It might be your first time hatching peachicks, or your 10th time, but eventually you might be faced with having to help a peachick that has crooked toes. Generally crooked toes seem to be caused by the peachick taking too long to hatch. Crooked toes can also be seen in chicks that had to be helped out of the egg. While some might go by "survival of the fittest" several peafowl breeders, myself included, believe that because we cannot replicate the way a peahen incubates and hatches eggs, it is our duty to help peachicks the best we can.
Making Shoes to Fix Crooked Toes
First, you get a plastic top to something like a cool whip container. Place the peachick on the plastic top and straighten its feet out on the top. Then get a marker and trace around the peachick's feet to get the shape of the shoes. Now, cut out the shape. Get some tape that will be gentle on the peachick's toes. I recommend using thin masking tape. Once again, get the peachick and put its foot on one of the shoes making sure all of the toes are straight. If you are unsure about how the feet are supposed to look, google bird feet to see how to correctly position the toes. Tape each toe down individually onto the plastic shoe. The only toe you do not tape down is the back toe. Repeat this with the other foot (if the peachick has crooked toes on the other foot). Finally, the plastic shoes will be a bit slippery. You need to have small felt stickers that are used on furniture and you should stick 3 of them on the bottom of each shoe. That way, your peachick won't be slipping around. This is crucial that the peachick has traction because if it doesn't, it could get even more problems.
Keep an eye on the peachick to make sure it doesn't jump in the water dish with its shoes on because then the shoes might fall off and you will have to put them back on all over again.
The Crazy Time Consuming Method
After reading the title, you probably are not going to use this method! The first peachick I hatched out had to be helped out. His toes were curled and so for an hour or more after he hatched I messed with his feet bending them and holding the toes out the correct way, just trying to fix them by hand. This method takes a long time. My boyfriend, after hatching his first peachick, also used this method to straighten the toes. In my boyfriend's case, he hatched his peachick at night and had to stay up all night messing with its feet to get the toes straight so this method can be tiring. Compared to the first method, this method is very very hands on and the peachick will probably form a bond with you after you have been spending such constant contact with it. This method is to be used very soon after the peachick has hatched when the toes are still soft. Every now and then take a break and let the peachick rest. Also, take breaks to let it try to stand and walk to see if the toes are fixed yet and see which ones still might need some work. Eventually the toes will be nice and straight. That first peachick I hatched is now and adult, and you can't tell the difference between his feet and another peafowl's feet so this method works so long as you keep at it.
Why bother fixing their toes? Well, if you were born with messed up toes that curved under your foot and would prevent you from walking well, wouldn't you want someone to fix your toes? I know I would! My boyfriend was born with a clubbed foot. I know he is happy that his parents got him the surgery he needed early on in life. There is nothing more beautiful than a regal peacock, or a proud peahen. Why would you want to take away from that beauty by not fixing their toes? Messed up toes surely must be a hindrance when it comes to perching, running, or even walking. Also, birds with crooked toes usually go for less money and can be hard to sell. So why would you put a peafowl through this when it is very simple to fix their feet on day one? Anyways, I hope you choose to fix your peachick's feet as soon as possible weather you want to do it the hard way, or the easy way!