18 wk pullet suddenly has a crooked neck! Photos added


10 Years
Feb 16, 2009
She was fine yesterday. What could cause a 18+ week old to suddenly develop a crooked neck?

I've read about paratyphoid but isn't she a little old?
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This sounds a lot like wry neck, which is caused by a neurological irritation. You'll need to make sure she is still able to eat and drink.

Vitamin E is effective for use in neurological healing and sometimes in helping a vitamin E deficiency, which could be the cause of this case of wry-neck (guessing without any more information). You could try supplementing her with a capsule a day until you see improvement. If it's something else, it will not hurt to have the additional E for healing.

Hopefully some others will chime in in the mean time.
Thanks for the advice.

I have some vitamin E oil that I will mix with her food; I think it's food grade. I think she is having trouble drinking (not sure about eating yet) because I gave her some water mixed with some bird vitamins and apple cider and she lapped it up, but not at first. I noticed she can't hold her head up to swallow her water but she seemed to do okay from a resting position.

How do they get a deficiency from eating a commercial feed?

ETA: I did a search on "wry neck" and found this link from last month. This is a bird from McMurray and I did have them all vacinated for Mareks and Cocci. The link also mentions she may have been stomped by a larger roo but she's a Jersey Giant, although not huge like one of my others, she is very sturdy.

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Commercial feeds are the best way to get a full spectrum of vitamins to birds and I always recommend that at least 90% of a bird's diet be a complete feed (pellet preferred, or crumble). But unfortunately, not all feedstores keep their feed in the kind of conditions to keep the vitamins effective - and sometimes the lack of turnaround in feed means we take a less-than-fresh bag home.

Some of the most important vitamins for avian health are oil based: A, D, E. They usually are able to stay pretty effective in a fresh bag of feed, stored in cool conditions, sold within 6 weeks, fed quickly. But that's not always the case of how feed goes. Add to that the fact that many people feed crumbles, which have a high surface to air ration, making it easier for the vitamins to degrade. So unfortunately the most necessary vitamins from feed sometimes degrade.

Because "vitamin packages" in feed are dry based, not oil, the actual absorbtion and effectiveness of the chemically produced A, D, and E often suffer. Those vitamins are really dependant upon oils and fats to be used by our birds. And sometimes birds, under stress, have an increased need for them.

So sometimes (particularly during stress or illness) we need to 'spot' supplement vitamins.

When you do so, using an oil-based source (a capsule, wheat germ oil used in moderation, etc) is the best way to do it.

Vitamin A is very important for avian respiratory health and ocular health. Unfortunately it's a very unstable vitamin and often the first to go. Vitamin D is a requirement for calcium absorbtion, but again because it's often exposed to light in our feeding conditions, and heat, etc it can sometimes be deficient. (Also to absorb calcium appropriately, birds require sunlight to transform the vitamin D into D3 which is the specific vitamin D for calcium absorbtion.) Vitamin E is immensely important to the function of the immune and neurological system. Again, it's oil based - it requires fats and oils to be absorbed correctly.

The thing with oil vitamins tho is, because the animal doesn't pass them as they do water-based vitamins, you must not overdose. For that reason using beta carotene is the best choice for vitamin A. But wheat germ oil, a non-chemically produced form of the vitamins, is also a good choice for the barn as it contains A, D, and E and is natural. I used this on my show flock and breeding birds at a rate of one ounce for about a gallon of feed - mixed well. I did it only when they were breeding, molting, or in the stress of showing. Otherwise I just do it once a month to make sure that the birds are keeping up with their necessary vitamins.

Hope this helps.
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Thanks for this great info.

We do use Dumor starter/grower pellets and since Tractor Supply is usually out I'm sure I am getting it within days of being delievered to them.

I will get some Wheat Germ Oil and dose the pellets a few times a week for the whole flock.

If my girl does't straighten out in the next week, should I put her back with the flock anyway? She can walk just fine and she did bend her head down to eat off the floor last night so she has enough movement for that....
I'd just give her a couple of days because of the possility of bullying and her not being able to eat. If you do, watch her - monitor her weight daily. Make sure she's staying hydrated.

You know, if you use the wheat germ, you can put it in a sprayer and spray it on the food. that way it spreads evenly instead of soaking into a few pellets. I just used to drizzle it on while stirring the food vigorously with a plastic spoon. But I think I'll do the sprayer myself next time.
Hi! The RIR with the crooked neck is ours. It happened suddenly, and we watched her closely for any signs of a progressive disease. Nothing ever transpired. We did the vitamins and all that and it didn't work. I don't know what happened to her! She is doing fine. She eats, drinks, and keeps up with everyone else. She is growing and looks healthy other than having a very crooked neck. She doesn't act like she is in any pain at all. We were thinking of culling her, but she is a pet and we couldn't bring ourselves to do it when she seems fine otherwise. We definitely won't let any of her eggs hatch in case it is genetic.

Other than that, we monitor her weight, and check her over a lot. We have since changed her name to Igor because she looks just like that when she walks.

So, other than an update on how she is doing now, I can't really offer any advice. I don't know what to say, except to try the vitamins and nutritional stuff to see if it will work for you. Definitely separate until you are sure it isn't some disease. Check out the symptoms for botulism as well.

Here are the photos I mentioned earlier. I took them from different angles because it's really hard to tell on a black bird. I think I mentioned before she's a Jersey Giant.

My husband and I both think she looks better today. I've been giving her chicken massages around the base of her skull and she really likes it. I guess her poor little neck is sore from being stuck in that position!

We re beginning to think that dang Welsummer roo might have hurt her. He is just learning to...um, you know...and he grabs the girls and mashes them down hard and if they try to get away he DRAGS them by their necks! I thought my husband was going to punt him this evening.

Oh, and I had no idea that humans get wry neck too!

Here's Gypsy:


Gypsy is beautiful....bless her little heart! I am sure she really appreciates the chicken massages! (too bad, you can't teach the Welsummer ROO how to perform gentle chicken massages)

My silkie has a tilt to the left side (I have posted) but not like Gypsy. Hopefully you can continue to give the Polyvisol/Vitamin E and she will continue to progress! I will keep my fingers crossed and say a prayer for her!

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