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How To Treat A Chick With A Broken Leg!

Due to more and more people starting to keep backyard chickens as a way to help provide eggs for their diet and control bugs in their garden, we have noticed a spike in the number of people reaching out with various questions about keeping chickens or breeding baby chicks. One of the more commonly asked questions that we have seen people asking time and time again is what to do with a chick with a broken leg as this can be a relatively common condition.

Although a small number of chicks can have a broken leg, some chicks will actually have the spraddle leg condition or a slipped Achilles tendon that is often misinterpreted as broken legs by people new to keeping chickens or breeding baby chicks. Either way, you can treat the condition and in most cases, the baby chick with the broken leg will usually make a full recovery quickly.

In this article, we are going to be going over a number of different common questions that we see people asking on a regular basis about baby chickens with broken legs. Our hope is that we are going to be able to help as many people as possible and that we will be able to help our readers heal the broken legs of their chicks and help them make a full recovery. We have added a table of contents below to allow you to quickly and easily navigate to the specific sections of the article if needed.

How Do You Treat A Chick With A Broken Leg?

A baby chick on a plank of wood.

The easiest way to treat a baby chick with a broken leg is to fashion a DIY splint at home using a popsicle stick and some Band Aids. Although most people who have not done the process before are often nervous, the process is very easy and you simply cut the popsicle stick down to size and then secure it on your baby chick’s leg using a Band-Aid for around two weeks.

While the baby chick is healing, we would highly recommend that you try to keep it away from its brothers and sisters if possible. If you don’t have a spare heat lamp or brooder, using something as a divider in your current brooder is a good workaround. This ensures that the injured chick with the broken leg will not be getting trampled or pecked at and can heal in peace. Thankfully, baby chicks tend to heal very quickly and after the initial two-week period with the homemade splint on their leg, it may be fit to return to the rest of their brothers and sisters.

Thanks to modern technology it is quick, easy, and cheap to book a video call with a professional veterinarian to help you with the process or offer advice for your situation. As we touched on earlier in the article, it is common for people new to keeping baby chicks to misdiagnose a broken leg with a slipped Achilles tendon or a spraddle leg so a quick video call with a vet will be able to confirm your diagnosis and offer feedback on your planned course of action to heal the baby chicks leg.

How Long Does A Chicks Broken Leg Take To Heal?

Provided the baby chick with the broken leg is still eating normally, they can fully heal a broken leg with a DIY splint attached to it in as little as two weeks. Depending on the situation, it can take longer than this but expecting a three to four-week recovery at most is usually safe. Keeping the baby chick with the broken leg away from other baby chicks so its leg is able to heal can speed up the process too.

We have seen some people claim that feeding the baby chick “super foods” can help its broken leg heal quicker but this tends not to be the case. For the most part, unless specifically advised to do so by your vet, feed your baby chick the same types of food as you would feed the rest of your chicks and give it plenty of water while it is recovering.

Most people are surprised at just how quickly a baby chick can heal but you have to factor in that their legs are very small and that at their stage of life, their body is primed to grow and repair at a rapid rate too. This is why it is not uncommon for a baby chick to heal in as little as only two weeks but if you do not apply a split to help with the healing process, the baby chick may always have issues with the leg.

How To Tell If A Chick Has A Broken Leg!

It is usually obvious if a baby chick has a broken leg as the leg will randomly change direction at the break but there are other conditions that could come into play. Both spraddle leg condition and a slipped Achilles tendon are commonly misdiagnosed as a broken leg but both of these conditions tend to have the leg bone on the chick continue in a natural, straight-line helping you work out if the chicks leg is broken or not.

If you are ever in doubt about if your baby chick does have a broken leg or has a slipped Achilles tendon or spraddled legs then a quick video call with an online vet should be able to help you out. Due to being online, the call is usually quicker and cheaper than a trip to your local veterinarian’s office and you will still get professional advice for your pet chick from fully qualified veterinarians.

