By D.C. Townsend
These treatments have been tested and proven effective. I developed them for peafowl but they may be used for any poultry. The key to success is to begin treatment promptly. In some cases delay will kill or cripple the chick.
Sometimes a peachick hatches with toes rolled into a fist. They may straighten out on their own in the first day of life. If they do not do so, I make a CHICK SHOE (see illustration below) from black pipe cleaner available in the crafts department at Wal-Mart. I use black ones because bright colors are more likely to be pecked by other peachicks. One packet of Westrim Crafts Chenille stems costs 89 cents and will last for years.
Any kind of half inch wide tape can be used to attach the CHICK SHOE to the toes, but I prefer Johnson and Johnson First Aid clear tape. I cut a piece a quarter inch long for the middle toe. I cut another piece the same length and split into two quarter inch-wide pieces for the other toes. Eight hours of treatment is usually enough time to end the problem on a day-old peachick.
In the 1995 hatch, I had a number of peachicks with a kink in the outer toe of one or both feet. They were well past a week old when I decided that I must do something about it. I made HALF SHOES of black pipe cleaner. I tore off a quarter inch-wide stripe of duck tape several inches long and secured the HALF SHOE to the middle and the outer toe. Several days of treatment were needed. Some of the HALF SHOES came off and had to be taped on again, but all treated peachicks had straight toes at the end of the treatment. There is a young peacock that I missed treating. Now it is too late and he will always have a kink in his outer toe.
This problem can occur even if you take the precaution of having quarter inch hardware cloth under your peachicks. Sometimes it is caused by the struggles of a chick with its toes rolled into fists.
In that case, both problems must be treated at the same time. I cut a piece of tape four or five inches long and from the HOBBLE BRACE with the legs far enough apart so that the peachick can walk. The tape must go the whole way around and cover its sticky side so that it does not stick to the peachick’s fuzz when it sits down. Usually 24 hours of treatment is sufficient, but sometimes more is required. CHICK SHOES and the HOBBLE BRACE can be used at the same time.
Achilles Tendon Out of the Groove
When the Achilles tendon slips out of the groove on the hock joint, a peachick will not be able to straighten its leg. The problem needs prompt attention because the struggling peachick will put its weight on the hock joint which will damage the skin and cause swelling in the joint. The tendon can be pushed back in place with just one finger or a very gentle squeeze between the thumb and index finger. Sometimes just one treatment will give a complete cure that seems like a miracle. Other times several treatments are needed. Stubborn cases require advanced treatment that is too difficult to explain here. I treated both legs of a peachick for two weeks; She grew up to be a healthy peahen.
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This article was originally published in the May/June issue of the Peacock Journal. All rights reserved. Used with permission.