Odd Health Conditions: Chicken with Curled Toes



Being an urban chicken consultant means encountering a lot of unusual chicken health conditions. I recently heard from James and Sarah. Their pullet Ruby had an odd condition: the toes were curled up on one of her feet, and Ruby was having trouble walking.

“She couldn’t put any weight on her feet. Whenever she tried to walk and put pressure on that foot, she would sort of slip and fall,” James told me. He had tried Googling her symptoms but was unable to find information on her exact condition.

I realized that Ruby was suffering from curled toe paralysis, a condition that is caused by a vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) deficiency. The treatment: vitamin B2 drops and a splint for the affected area. James isolated her from the other hens and gave her a few drops every day.

“It took her about 3 weeks to a month to recover, but she’s healed,” James reports. “She’s walking normally and her foot doesn’t bother her at all.”

James offers kudos for Home to Roost: “Jen’s service was great. Seeing how she handled hens gave us more confidence to help Ruby out. Jen was able to tell us what was wrong and what our options would be. This is our first time keeping chickens, and having her help and knowledge was really useful!”

Here is a lovely “after” photo of Ruby, with toes uncurled!


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Edith Bray-Menezes on December 14, 2021 at 11:32 am

    My chicken has a similar thing how did you splint the foot?


    • I placed wooden popsicle sticks along the underside of the lengths of the toes, being careful to prevent splinter, and carefully wrapped with gauze/vet wrap. It’s important not to reduce circulation to the toes.


      • Posted by abiganali on September 7, 2022 at 5:53 pm

        How long did you splint her leg for? Did you keep the point on even while she slept? My 5 month old is having the same issue.

  2. Posted by Kazumi on November 25, 2022 at 8:15 am

    A picture of the splint would be nice.


    • I’m sorry I didn’t get one. I believe I padded the toes and then used popsicle sticks running down each to to straighten them out. Then more padding and some medical tape or vet wrap. If you try this, make sure that the circulation to the toes is not cut off or reduced. If they look puffy or red, take off the splints/wrap immediately.


  3. Posted by Rachel on January 2, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    How old was Ruby when you started her treatment? One of my 12 week old pullets has that on one foot, she is the only one too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: