vets are highly experienced at replacing dislocated joints. In addition, make sure your chicken roosts and nest boxes are lower to the ground and place small strips of wood on any ramps to help them have a good grip when going up and down to prevent dislocations from falling or jumping.
After placing your chicken or chicken in a swing or hobbling the legs to heal properly, make certain that it has plenty of good quality food in order to heal quickly.
You can take your chicken out of the swing or take the hobbles off about once a week to see the progress and when it can walk on its own, it is healed.
Is A Dislocated Leg On A Chicken Serious?
It can be a serious item if your chicken’s leg is not taken care of quickly. The longer it is out of position the harder it is to reset it properly. Acting quickly can help greatly in the healing process.
If you have never dealt with a chicken with dislocated leg before, you may consider taking it to the vet to be fixed where it can be x-rayed to make certain the bones are in the socket as they should be.
If you are new to raising chickens and you are able to set the leg yourself, you may still want a vet to do an x-ray to make sure you set it right.
It’s worth noting that a dislocation in a chick or chicken leg is very painful, so be gentle when you go to set it and maybe have a friend or family member help you to hold your fowl when you reset it.
Immediately after it is set and you hear the popping noise, it will then feel much better and more like a dull ache than a sharp pain for your pet.
The best idea for any type of pet or farm animal is to take a few minutes to see what they are up to when you feed and water them on a daily basis. This will help you to bond with them so they trust you in the case of an emergency and you can help quickly with a dislocation to keep them out of unnecessary pain. Remember to always consult a vet if you are squeamish about any type of medical help for your pets so they can help you.