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Valgus Leg Deformity

Other Names: Twisted Leg, Angular Bone Deformity

Valgus leg deformity is a type of leg deformity causing twisting of the legs and long bone distortion. It usually occurs in young chicks between 2 to 7 weeks of age. It most often occurs in both legs.

Chickens affected by this deformity are more at risk of developing a slipped tendon or leg fracture, due to the increased pressure placed on the deformed leg. In one study, 60% of birds affected with severe valgus developed slipped tendon. Once this occurs, the chicken may be physically incapable of getting up from its abnormal, twisted leg-like position. Without intervention, these chickens will eventually starve to death from inability to reach water or food, or from getting trampled to death by other flock members.

Clinical Signs

Legs deviating away or inward from the chicken's body
Abnormal leg stance
Reluctance to move


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Radiographs

Reported Cases

  • Case 1: Angular limb deformity in a Flamingo Three hand-raised American flamingo chicks and one hand-raised Chilean flamingo developed valgus angular limb deformities of the proximal tarsometatarsal bone. All flamingos underwent surgical correction to unequally retard the growth plate using transphyseal bridging. Positive profile pins were placed in the proximal epiphysis and distal to the growth plate in the metaphysis on the convex side of the affected tarsometatarsus. Various banding techniques were used in each flamingo to create tension. Three of the four flamingos responded in 7-14 days with correction or slight overcorrection of the valgus limb deformity. The fourth flamingo's leg deformity did not improve for reasons thought to be related to improper implant placement. Growth plate retardation by transphyseal bridging proved successful in correcting valgus limb deformity of the proximal tarsometatarsus. This technique may be considered as an option for correction of angular limb deformities of the proximal tarsometatarsus in flamingos less than 90-120 days of age. Ref


Supportive careProvide a therapeutic support device, such as a sling, chicken wheelchair, etc. to help take some of the pressure off of their legs.
SurgeryIn some cases corrective osteotomy may be beneficial.



  • Feed a low energy feed. Do NOT feed a 'grower' feed.
  • Encourage exercise (the condition worsens with reduced activity).

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Large, fast-growing meat chicken breeds
  • Receiving an unbalanced diet
  • Receiving a high protein, high energy diet