We hatched 11 Scots Grey chicks on Thursday and Friday, but one had seriously splayed legs that meant it couldn’t move about to reach the chick crumbs and water. The solution was to use soft yarn hobbles to pull its legs together while still allowing it enough freedom to walk. Within an hour of putting the hobbles on, the chick had worked out that it could walk and was away.
As this chick had seriously splayed legs at both the hips and knees two sets of hobbles were needed. The first, above the knee, allow almost no sideways movement and keep its upper legs at their correct spacing. The second set of hobbles, just above the feet, have more play so the chick can walk while still preventing the legs from going sideways. Usually only the lower set of hobbles is needed. When using hobbles, it’s important to use soft yarn (or folded surgical tape if you know what you’re doing), to not use slip knots and to check the hobbles at least twice a day to ensure they’re not cutting into the legs. The splayed legs should have corrected within three or four days, after which the hobbles can be removed.