I would always get that happy feeling when my mums’ chicken hatched and I would just want to hold those small beautiful creatures.But Sometimes, baby chickens are faced with health obstacles on the road to full growth. Most of these problems can be rectified with proper care and treatment.  Here are some common problems that may affect your baby chicks, and how to go about setting them back on the path to happy and healthy adulthood.

Pasting Up

‘Pasting up’ or ‘pasted vent’ is a common problem that occurs with baby chickens, where a buildup of droppings can block their vent opening. It’s caused by incorrect incubator temperature or unwanted ingestion.

It can be treated by adding some warm water on a washcloth and gently wipe the baby chickens’ vent until all the visible, dried droppings are gone. It is crucially important to be gentle as the vent can be damaged if too much force is used.

Splayed Legs

This problem is also known as spraddle leg.  It will be pretty easy to tell whether a baby chicken has splayed legs . Their legs are stretched out on either side of their body instead of underneath like normal. It is caused by an overcrowded brooder, incorrect temperatures during incubation,problems during hatching and lack of proper nutrients. If untreated, they will be unable to walk properly or function as a normal chicken because their quality of life will be severely impacted.

It can be treated easily when it is detected early .The quicker you start treatment, the more likely the bones will heal properly. Furthermore, wrap a Band-Aid or some other firm material around the outside of the two legs in a loop – in essence binding them closer together. Keep this on for a few days while the legs adjust to their proper positions.  It’s important to monitor the chick to ensure they’re still able to access feed and water. Unfortunately, not all cases of splayed legs can be fixed – at which time you should consider your options based on the quality of life the chicken will have.

Twisted Neck

This occurs when a baby chicken cannot hold its neck up properly, with its head falling upwards onto its back, forcing it to look upwards. Baby chickens with twisted neck are physically unable to walk normally. This problem is caused by genetic abnormalities and vitamin/mineral deficiencies if untreated . Baby chicken will be unable to walk normally without falling over constantly. This will affect its ability to undertake any sort of normal chicken activities.

It is treated by administering vitamins to the baby chickens. These vitamins are Vitamin E with selenium (most important), water soluble multi-vitamins probiotics and electrolytes. Some chickens may bounce back in a matter of hours, some may take weeks.

Scissor Beak

Also known as crossed beak. Scissor beak is where a baby chickens’ top and bottom beaks don’t line up. It has no cause because it’s a genetic deformity. Scissor beak is a condition that gets worse over time . It depends on the severity of their deformity and they may have serious difficulties accessing their feed. Sometimes the other chickens will prevent the bird with scissor beak from reaching the feed. They need to have a separate feeding area that only they can access.

This deformity is  countered through adjustment of the feed to make it easier to eat .This is achieved by moistening it, or raising their feeder to around the baby chickens’ shoulder  level.This  makes it easier for them to access or having a separate feeder for the scissor beak chicken helps ensure they aren’t blocked from access to food. If the case is severe, sometimes the only solution is surgery.

Agribusiness Information

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