New Chicks Are In The Air! Wait, It's "Spring Is in The Air!"

People are starting to get their mail order chicks. Sometimes they do not arrive well; splay leg is discussed here with advice for treating.

The coincidence of warm Spring weather and the shipping of new chicks has finally merged, and many of our local folks are getting shipments of new baby peepers, often for the first time. I am seeing that gleeful anticipation is tempered by nervousness about raising the babies, especially if anything goes wrong.

Some friends of mine from our local meetup backyard chicken list (http://www.meetup.com/stlouischickens/) just got their first baby chicks. Sadly, they were all lost in the mail for 4 days, and one chick arrived with splay leg and subsequently died of the effects of being without food and water for four days. 

Does this story have a happy ending? Yes, the rest of them are all thriving and playing with their toys and their obstacle courses that I had my friends provide for them. Fluffy running, jumping, peeping, flapping, sleeping ... I call this "Chicken TV for Humans".

Splay leg, however, is a very treatable condition if caught early enough. I spent 11 years working in an avian veterinary clinic and saw many such cases. Another mutual friend to the one mentioned above sent these excellent web resources:

http://www.poultryhelp.com/spraddle.html and


Normally I recommend going instantly to a veterinarian who is experienced with birds, who are few and far between, but these two sites offer good information as a starting point for helping this little chicks recover to lead full and normal lives.

Got new chicks? Consider joining our local chicken meetup group, and let us know how you heard about us!  We are collecting zip codes so that we can maximize the most effective collection of members in the same area to share coop and garden tours. These are really fun, and the thoughts and knowledge that flow back and forth between visitors are worth their weight in gold.

Off to get the Poultry People up for the day–I am getting turkey and chicken complaints about sleeping in late on a beautiful Saturday morning. oops.

Hug your chookies!


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Linda B March 27, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Dorene...don't forget to mention how effective a feather duster is as substitute mom hen!!! Our little guys love them! Cheers, Linda B
Dorene Olson March 29, 2012 at 10:06 AM
Hi Linda (virtual waving!): Yes, I have done domestic waterfowl rescue for years and years. Somewhere along the line, I discovered the value of an up-ended feather duster as a foster mother. My ducklings would snuggle under it contentedly for hours - it would appear that I would only have a box with a feather duster in it until I would speak, then a little head or little heads would suddenly appear from within the feather duster and peep serenely at me. Today's stock tip advice: take out stock in feather dusters, Easter is on its way! Chicks are all around, there are sure to be multiple needs for feather dusters!


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