In order for a broken chicken leg bone to heal properly, it needs optimal healing conditions. In some circumstances, this can be done at home by splinting the fracture using 4 dollar store items. This will minimize movement of muscles and surrounding tissue and increase the healing process.
I have found that the most important thing to successfully healing of a broken chicken leg is treating it as soon as possible.
In this article I will tell you what successfully worked for me when my chicken broke her leg and what supplies you will need if you choose to do the same.
Can I Fix My Chicken’s Broken Leg at Home?
Under certain circumstances, you can treat your chicken’s broken leg bone at home. It must be a “closed” fracture and the fracture must be between the ankle and hock joint. With quick and proper treatment, the chances of a successful heal with a homemade splint are pretty good.
I am not a professional and what I am telling you is my experience of what worked for me when my chicken broke its leg bone. Always consult your veterinarian for any injuries before trying to treat it yourself at home.
Chickens are not like a cat or a dog. They do not require regular veterinarian visits. In the past, many people culled an injured chicken, but with so many families becoming backyard chicken owners, we are beginning to see more people wanting to treat their chicken’s injuries, just as they would any other family pet.
A vet bill for a broken leg bone can be rather expensive and because my chicken’s broken bone was a simple fracture on her shank, I was able to treat her at home with great success!
Why Do You Splint a Fracture?
Splinting your chicken’s fracture will provide pain relief, support the broken bone during the healing process and help to minimize movement of muscles and tissue surrounding the injury. An unsplinted break will not heal properly and can cause long term effects such as deformities and chronic pain.
4 Dollar Store Items to Fix a Broken Chicken Leg
To fix a simple fracture of a chicken leg, visit your local dollar tree for the following 4 supplies:
- Popsicle Sticks/Tongue Depressors
- Soft, Self-Stick Wrap
- Ace Wrap
- Masking Tape
For other items that you should be keeping in your chickens survival kit, read my article What Do I Need in My Chicken First Aid Kit?
Step by Step Instructions for Splinting a Broken Chicken Leg
Always consult your local veterinarian before treating your chicken at home. Not all breaks are the same and some do require a veterinarians assistance.
When my chicken broke the shank of her right leg, this is what worked for me.
Step 1: Recognize and Inspect the Break
What are some signs of a broken chicken leg bone?
|SIGNS OF BROKEN |
Did the bone break through the skin? If so, it is important to get your veterinarians help. Bones that have cut through the skin are more serious breaks and prone to becoming infected.
Bones that break and cut through the skin are called “open fractures” and require surgery to reset the bones properly and medication to avoid infection. You need to make the decision if you want to take your chicken to the vet or put her down.
If you choose to get veterinarian care, move on to step 2 so you are prepared to quarantine your chicken after the vet visit, during the healing process.
Is it a simple break between the ankle and the hock? If so, this is something that you can treat at home. Move on to step 2, so you are prepared to isolate your chicken from the rest of the flock for a period of up to 2-3 weeks.
Step 2: Set Up a Quarantine Cage for Chicken
Set up a quarantine cage for your chicken so she can rest her injured leg while it is healing. Some people call this cage a “time out pen” or “chicken jail” as it is also used to “break” a broody hen or to stop aggressive behavior in a chicken.
A quarantine cage for a chicken with a healing injury should be large enough for her to comfortably flap her wings and move around. A large, wired dog crate is what I used for my hen that had a broken leg.
You should always have food and water available for your injured chicken while she is quarantined. Add a little probiotics or ACV to her water to help boost her immunities.
I also like to provide a very low perch to roost on so she is not on the ground at night. It’s best to not have your chicken sleeping in her bedding because this predisposes her to contracting parasites. By providing a perch, she is less likely to have her toes nibbled on by mice too!
You can also provide a nesting box for laying eggs. My hen did not lay eggs when she was quarantined. Her comb and wattle remained nice and red. Which is good because it tells me that she was healthy, but she waited until she came out of quarantine before starting up her egg laying again.
Step 3: Get 4 Dollar Store Items for Splinting Broken Chicken Leg
If you don’t already have these splinting supplies in your chicken emergency kit, it would be a good idea to pick them up at your local dollar store when you are there. The 4 dollar store Items for splinting a broken chicken leg are popsicle sticks, soft, self-adhesive wrap, ace wrap and masking tape.
|4 DOLLAR STORE ITEMS TO |
FIX A BROKEN CHICKEN LEG
|2||SOFT, SELF ADHESIVE WRAP|
For more chicken supplies that you can get at your local dollar store, read my article 23 Important Chicken Supplies – Purchase at Your Dollar Store
Step 4: Cut Popsicle Sticks
Popsicle sticks are used to stabilize the fracture and are placed on either side of the broken bone. I like to keep both small and large sticks, popsicle sticks and tongue depressors. Depending upon the size of the chicken will determine which size you should use. The dollar store sells both sizes.
You will need to cut the tongue depressor or popsicle stick the same length as the fractured bone.
My chicken was an adult size chicken, so I used one tongue depressor stick and cutting it in half worked perfect!
