Topic Options
#7894 - 12/12/04 04:36 PM chick management for better birds
Rob2 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 3068
Loc: Pennsylvania
For several seasons I have been eliminating(killing) any chicken which shows any sign of weakness or sickness. So far I feel it has been a success as there just are not many problems in my flock. This year I intend to rear chicks on newspaper with no textured footing. I have done this in the past and had a very few spraddle legged chicks. Some have never gotten better, and some have overcome the malady.This year I will eliminate any which show the slightest sign of a problem. I will put them on the paper AFTER they are 48 hours old, at 1st feeding. I am convinced a well bred chicken will not suffer from this affliction after they are 2 days old. If any do, they will not reproduce their kind.

Top
#7895 - 12/12/04 09:04 PM Re: chick management for better birds
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8490
Loc: Montana
My chicks are on paper towelling until they are 5 or 6 weeks old, when they go on pine shavings. Newspaper would be fine, but paper towelling is mre absorbant and I just layer sheets on top of sheets and they stay dry and clean.

I feel that it is most often the chick's condition at hatch because of the hen's ability to lay an egg that has enough (calcium? A&D) to finish the hip bone by hatch time,(that seems to be the only place that is not "finished" by hatch time, rather than the brooder footing that causes the spraddle legs. That chick would be spraddle legged within a day or two of hatch, even if on rough footing. And if there is a problem chick, a day or 3 with bandaide support, will allow "finish" the hardness of the bone at the hip and you will never know which chick it was. Also, I give such a chick a drop or two of Cod liver oil orally, the minute I suspect a leg is slipping sideways. That alone can do the trick, if it was just a vitamin deficiency in that egg. (all eggs are not created equally). But elimination of weak chicks will make the whole hatch easier to raise and predict growth.

I feel that winter chicks are more prone to be spraddle legged because of lack of sunshine--our feeds can be lacking in Vit A and D, to hatch good strong chicks. This is why I feed my birds Cod liver oil sandwiches, several times a week during the winter months. It has only been when I did not feed this extra A&D that any spraddle legs appeared. Have a hen setting right now and more to go soon. They all have been getting their ration of CLO.

Whatever works, that is what we do! CJR

Top
#7896 - 12/13/04 07:02 AM Re: chick management for better birds
Rob2 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 3068
Loc: Pennsylvania
I think you are right CJR,I believe the spraddle leg is caused by incorrect nutrition in the hen & roo, also, removing the young too soon from under the hen or from the incubator. They need to be kept still, not a lot of movement for first 24-48 hours, they just arent done "cooking".After hatch it takes time for the joints to set up. I think the clo could be beneficial. I have been feeding a breeder ration year around and so far am happy w/ the results.

Top
#7897 - 12/13/04 05:13 PM Re: chick management for better birds
Bill Ludwig Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 2582
Loc: Ohio
rob, I understand your management practices and I wont argue with your success but my question is this. Based on this thread the theory is that spraddle is caused by nutrition and/or incubation problems. If this is the case then do you consider it a trait that can be passed on to the next generation and if so how do you link it to the genetics of the chick that develops spraddle leg? As I mentioned in another thread, I have not experienced spraddle in the few hatches I have done. I do appreciate your and CJR's insight into this topic. It has given me a new perspective on the subject. I have always used vitamin supplements prior to collecting eggs for incubation myself just as an added precaution. I also agree that its best to leave chicks alone at hatch. It would probably be best if most of us weren't at home the day of the hatch and let nature take its course.

Bill

Top
#7898 - 12/13/04 06:35 PM Re: chick management for better birds
Rob2 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 3068
Loc: Pennsylvania
Its my belief spraddle leg is 1st a genetics problem which may be exacerbated by poor or inadequate nutrition. Also the chick needs to stay mostly inactive, as it would remain,under the hen. I dont think it is totally ready for action, it needs to, I cannot arrive at a good term,acclimate to life not in a fetal position. I dont think the genetic problem is neccessarily inbreeding causeed but maybe a recessive bad trait. These are just my own thoughts which seem to bear up. I see this spraddle leg thing so talked about and I just cant understand why there seem to be so many with the symptom. Its possible there arent that many, just a big deal made of the few?? I am pretty much astounded by all of the health concerns, I just dont see them and dont know many breederrs who do have such problems. I do have friends who have many issues but their management is, well, lacking!

Top
#7899 - 12/13/04 07:26 PM Re: chick management for better birds
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8490
Loc: Montana
Rob,I think if you saw where some of the chickens with health problems are kept, you would understand. And too many just bring in new birds that "look healthy--except" and infect their own birds without thinking. And still other reasons are just the climate and weather will weaken otherwise sturdy birds and they cannot cope with the everpresent disease bacteria in our world. Like your management, I just so seldom have sickness or disease, considering the number of years I have kept and raised chickens, dogs, cats, horses, dairy cows--seldom ever lost calves, and I seldom lose a chick. Feeding is another problem for some peoples animals--for me, it can be pretty easy. I always have old timers--like myself, I do not go for the advertised medications--couldn't afford it if I did want any of them! When it is time to leave--I will leave! Cheers, I know--not for everyone. ..CJR

Top


Moderator:  Admin @ The Coop, Foehn