Why do Baby Chickens Stretch Their Legs and Wings?

It is pretty easy to know when your baby chicks stretch their legs and wings. Stretching wings and legs may seem like a standard behavior in baby chicks. However, baby chicks can spread their wings and legs due to various factors.

Your baby chicks, for instance, could be stretching their legs and wings in the summer due to hot temperatures.

Is It Normal for Chicks to Stretch Their Legs?

Yes, it is pretty normal for baby chicks to spread their wings, especially when basking in the sun. However, your baby chicks shouldn’t stretch their legs for extended durations. It could be because the chicks live in an overcrowded brooder if they do.

Wrong temperatures during incubation can also make your chicks stretch out their legs a couple of weeks after hatching. It is also normal for baby chicks to stretch their legs if they live on slick floors, which makes them lose their footing while walking.

Baby chicks with splayed legs also spread their legs frequently. Splayed legs can make your chicks unable to walk. Rather than walking, the chicks will scoot around the brooder on their bellies.

Baby chicks with splayed legs may appear sick because they are uncomfortable and need great effort to move around. Luckily, you can correct splayed legs, although you need to fix the problem promptly lest your chicks will be unable to stand and walk to eat and drink water, putting them at a high risk of starvation.

It is easy to stop your baby chicks from stretching their legs because of splaying. First, provide traction for your baby chicks’ tiny feet. Also, ensure your baby chicks aren’t walking on rough floor or dry newspaper since their legs will feel uncomfortable, prompting your chicks to spread their legs to relieve the discomfort in their legs.

Ensure your chicks aren’t living in an overcrowded brooder since overcrowding makes them spread their legs as they look for space. If you are incubating baby chicks, make sure you have the correct incubation temperatures lest your chicks develop a condition that will make them spread their legs after hatching.

Is It Normal for Chicks to Stretch One Wing?

It is perfectly normal for baby chicks to spread out one wing when lying down or standing. Your baby chicks will usually spread one of their wings if it is too hot and they want to cool down. However, stretching one wing is sometimes not normal because it could indicate that your baby chick could be having an injury on one of its wings.

Therefore, scrutinize the wing to establish if your baby chick has injured its wing. Some baby chicks also stretch their wings because of a persistent parasite infection under their wings.

Other Interesting Things Baby Chickens Do

Baby chicks can do many interesting things apart from stretching out their wings and legs. Some of these things might not seem normal, although perfectly normal. Below are the other five interesting things baby chicks do.

– Baby chicks dream while sleeping

Baby chicks have a rapid eye movement (REM) sleeping phase like other birds, mammals, and humans. This phase of sleeping signifies dreaming, whereby baby chicks have vivid dreams.

Baby chicks also have another sleep pattern that we humans lack, known as unihemispheric slow-wave sleep (USWS), whereby half of your chicks’ brain is sleeping although the other half is fully awake.

Baby chicks can sleep while opening one of their eyes, an adaptation technique that allows baby chicks to keep an eye on predators while sleeping. Dreaming baby chicks can act as if they are chasing after something while sleeping.

– Baby chicks boast fantastic memories, and they can recognize more than 100 faces

Everyone with backyard baby chicks can concur that their chicks can recognize them and every family member. Despite being too little and fragile, baby chicks boast more incredible memories than adult chickens.

Baby chicks can identify different types of sounds. Baby chicks can also identify other animals, including cats and dogs. Baby chicks can remember other flock members and places even after growing to fully grown adult chickens.

Even after many months, your baby chicks will still recognize you, your family members, and other animals they see every day. Most importantly, they can recognize predators that could be attempting to attack them.

– Baby chicks have sophisticated communication with particular meanings

Baby chicks possess different vocalizations, with each vocalization carrying a specific meaning. Baby chicks alert each other of danger, using distinct vocalizations to warn other chickens of predators.

Baby chicks can even communicate with their mothers when they are in the eggs waiting to hatch. In this case, baby chicks will communicate with their mothers using soft purrs.

– Baby chicks can understand object permanence

If you take away an object or hide away that object from your baby chicks, your chicks will still comprehend that object exists. Baby chicks as young as three days old can easily understand object permanence.

The case is different in humans since human babies don’t develop object permanence until they are around six months old. Not many creatures have this skill at all.

– Baby chicks can detect color much better than humans

Although most of us think that chickens and baby chicks are colorblind and have poor vision, baby chicks have excellent color vision. Therefore, your baby chicks can detect color much better than you do.

Their eyes are awesomely strong, and they have multiple light receptors, which enable these birds to see various colors in any part of their retina. Baby chicks develop color vision within the first weeks after hatching. They can even detect color from a distance and attach meaning to each color they see.


Baby chicks don’t seem to cease amusing us. They keep doing things that we can’t explain. From spreading legs to stretching out their wings, baby chicks can do several things that will leave us wondering why they are doing that. Furthermore, baby chicks are pretty extraordinary since they do many interesting things that we humans can’t fathom.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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