Tag Archives: broken leg

Drama in the high winds and an injury

HW brought in a chick in the morning with a lower body injury.  It didn’t have the use of its left leg, although I couldn’t figure out exactly what was wrong.  I wrapped it up while HW held it (a little chicken cast), and then it stretched out and fell asleep. Even with its head hanging off.Later on discolouration and swelling let me know it was a broken foot/ankle, and I put a proper splint on it.  Hopefully in a tiny soft boned chick it will fully heal, even if I don’t have it lined up exactly right.

The chick mostly sleeps, rolled to the side with the injured leg up.  It must be in so much pain, but by afternoon it was perky and up on one leg.   It adjusted very rapidly, eating.  I gave it aspirin.    A couple of times a day it cheeps demandingly.  And loud!  I’m just a baby!  I need attention!

I can’t fathom how it hurt itself so bad, just in a cardboard box overnight.  Never had such a thing happen before.Its siblings are at large in the world. The wind blew the plywood lid off of Cream Puff’s chickery.  Cream Puff is turning out to be far from a cream puff.  She was always high strung, but with chicks, she’s a monster. She rises up into the air like a bat, attacking, if you reach in (feeding her is fraught), and when irritated (always), she puffs up like a puffer fish, fans out her tail like a turkey, flares her neck, and walks around like a thug.

She was outside her chickery  doing her turkey impression and the chicks were inside, shrieking.  Catching her was out of the question, so I got the bird catching net.  After a failed attempt with that, she was in high gear, extremely agitated and rushing around, as the chicks got louder.

Finally I scooped up all the chicks, popped them into the greenhouse, and left the door open.  She went right in.  She had about two hours of daylight left to wreak havoc, I figured that would be ok, since she went straight into the tomatoes, and they are too big to kill.  The pepper plants already took a savaging in the morning, when HW accidentally let them in while tending the wounded (they’ll survive, but they got pruned).    She’s still blimped up, but she had a good time scratching and dust bathing.This is how you do it kids. They ended up in a corner for sleep, and I put them back in a chickery at night.

Miracle chick

IMGP4853Throughout this post I refer to the chick as a “he”, mostly.  However, these chicks’ gender is still unknown.

My friends’ hen hid in the goat barn and hatched herself a little brood this early spring.  The two survivors were the cutest things, skittish little white puffs tightly attached to mom, learning to scratch, and changing every day – growing new feathers and  little tails overnight.

Then one morning they spotted what looked like a plastic bag hanging in an odd place in the paddock.  Through the binoculars it was definitely one of the chicks, hanging upside down, apparently dead. While P was looking at it though, the chick turned its head and looked at him looking.  “It’s alive!”

He ran outside to retrieve the little bird and had to cut it free from where it had got its foot tangled and been suspended.  I first saw it in his hand, wrapped in a towel.  It looked awful.  One leg was stretched out straight and unnaturally.  Motionless, fully extended and obviously useless, it was generally assumed broken.  Prepared to tape it up with electrical tape, I palpated the little bird bones all the way from heel to hip but didn’t find any obvious breaks.  The bird reacted minimally, although it was dozing off because he was being held with his head low.  His leg looked awful, though, hanging useless from his “hip”, so I figured at the least his tendons were all torn.

Would the bird survive?  He was put in a box, ate a bit of food and promptly pooped, which was hopeful, but he couldn’t drag himself around at all, and the lifeless leg stayed stretched out behind him at a pathetic, painful angle.

These pictures are from two days after re-releaseI consulted Google, found this, and crushed up an aspirin to feed him on a bit of juicy mango peel, prompting H.W. to dub me Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

(Do not feed poultry ibuprofen! Or the whole aspirin! See the link)

Mostly the chick sat still and quiet with his good foot under him and and the other sticking out horribly; sometimes he sent up a loud wave of lonely peeps.

Later in the day after the aspirin, I grabbed the chick, who flapped and dragged himself through his water dish in a pathetic attempt to escape, to inspect his/her leg again.  This time I bent the leg gently through the whole natural range of motion a couple of times and was satisfied it wasn’t broken, although it was clearly badly damaged.  He couldn’t grab my finger with his foot the way he did with the other foot, and it was stiff and lifeless.

Still later that night, I checked on him again randomly, and he was sitting with both feet drawn up under his body!

More surprisingly, the next morning, when I lifted the lid off his box, he promptly flew up to the edge of the box in an escape attempt.  I inspected his/her leg again and this time he could grip a little with it.  He hopped around his box a bit, too, when encouraged, but with an awful limp.  It still looked broken, even, wobbling and dragging behind him.

But by that afternoon, he/she was standing on both legs, like normal, and clearly very lonely.  It seemed a miraculous recovery.

I thought I would reintroduce him to his mom just before bedtime so he could still have more rest but be with her before he got emotionally stunted.  I misjudged when she was retiring, though, and put him back out with almost an hour of active foraging left.

It was adorable!  I put him down and he ran to her as fast as he could, but it was down a slope so that at the end he wiped out and slid into her legs like he was sliding into base.  She just looked at him, and that was all.  All three of them resumed waddling and pecking like nothing had happened.  I was worried he hadn’t had enough rest and his limp would get worse with the sudden return to exercise, but he was managing fine, keeping up.The chicks are ranging boldly farther from their mother these days

By the middle of the next day, the two chicks were indistinguishable again.  From how awful he looked initially, it was a miracle recovery.

Our best guesses are that he may have been hung upside down for a long time, even overnight, and that his leg emptied of blood.  Perhaps his vessels collapsed or even had nerve damage with a v

ery extreme case of having one’s foot fall asleep, so it took a long time to get back circulation and reennervate.  Perhaps he had strained or over stretched muscles or tendons that bounced back with the rest.

At any rate, a chick that seemed a hopeless writeoff returned to being a normal chick in 48 hours, and although his leg looked broken, it wasn’t at all.  I’ll be more inclined now to care for and nurture damaged animals in case they are able to recover.  It might not be as bad as it looks.

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