Chicks With Flippers

Chick with FlipperThe American Bresse, Black Copper Marans, and barnyard mix chicks are just over a week old. They’re growing fast – feathers are coming in already.

We recently noticed that one of the Bresse chicks has crooked toes. It’s odd because all of the chicks were fine at hatching, and we’ve seen them multiple times a day. Crooked toes can be caused by incubation issues, genetics, or other factors; in any case, we knew we needed to get the toes straightened out as soon as possible. That’s where the “flippers” come in.

Close Up of Chick Flipper BandageIf you don’t already have flexible bandaging on hand, get some (like VetRap™). This stuff is great! It’s stretchy and it sticks to itself. As you can imagine, it’s handy in many applications…and not just on farm animals. We followed directions we found online and made splints for the chick that held its toes straight; with time, the toes should remain straight, or at least straighter. While crooked toes are primarily a cosmetic problem, we figure why not correct it if there’s an opportunity?

The chick wasn’t particularly pleased to be grabbed out of the brooder while frolicking with its hatchmates, and even less pleased to return with olive green flippers. The chick, after looking closely at its own feet, ran around and scratched in the shavings just as it had before. The other chicks were mildly interested in the funny feet. As a bonus, we even got to perfect the procedure by replacing the left flipper several times, as it kept coming off. The addition of a “slingback” piece of wrap around the back of the foot finally kept it in place.

We’ll check the toes in a few days, and hopefully, they’ll have improved. In the meantime, we’ll chuckle as we watch the chick with camouflage-colored duck feet run around the brooder.