I had been settled in tonight for a good 10-15 minutes when one of the silver penciled bantam cochin cockerels (3 weeks old?) started having a fit. At first I thought he was having a severe itching episode (he's sprouting feathers)--he had his head tucked down almost between his legs, was moving it around (looked sort of like urgent preening), and was backpedalling rapidly through the brooder mowing down smaller chicks. I grabbed him up and his head was kind of curli-Q'ed along side the base of his neck and he kept moving it like he was using his head to rub his neck frantically, switching sides occasionally and still trying to move backwards. I tried rubbing his neck for him, felt the crop for abnormalities, checked for mites...finally figured out that he wasn't itchy at all...this behavior was involuntary. He had been fine!
So I'm holding him, scrambling to find my ipad to do a search. Took his temp because he felt warm--provoked two normal droppings while taking it--it was 107F, but that's still normal range for a chicken so at least he wasn't cooking his brain with a continuous seizure. Found the ipad, took him back down and put him in a small cardboard box while I was typng into the search engine...and 10 seconds later he snapped out of it. Stood up normally and started distress peeping because he was alone. I cautiously put him back in the brooder and he slowly walked over to the feeder and started gobbling down dinner like nothing had happened.
So, anyone have an idea? They've been on a probiotic/vitamin supplement for the past 3 days because of the new chicks I got this week...just switched back to plain water tonight. I'll be reading up on the various causes of seizures or torticollosis for sure, but if anyone has extra insight...I thought for sure I was going to end up in the animal ER tonight. Thank goodness he stopped.