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Curled toes in chickens is a relatively common issue that can affect baby chicks. Curled toes will look pretty much just exactly what they sound like.
The chick will have toes that are curled under or to the side on one or both of it’s feet.
If you are incubating your own chicks, you will likely notice if they have this issue right when you take the chick out of the incubator.
Chickens with minor curled toes can do fine without treatment and sometimes they will straighten on their own. While chickens with majorly curled toes can have issues walking and will need to have their toes treated.
If you want to know more about how to treat other common chick issues, check out Raising Chickens from Hatch to Outside (if you prefer to read, there is also an eBook!
What causes curled toes in chickens?
Curled toes are generally caused by the same things that can cause splay or spraddle leg. Some things that can cause them are:
1. Slippery surfaces.
2. Too much room in the incubator.
4. Vitamin Deficiency.
5. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity during incubation.
The first two causes of curled toes in chicks (slippery surfaces & too much incubator room) can pretty easily be prevented.
Make sure that your chicks have a textured surface (like paper towels or pine shavings) to walk on when they hatch and during brooding. This is will take care of having a slippery surface.
To ensure your chicks don’t get curled toes from having too much room in the incubator, just be sure to have sufficient eggs set.
If you are only setting a few eggs, you can simply block off parts of the hatching area to make it smaller.
(If you haven’t incubated your own chicks, it is pretty easy!)
You can try to prevent injuries by keeping a close eye on chicks, but sometimes accidents do happen.
For example, if chicks get too cold and huddle on top of each other this can sometimes cause injury that will result in curled toes.
How to treat curled toes in chickens?
The treatment of curled toes is pretty simple and very inexpensive.
You can use really any kind of cardboard.
However, you can easily use cardboard from food packaging, a box or anything else you have around.
Want to see the treatment in action? Check out our video!
Process to treat:
1. You will want to make sure that your cardboard is cut so that it is just slightly bigger than the chicks toes. The cardboard will look like little chick sandals.
2. Place the chicks foot on top of the cardboard and arrange it’s toes so that they are straight.
3. Wrap the toes onto the cardboard with the tape, bandaid or vet wrap so that the chicks toes are secured in place.
4. Leave these cardboard “shoes” on for a few days until the chick holds it’s toes properly on it’s own.
Any questions? Please drop us a comment below!