There are many reasons that people want to raise baby chicks. These adorable, curious little chippers make excellent family pets. Raising chicks is also a great way to add new members to your chicken flock. However, like all great things, caring for your chicks takes time and dedication. You have to be on the lookout for the common diseases and conditions that can occur in your brooder. Take care of your newest feathery friends by learning more about these three common dangers baby chicks face.
Also known as spraddle leg, splayed leg is a deformity that causes chicks’ feet to point to the sides rather than the front. This condition leads to difficulty walking and can seriously inhibit your chicks’ quality of life as they grow. Fortunately, treating splayed leg is relatively simple. Bind the legs so that they rest in the correct position, and give your chicks a few days for their legs to adjust and heal. Splayed leg can stem from an overcrowded brooder, difficulties hatching, or a lack of proper nutrients. To prevent the problem, make sure your chicks have a clean and safe environment with plenty of space. Keep an eye on your chicks so that you can detect and correct any case of splayed leg early.
Coccidiosis is an intestinal parasite that targets chicks. Once a chick ingests the parasite, it will spread and multiply along the lining of the gut. It then damages the chicks’ digestive system and prevents them from absorbing nutrients from their food. Coccidiosis is one of the most common dangers baby chicks face, making it a leading cause of chick deaths every year. Fortunately, you can help prevent coccidiosis in your flock by keeping a clean, dry brooder with clean bedding, feeders, and waterers. It’s also a good idea to vaccinate your chicks to protect them from the disease.
Stargazing, also known as twisted neck, is a condition that makes a baby chick unable to hold its head upright. Instead, the head falls backward to rest on the chick’s back, causing it to always look up—as if it were looking at the stars. Like splayed leg, this condition hinders a chick’s ability to walk properly. The chick might even learn to walk backward instead of forward because of the condition. Stargazing often stems from vitamin deficiencies, which means you can typically treat it with vitamins or supplements. Be sure to contact your vet about proper dosages and other necessary treatment information.