Poultry Realities: Things Don’t Always Go as Planned

by Linda F

Published January 23, 2024

When it comes to raising poultry, things don’t always go the way you plan despite doing your best and providing proper care.  I received an order of guineas. All arrived looking well, but one had splay leg and a curled toe. This happens on occasion. I was prepared to help the keet. (It’s not a bad idea to keep some small bandages, drinking straws, and small hair bands in your poultry first aid kit.)

Guinea Keet First Aid supplies Meyer Hatchery
Guinea Keet with Splay Leg First aid Meyer Hatchery
Using a straw and hair tie to make a splay leg fix Meyer Hatchery
Bandaid fix for curled toes chick keet poultry first aid Meyer Hatchery

Extra Care

I wanted to make sure he was strong, so I prepared scrambled eggs for him and his little flockmates.  I could see he was able to eat and drink.  This was encouraging.  I prepared a hobble for him using a few small pieces of a drinking straw and a hair band.  I also used one side of a small bandage and the center pad of it to make a little “sandal” to keep his toes straight.  Sometimes it seems like it makes it harder for the chick to move about so I knew I’d have to take him to food and water often to continue keeping him nourished and hydrated.  

I took him to water frequently throughout the day and dipped his beak into the water each time I took him.  I continued to feed scrambled eggs to the group along with starter feed.  Using paper towels for bedding allowed me to change them easily and quickly several times a day.  I sprinkled feed on the clean paper towels after each change so he could access it from anywhere in the brooder.  I watched to make sure he was eating and continued to take him to the waterer for drinks.

Splay Leg Guinea Keet Poultry First Aid
Guinea Keet with splay leg bandaged first aid

The Unhappy Ending

With each check, I stood him up and helped him stay that way to make sure his legs were strengthening.  After a couple of days, he was getting up easily on his own and moving about nicely.  I thought, ok tomorrow I may be able to take this hobble and sandal off of him, but his tomorrow never came. I don’t know what happened.  Sometimes that’s how it goes, I don’t know why, but I lost the little guy. Sometimes the peeps that are more difficult to get started will pull through and become favorites, but I’m writing this as a reminder that while we don’t like loss and always do our best to avoid it, sometimes it happens.  

Do you have any stories of things not going the way you planned? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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