Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Chicken Physical Therapy

Well, I had to do something.  As a nurse practitioner with a specialty in rehabilitation, I had to try.  So, last night after the bedtime routines were finished and the kids went to bed, I fetched Percy Peepers from the brooder.  I found it not under Dolly like the rest of the them.  Instead, it was sleeping next to the heat lamp.

Here I am, my toes are all straight!

Waking from it’s sleep, I brought it inside to the TV room where my husband was watching the Tar Heels.  I first assessed it walking on the carpet.  In the afternoon, I had removed the splint from its’ foot.  The toes are now nice and straight.  Still, hobbling around, Percy seemed stronger and a bit faster.  Next, I moved onto range of motion.  I first took the strong leg and found out what was normal flexibility for a chicken’s leg.  Then I went over to the affected leg.  A scab remains on the back of the knee.  The leg is now stiff.  Slowly, I gently extended the knee past the area of restriction.  Over a period of several repititions, the knee started to relax and gain better range.  Then we practiced proprioception, knowing where your foot is in space and time.  Gently, as I supported Percy’s weight, I helped to support, place and guide Percy to stand correctly on two feet.  Between repetitions, we rested.  We worked for about 20 minutes together.  Finally, when we finished, I gave Percy Peepers some love.

As I laid on the couch, Percy climbed into the crook of my neck between my chin and chest.  The chick quickly fell asleep.  I even heard what I think was a pleasure trill.  A half hour passed, and I decided to return Percy to its’ family.  I brought Percy over to Dolly.  All of the other chicks were still sleeping underneath of her.  I guided Percy to Dolly’s breast feathers and Percy quickly scuttled underneath of Dolly.

Photo credit:  Tilly’s Nest

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