Splayed or Spraddle Leg
Updated: Mar 4
Splay leg is a disorder that affects very young chicks. Bird bones harden/set very quickly, so time is of the essence. If you notice an issue, you have a short window of opportunity to correct it.
Splay legs is caused by a number of things, which include husbandry and nutrition. The hen (mum) needs an abundance of calcium to pass on to the chicks and keep herself healthy. The nest needs the correct kind and depth of material, different species need different types of substrate. Budgies need minimal if any at all. The correct box has a concave in the floor to contain the eggs and subsequently the chicks. Mum and dad will clean daily. Eclectus need high humidity during incubation so a moist substrate should be researched.
The substrate is there to help the chick grip and keep the tiny legs under them. Think of an ice skater after a fall, legs going in all directions.
As soon as this condition is noticed it is imperative to get those legs back up under the bird. You can do this in a number of ways but catching it before the joints have hardened is the most important part of correcting this disorder.
I personally used a tiny hair band and a plastic drinking straw. Like the picture below.
My little teil wore it for 8 days and this was as close as they ever got but she did manage to have a very happy teil life.
Prevention is obviously better than correction. Make sure your breeder birds are in optimal health and have an abundance of calcium. Do your research and make the nesting environment as safe as possible.
Talk things over with you vet and other experienced breeders.