Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spraddle leg, the band aid fix

Unfortunately, when hatching chicks sometimes things go wrong. Some problems though are very easy to fix and such is the case with Spraddle leg also called splay leg. This is not an uncommon problem in chick hatching. It can happen for a few reasons. Sometimes they just hatch like that, often with one leg sticking out to the side. Other times it occurs when the new chick cant get a good grip in the incubator and both legs tend to splay out more like the one in the picture on the right. It can even occur the first few days in the brooder if the bedding gets kicked away and their feet slip on the brooder floor. Either's easy to fix if you get to it RIGHT AWAY. This is super important! The longer the chick stays splay legged the harder it is to fix.

How to fix splay leg | spraddle leg | chicks

You'll need to hobble the legs together and 're-train' them to stay that way. The tools you need are simple. 1 band aid and a pair of scissors. First, cut the band aid lengthwise. I do it while it's still in the package. Pull out the split band aid and peel the tab off 1 end.Wrap the band-aid around 1 leg, fastening it to itself. Do this again for the other leg. It will look like the picture above.

band aid hobble, splay leg, chicks

When both legs are done, the chick (or in these pictures....keet) can now stand. 

guinea keet, spraddle leg

Take this hobble off in 24 hours and the chick should be able to stand on it's own.

guinea keet

It is SUPER important that you do this as soon as possible! If you wait, it will take longer to may have to leave the hobble on for a few days. If you wait too long, the leg will twist and just won't got back no matter what you do. I've had about a 95% success rate using this method. I hope it works for you too!

(sorry about the blurry pictures...they're from my old phone lol)

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  1. I have a hen that has a spraddled leg from and injury! Do you think this will work for her?

    1. It might. You could try vet wrap since band aids would be too small for a hen. Tractor Supply sells it for under $3. It's flexible, but sticks well to itself. Good luck!


  2. Thank you for the post. I have heard about doing this, but the photos make is easy and clear. I haven't had this problem yet, but I am still new to hatching.

  3. I have done this for five or six chicks over time and it has always worked. By the time they are a few weeks old, you cannot tell them apart from the others.

  4. I have one with straddled leg right now:-(


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