Step 5: Cover Sharp Ends of Popsicle Sticks
Use the soft, self adhesive tape that you picked up at your local dollar store and cover the sharp ends of the popsicle sticks. You don’t want it rubbing on the skin of your chicken.
Step 6: Place Splinting Sticks and Soft Wrap
Place a splinting stick on both sides of the fracture and wrap it with the soft, self-adhesive wrap. This can get tricky if you are doing it alone and have a squirmy chicken. Get a second set of hands to help hold your chicken if you need to.
My hen did a pretty good job when I placed her on her side on my lap to splint her leg. She squirmed a little bit, but I managed to get the job done!
The nice thing about using the soft, self-adhesive wrap first is that it is easy to pull off when it’s time to remove it. It doesn’t pull all of the leg feathers out! This was especially good for me to use on my hen because she has feathered legs.
Don’t wrap this too tightly. You want it tight enough to give the fracture support, but not too tightly that it will cut off blood circulation. Blood circulation is needed for the healing process.
If you are unsure how tight to wrap it, practice wrapping it on your finger first. You shouldn’t feel any numbness or tingling. If you do, it’s too tight.
Step 7: Ace Wrap Fractured Leg
Use the Ace Wrap that you picked up at your dollar store and wrap it around the soft tape. Remember, you want this tight, but not so tight that it cuts off circulation. Use the metal clasps to secure it.
Ace wrap comes in many different colors. I chose the black, just in case it gets dirty. It doesn’t really matter though, because you are going to cover this too.
Step 8: Cover with Masking Tape
I like to cover the Ace wrap with regular masking tape. This way, if it gets dirty, it is easy to remove just the masking tape and not the whole splint.
Also, you do not want the metal clasps of the Ace wrap showing. These are shiny and are pecking hazards. Chickens are curious and like to peck at anything shiny!
There are many different colors of masking tape available, but it is best to get one that best matches the color of your chicken’s skin. Avoid bright, flashy colors.
Step 9: Observe Your Chicken
Your chicken most likely will not be happy when you first wrap her leg. She will see it as a foreign material stuck to her leg and will try to remove it. It will take some getting used to.
Keep an eye on her and make sure that she is not able to remove the splint.
My hen didn’t like it at first. She pecked at it for a couple of hours here and there. Within a few hours she realized that it was actually helping to decrease the pain by supporting the break and keeping the inflammation down.
Step 10: Place Chicken in Quarantine for up to 3 Weeks
After you splint the fractured leg, you will need to isolate your chicken from the rest of the flock. This is important so she is not picked on by other chickens.
I placed the quarantine cage inside my chicken run so she was around the rest of the flock. Chickens are very social animals and this will help speed up the healing process and make it a little easier to reintroduce back into the flock.
Depending upon the age of the chicken you are quarantining and the severity of the break will determine how long you need to quarantine her. Very young pullets can heal in as short as 1 week. Adult hens can take up to 3 weeks.
You should notice gradual progress as the days go on. Limping will become less and less and she will begin to hop up onto her low perch that you placed in the quarantine cage on her own. She will also start to do innate activities like pecking, scratching and dust bathing as she improves.
If you don’t notice improvement, take your chicken in to see a professional veterinarian or put her down. It is not right to let her suffer.
Step 11: Reintroduction of Your Chicken into Flock
When you remove a chicken from your flock, the pecking order will change. Expect to see some fighting and pecking going on when you reintroduce your once injured chicken back into the flock. This is normal chicken behavior and should pass once they figure where everyone ranks!
During this step, it is important to watch to make sure that your chicken that was in quarantine has rehabilitated enough to fight back to establish pecking order. Make sure she does not get picked on too much.
Chickens know when one is weak within their flock and will pick on them until their death. This is innate behavior. Long ago, in the wild, a weak chicken was a threat to the flock because the flock was as strong as its weakest flock member.
I tried letting my injured hen out of quarantine at 2 weeks, but noticed quickly that she was not strong enough to fight back to establish her ranking within the flock. A few other flock members sensed her weakness due to her injury and pecked and pecked at her. If I had left her in there, they would have pecked her to death.
I put her back into quarantine for another 3 days and tried again. She did much better, was able to fight the bullies off (and run away) instead of being submissive to the pecking. She isn’t at the bottom of the pecking order either! I documented all of this in my video below.
Step 12: Remove Splint
When you notice that your chicken limp greatly imporoved, pecking, scratching, dust bathing, running, hopping onto perches and getting into her hen laying box, it is time to remove the splint.
I kept my hens splint on for 21 days. When I removed it and placed her on the ground I could barely tell that she had injured her leg. Within days, her gait was completely back to normal.
CONCLUSION: How to Fix a Broken Chicken Leg with 4 Dollar Store Items
It is possible to fix a broken chicken leg at home for only $4 if it is a simple, closed fracture of the shank.
Get prepared ahead of time for circumstances like this. Get the necessary splinting supplies at your dollar store and set up a quarantine cage for your injured chicken.
Follow the steps to properly splint your chickens broken leg and be observant when you reintegrate your chicken back into the flock.