Crooked Toes February 29, 2012

Adult hen with crooked toes

If you have chickens long enough and especially if you incubate fertilized hatching eggs yourself, there’s a good chance you’ll have a chicken with curled or crooked toes. Curled toes is when a chick or chicken walks on the tops of this curled toes and crooked toes is when they walk on the sides of their feet. It can be caused by incorrect temperatures during incubation, incorrect diet (usually insufficient Riboflavin) or inherited. Read more about crooked and curly toes.

Penny strutting her stuff

Frequently a chick with curled toes does not survive. If they do survive, however, a chicken with crooked toes can live very happily. We have a Partridge Penedesenca that was born with crooked toes and now is one of the top girls in the pecking order. (And my, do we love those deep, chocolate-brown eggs.)

Having a chicken with a deformity can be heartbreaking and not all conditions have a positive outcome. However, a bird with crooked toes can still live a happy, full and chirpy life.

(If you catch crooked or curled toes very early on you can sometimes correct it with a special boot made from a band aid.)

Mona March 20th, 2012

We have one with a horribly deformed beak and one with a droopy eye, it’s sad, and we had to switch back from pellets to crumbles so she could eat. We bought them as pullets and didn’t realize the deformities until we got them home. “Beakie” we believe is pretty high in the pecking order, so the deformities don’t always cause them to be at the bottom (“Eye” however gets picked on by Beakie a lot).


Dee July 5th, 2012

Because baby chick bones easily remold, if a deformity is dealt with in the first few days after hatching, it can usually be improved if not fully corrected. I have used warm (not hot) human leg wax and gauze to fashion a lightweight “cast” that held the toes/leg in proper position until the bones were properly set. If a splint is necessary, the wax will hold it in position and cushion the delicate leg tissue from rubbing the splint.

christine July 9th, 2012

2 red stars and 3 salmon faverolles raised on organic chicken started feed, now 7wks old. ! SF has a crooked toe another SF has a crooked beak, but they are just fine in their group. They have been placed outside (yay, out of the mudroom dog crate) for the past week and I am slowly integrating them with a 1yr old buff orpington and 1yr old silver laced wyandotte. They seem to be doing just fine, I’m going to make sure they stay on their chick starter feed long enough so I won’t mingle completely since the older gals are on egg layer pellets. I’m hoping the extra vitamins from the sunshine, bugs and ground greens will help with the crooked toe and beak. Crooked beak caught a lightening bug and crooked toe climbs the run mesh as well as her girlfriends, plus her feathered feet mask her crazy toe. 🙂

helen chavis September 8th, 2012

i wish i would have known earlier this year that you could fix their feet i bought silkie eggs off ebay and hatched them myself eight out of twenty four of the ebay eggs hatched. All of my hens eggs hatched happy and healthy. Two of the eight were born deformed One was so bad it couldnt stand its neck was crooked and it couldnt swallow water when i held it by the water. it lived 2days 🙁 The other deformed one just has crooked toes and is doing great. We had to make special perches for her that were wider so she can stand on them. That was the first time I ever hatched eggs. I thought it was because i helped them hatch they started hatching on their own then just gave up after all the other eggs had hatched i helped them. So I thought it was my fault.

Olivia August 28th, 2014

We have three chickens that have crooked feet like a really bad claw they have been like that for three months is there any way of fixing there feet

Lissa August 30th, 2014

Probably not after 3 months; the boot really only works when they’re young, the toes haven’t been that way for long, and the bones are still a little soft. You might consult your vet to be sure, though.

LittleLucy September 16th, 2016

Olivia, when they are young enough you can help the problem by making bandaid booties, I don’t think it will work very well on an older chicken, but I am going to try to fix up a 6 week old I will be getting soon.

Kate September 23rd, 2016

So you just straighten their toes out in the bandaid bootie? And then leave it for a while? I have one chick that has three toes on one foot. She has been doing good but if I can fix it I would like to. They are 2 1/2 weeks old. Thanks!

Lissa September 26th, 2016

Yes! Essentially the bandaid with pad is stiff enough for little chick feet to work as a splint, especially if used early while the bones are still a bit soft and the muscles aren’t used to holing the toes in a certain position, yet. The band-aid adhesive is also generally easy to remove without hurting the chick’s skin (which is not the case with some other types of tape). The crooked toes are not usually a serious condition, even if not splinted… but it’s such an easy process to fix, my guess is that most people who know about the fix give it a try!

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