There are 4 known causes of crooked toes in chicks. Chicks get crooked toes at an early age, usually when they are a couple of weeks old. They will be walking on the sides of their toes.
Note, this is different to Curled Toes in Chickens where the toes curl under and they will be walking on the tops of their toes / nails. If you can identify the cause of crooked toes in your chicks, then you may still be able to use them for breeding. If it is hereditary then it is not advisable to breed from them because you will be introducing the fault to future generations.
There is little or no research on these conditions and there are different thoughts to the reasons for crooked toes.
Species affected: Chickens – from week old chicks upwards.
Other Names: Bent toes
Symptoms: A chick with crooked toes will walk on the sides of its feet.
Area affected: Toes
Causes: Either: a) Genetic / hereditary. b) Floor of the brooder is too cold. c) Wire floors used for rearing. d) Incorrect incubation – temperature incorrect or humidity too low .
Transmission: Genetic, applies to specific breeds and strains.
Diagnosis: Toes curl to the left or right and the bird walks on the sides of the toes.
Prevention: a) Selection of breeding stock if genetic. b) Keep the brooder floor at the correct temperature. c) Don’t use wire floors for rearing. d) Ensure incubation temperature and humidity is correct.
Treatment: Correct causes above for future breeding. No treatment of this condition known.