BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Raising Baby Chicks › Well, that was alarming!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Well, that was alarming!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My evening routine is to go down to the brooder room when it's time to "tuck the chickies in"--I make sure they have fresh water, top off their trough with fermented feed if necessary, and settle down on my bucket to watch them for a while. Not only do I enjoy it, but it also lets me get to know personalities, handle the brave ones who fly up to the brooder door, and most importantly watch for signs of illness or injury.

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.
post #2 of 5

I can only relate my own experience. I had an eighteen month old SLW rooster who had a violent seizure one morning while still on his perch. He thrust himself forward and downward, gripping his perch with his feet for all he was worth, while violently flapping his wings, which accompanies death throes, by the way.


In a panic I grabbed him off his perch and kind of shook him. He snapped out of it, and he was fine from then on. Six months later, I found him dead under his perch one morning. I concluded he had genetic heart issues. It's not uncommon in hatchery chicks.


By the way, you can tell a chicken is running a high fever when you see a cherry red comb wattles, and face. It also signals over-heating.

post #3 of 5
Could be the beginning of wry neck. I have had three different cases of wry neck in my own flock. Head twisted neck down circle walking walking backwards doing flips seizures all indicate wry neck. It's sounds like it's just beginning. Mine were even doing summersaults. It can be very alarming. But most cases can be cured. Treatment includes poultry vitamin B , children's liquid vitamin poly visol without iron, small amount of selenium ( large amounts can be toxic ) human vitamin E capsules, and in severe cases the steroid prednisone . The treatment takes about 4 full weeks. Sometimes they need help eating and drinking but with treatment, love and patience they can be cured to normal. Sounds like it's just beginning in your bird. Do not be alarmed if in the next week his head and neck gets stuck in a very awkward position,also small seizures are part of it. Hope this helps.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
I don't think it's a vitamin deficiency, although there are certainly other causes of wry neck (torticollosis) that I'm looking into. All the chicks are given 3 days of vitamin supplementation when they first he just finished a second course (for the new chicks) thanks to his feathering in so slowly as a male (all but one other in his chick group have been moved outside already).

He's acting completely normal today so far. idunno.gif
post #5 of 5
A peck in the head can cause brain swelling = wry neck. Wry neck is NOT a disease but a SYMPTOM of a underlying issue. With my personal experiences with wry neck ( and I've had a LOT).. I'd say if he isn't in full blown wry neck in the next two weeks then your probably out of the woods concerning wry neck. But I've watched it come on in different ways and different birds and signs can be subtle or apparent like with your bird. I hope he does well an it does not get into full wry neck. But keep a close watch on him and start treatment when you feel necessary. I used prednisone with all my cases and had very good luck with that but it can be hard on the system. Is it possible he got pecked in the head?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Raising Baby Chicks
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Raising Baby Chicks › Well, that was alarming!