What Causes Curled Toes In Poultry?

I have been asked what cause curled toes in poultry and waterfowl chicks.

Curled toes is when the chick, keet or duckling is born with toes or feet that are curled up.

This can be caused by a number of things:

  • Curled feet can be genetic and due to inbreeding. It’s only safe to breed ducks down by three generations, thne new stock needs to be introduced.
  • It can be due to poor nutrition and a vitamin (riboflavin) defiency in the breeding stock.
  • It can also be due to infra red light in the brooder.
  • Conditions in the incubator can also lead to problems – bacteria in the incubator can lead to hatching problems and if bacteria has gone through the shell then it can effect the keet, duckling or chick.

A useful book for a poultry, game and waterfowl keepers is the book Poultry & Waterfowl Problems By Michael Roberts.

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If you keep poultry or are thinking of keeping poultry then join the free farmingfriends forum for the latest chat, advice and questions about poultry and poultry related issues.

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Curled Toes On Newly Hatched Ducklings

On occasions a duckling can hatch out with toes that are curled up into a fist shape. Sometimes they may straighten out on their own in the first day or so but if they don’t you can make a cardboard or pipe cleaner shoe for the duckling to wear which will help to straighten out the toes.

Cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the ducklings foot – use the uncurled foot as a guide for size and shape. The uncurl the curled foot and attach the cardboard show to the foot using pieces of  elastaplast.

If using pipecleaners then the pipe cleaner needs to be bent into the shape of a three pronged foot and then attached to the ducklings foot with a bandaid or elastaplast. Cut pieces of bandaid to attach the pipecleaners to the foot.

The temporary duckling shoe can be kept on for about 8 hours. Remove the shoe and see if the foot has straightened out. If need be the shoe can be refitted to help the duckling’s foot get better and allow it to stand properly.

I was recently asked what help could be given to a newly hatched duckling with a curled foot.

Some of the duck eggs hatched and one has a foot that is curled in a claw and won’t uncurl. I am quite worried. She limps around with some difficulties. What caused this? I am very worried, if she still has this problem when she grows up she’s going to end up as predator food. How should I treat this? HELP PLEASE!
Thanks,Jonathan

I will let you know how Jonathan got on with his duckling’s curled foot.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

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If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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