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Spraddle Legs

Spraddle Legs is a condition caused as a result of a newly hatched chick not being able to get good footing in the hatcher or brooder right after hatching.  The photos here are of a Silver Spangled Hamburg chick that hatched in a GQF Sportsman and jumped out of the tray and tried to walk around on the tin foil in the bottom of the incubator for 36 hours.  It's legs were unable to get a grip on the surface and so have slipped out to the sides.  This condition is usually correctable if detected and treated in the first few days.  The idea is to immediately give the chick something it can walk on (paper or cloth towel, wire mesh, etc) and assist it in keeping it's legs under it until it gains strength in it's legs. Treating Spraddle Legs
Spraddle Legged Chick
Treating Spraddle Legs
Spraddle Legged Chick
(looks like me ice skating)
Treating Spraddle Legs
A 3/4 in. bandaid makes an excellent prosthesis, because the "pad" in the middle is just the right width to keep the chick's legs the correct distance apart. but you can also use string, yarn, masking tape, etc.  Cut the bandaid in half lengthwise to get the correct width.
Treating Spraddle Legs
It may take two people here. One to hold the chick and the other to tape it's legs. Here's what it should look like when it's finished.
Treating Spraddle Legs
 The legs are the same distance apart as the gauze pad in the bandaid.
Treating Spraddle Legs
Right after applying the bandaid, the chick can already remain upright, even though it's legs are still weak and it's sitting on it's hocks, and not using its feet.  It's getting used to the idea of standing erect.
Treating Spraddle Legs
Back in the brooder, here's the one that was just treated on the right and another awaiting treatment on the left.
Treating Spraddle Legs
The same chick the following day.  Standing Up!!
If the chick's legs haven't gotten too weak, the adhesive will usually give out about the same time the chick is walking and no longer needs it.  Keep an eye on it and if the bandaid lets go and it still isn't walking on its own, apply another bandaid. We've had to do this four times in some cases.

Once you have successfully restored a chick's ability to walk, you can proudly add "PPT" after your name:   Poultry Physical Therapist!

Good Luck !

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This page last updated 31 May 2004 - Copyright © 2000-2004  Pete Theer - All Rights Reserved