Many chicken keepers use zip ties to tell chicks apart. Especially if they have different breeds of the same age with similar coloring. It makes sense. The problem is when the zip ties are not removed as the chick grows it can cause serious injury. Such was the case with Peggy (yes, son named her...injured leg, Peg leg...get it? *sigh* anyway...) Peggy was brought to me with a severe limp. There was no known injury or attack, she just started limping one day so she was brought here to see if I could figure out the problem. Thankfully it was easy to diagnose and treat and 1 month later Peggy is just fine now! Read on to see exactly what happened...
(remember: those graphic pictures are coming up!)
When I first looked at the young pullets leg I noticed it had a knot around it. It looked more like a crust then a scab, but clearly here was the injury. First I soaked it with Vetericyn wound & skin care spray. This is my go-to injury care product ever since Lisa at Fresh Eggs Daily introduced me to it about 6 months ago to treat a feather follicle infection in another bird. It's excellent for minor injury's and since I didn't know what I was going to find under that crust it just made sense to use Vetericyn to clean it off. After the crust had softened I removed it gently and this is what I saw....
The zip tie that had been put on her leg to identify her as a chick had been left on! As her leg grew the skin around it grew, but underneath the zip tie was only room for bone. Luckily there was only a tiny spot of infection and it was easily cleaned away. I had to cut the zip tie off of course (oh did I feel bad, that had to hurt!) It started bleeding a bit and I waited for the blood to stop, using a little Veterycin spray to keep it clean. I clipped away the feathers on her leg so as not to interfere with healing by sticking to the wound. Finally when it was done I coated the wound with Neosporin (without pain relief) then wrapped it with gauze. I sprayed the gauze with a bit of Veterycin to make sure it didn't dry out then wrapped her leg with vet wrap to keep it all in place. I usually use the camo colored vet wrap, but since she was pretty mad at me by this time...Peggy got the Angry Birds pattern!
I changed the dressing every few days until the wound was closed. After it was healed from the inside I switched to just vet wrap for about a week to keep the dirt out. The last week she's been without a bandage and almost all the scabbing has fallen off. As you can see (even though the pictures are blurry since she seldom stands still now!) Peggy is all healed up and doing just fine!
While I still use zip ties to identify chicks, I will never send another one to a new home with a zip tie still on! I always gave instructions to remove the zip ties when they got home. Many times the zip ties snap on their own or simply fall off and I was always afraid a chick would eat a piece. I never considered that somebody might simply leave the zip tie on or forget to remove it.
Peggy is going back home this weekend, all healed up and ready to see her hatch-mates again! I wish her good luck and will have a talk with her owner about watching more closely for signs of injury or illness. This should have been caught much sooner....either way, I'm just glad she's all better and I hope her story might help to remind others of the importance of removing certain types of leg bands as chicks grow.
This post does contain affiliate links. If you click on the links and chose to purchase something through the link, I may be compensated a small amount by Amazon at no cost to you. This helps take the edge off my blogging costs! Myself and the entire flock thank you for any purchases made through clicking our links.