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How to Treat a Chicken's Broken Leg or Wing

7 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Tending a Sick or Injured Chicken

Is your chicken refusing to walk or dragging its wing? It may be suffering from a broken leg or wing. Broken wings are fairly easy for the chicken to live with; broken legs are not. With legs and wings, it’s important to treat your injured chicken immediately.

A broken wing may drag the ground or appear twisted. It can be healed by folding the wing into a natural position against the bird, and then wrapping the bird with gauze strips or vet wrap to hold the wing in place. Unless it’s a show bird, if the wing heals crooked or droops, it’s no big deal.

Keeping the wing wrapped for two weeks is usually enough. The bird must be separated from other birds during this time. The bird will feel better if it can see and hear the flock.

A broken leg may look crooked and swollen, and the bird won’t walk on it. Broken legs can be splinted, but it’s best to let a vet or someone experienced in bird rehabilitation do this. In a young bird, the bones heal quickly. Once again, you should separate the bird from your flock until it has healed.

In either case, if a bone is protruding through the skin, infection is extremely likely, and the chances of the bird making it are poor. Wings can be amputated, but even though chickens can exist with one leg, the quality of life is poor. Amputations should be done by a vet.

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