If you are unsure on the specific condition of your baby chick, this can be the better course of action as there are a few less common conditions than the ones above that can affect baby chicks and their legs, especially just after hatching. Getting a professional diagnosis and treatment plan from a vet will help your baby chick heal quicker and prevent you from wasting your time trying to treat the baby chick for a condition that it does not have.

How To Make A Baby Chick Broken Leg Splint!

There are a number of ways that you are able to make a leg split for a chick with a broken leg but the easiest, cheapest, and most common way is to take a popsicle stick and some Band Aids and fashion them into a leg splint. You will have to cut the popsicle stick down to size and then cut the Band-Aids to fit your chick’s leg with the popsicle stick in place but the process is much easier than most people initially think.

This is usually the default recommendation that we use for our readers as it is easy to attach and easy to remove when needed without causing the baby chick any pain. Some of the other methods out there, especially those using stronger types of sticky tape are easy to apply but a paint to remove. If your chick’s leg is still weak when you try to remove it, the stronger types of tape can cause your baby chick pain so we usually recommend a simple band-aid.

If you do go to a vet’s surgery then they do have similar things available that will act as a leg splint for your baby chick’s broken leg that may be able to help it heal back to full health too. Your local vet will usually fit and remove this splint too removing the need for you to do it helping to relieve some worry from people who are not confident in applying their own DIY leg splint to their baby chick even though the process is very simple.

Can A Chick Hatch With A Broken Leg?

A group of chicks in a coop.

Although rare, a very small number of chicks can hatch from their egg with a broken leg for a number of different reasons. This can be very hard to prevent as the owner of the chick as it is in its egg before hatching essentially making it impossible to prevent in most cases.

Although we would all hope our baby chicks would hatch healthy and without a broken leg, the younger the chick is when you splint the leg, the easier it tends to be to get a good recovery for the chick in a shorter period of time. Due to the leg on a freshly hatched chick being smaller and weaker, it can take more time to apply a DIY splint correctly but it can still be done with relative ease.

If you are trying to splint the leg of a newly hatched chick with a broken leg, lighting is very important so try to ensure that you have as much light as possible. You can also cut the popsicle stick down to size and then do a few dry runs on some straws or other items in the house before trying it on the baby chick too. Not only does this build up your confidence in applying the leg splint to the chick but it also reduces the time required for handling a potentially traumatized chick too.

Can A Chick Survive With A Broken Leg?

A baby chick’s chances of survival for a broken leg are extremely high provided you splint the leg to help it heal as quickly as possible. Once the leg is splinted, keeping it away from the other chicks to prevent them from pecking at the splint or trampling the broken leg is also recommended.

Ensure that you also keep feeding your baby chick throughout the recovery as normal too while also ensuring that it has access to plenty of water too. Depending on the age of the chick and your location, it is also recommended that you keep the chick under a heat lamp too if possible.

Although complications in the recovery of a baby chick with a broken leg are rare, if you are ever in doubt about anything then a quick video call with a vet can be the best route to take. You can also try to share photographs of your chick’s leg on various social media grounds but the advice you receive can may not be accurate so keep that in mind.

What To Do With A Baby Chick With A Broken Leg?

You should always try to splint the leg of a baby chick with a broken leg as the process is easy and all you need is a popsicle stick and some Band Aids. Once the splint is attached, we would highly recommend that you try to keep the baby chick away from other chicks until it has recovered too.

Your baby chick should be back to full health with a healed leg in less than a month so this tends not to be too much of a convenience for most people either. Even if you don’t have separate heat lamps you can usually make a DIY partition for your breeder to give the injured baby chick some space to heal.

It is rare that your baby chick with a broken leg will have to stay in a vet’s surgery for an extended period of time though. We do sometimes see people worry about this and the additional potential costs but it is rare that you won’t be able to take your baby chick home if it does require professional help for whatever reason.

Conclusion

That brings our article going over how to heal a chick with a broken leg to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you and in most cases, you are able to easily apply a DIY leg splint to your checks broken leg and help it make a full recovery. As we have mentioned multiple times throughout the article, if needed, you can get assistance from your local vet too but for the majority of people, this will not be required.