Crooked toes sometimes occur at the time of hatching. It is important to do something about it as soon as possible, because within a few days it will be too late to do anything for it. Chicks that have been missed at hatching can go on to live a perfectly normal life, but they cannot be shown and will be harder to sell. All in all, it is much better to do something about it. There is not known to be any genetic pre-disposition to crooked toes, so chickens who had crooked toes can be used as breeders.
Chick with crooked toe on it's left foot
Note: chicks should never be kept on newspaper as this can cause straddle leg.
You have two options:1. Make a 'shoe'
This is done by bending craft pipe cleaners into either the 'full shoe' or 'half shoe' shape as necessary. Then use plaster (band aids) such as Johnson and Johnson First Aid Clear Tape to affix it to the chicks foot. Leave in place for around a week and then remove. The chick should be completely healed.
Full Shoe (Not to scale)
Half Show (Not to scale)
Diagrams courtesy of www.peafowl.org/
2. Band Aids (Plasters)
Straighten out the chicks toe and then wrap a plaster around it, so that it keeps the toe straight. Leave in place for a week, and then remove.
Photo courtesy of John Fox, Max Wilkinson and Feathersite