Broody Silkie hen that is laying on her head. Can anyone help?


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 24, 2011
Ok. I am new to raising chickens. I got 9 silkies at the end of October. Now most of the hens are broody, including this one. I put her in a dog crate to isolate her while she sets. She seemed fine, but now she doesn't hold her head up very well. Her breast is laying on it. When I pick her up a little bit, her head goes even farther under her breast. I can't believe she can even breathe! She will pull it back out a bit when I put her back down. I don't hear any strange noises. No coughing or anything. She is on pine shavings in the garage. She doesn't eat or drink much at all, and I haven't seen any poops, which I know is typical in a brooding hen. I do have water down for her and scratch grains to keep her weight up while she sets. I am finding her off of some of her eggs a little bit as well, so I don't know if the peeps are even going to be viable. Anyway, is this some weird broody behavior, or do I have a problem? Any thoughts? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks for your time.
Have a look at this and see if you think it could be crookneck also called wry neck:
click on the left column where it says "crookneck" for the article

Silkies especially seem to be prone to it, and many have success at treating it with vitamins.

I have no experience with it, and thus cannot say if that is in fact what you have there.
Thank you so much for all of the advice! I put it to use and am happy to report some small progress. I shaved a little B vitamin and selenium tabs and put the powder into a syringe, and added water. I dosed with poly vi sol drops and also a little vitamin E oil. She perked up quite a bit with the water mixed with vitamins. She was terribly thirsty! I scrambled a little egg, which she also is pecking. It is so hard to know what behavior is from being broody and what is from the crook neck! Her head is not well controlled, but I am encouraged that there is hope for this baby after all! I am hoping that it was caught in time. The very timely advice from you much more experienced chicken folk may very well have saved the day.

Maybe I really can raise chickens!

I will report back as we progress. Thank you!!
Glad she is doing better. Scratch grains may not have enough balance nutrition. It is kind of like an oreo cookie- a wonderful yummy treat but not good for us to eat too many. Also a friend told me that silkies can have an intolerance to corn. Good luck with her
EDITED to add: please see the below post after this one, as I found something out.

Corn makes white silkies turn yellowish, is why silkie breeders stay away from corn. My silkies eat corn every day in their feed mix, and do great!

To the OP, I am happy that you are seeing some improvement in her happiness. If you would like further encouragement, use the BYC search bar to find other threads for wry neck, and see what people say about their silkie had it and got better, etc.

Last edited:
I apologize, Southern Bee Lady.

I have found an article that might explain why you heard what you heard. If you click on the left column under articles, and choose "corn and silkies" it mentions that if you feed a lot of corn there might be problems.

I am not worried, as I feed corn every day but not a lot. Thank you for the information.
Thank you everybody for all of your support. Our girl is hanging in there, without a lot of change. She eats with help (well cooked scrambled egg) and drinks from a syringe. She has a definite opinion about the taste of her vitamins! She doesn't have much head control. She was setting on 4 eggs, but 2 of them got cold and died, no doubt about it. The other 2 seem to be ok, but I will have to candle them again to be sure. I put the ones that died back under her (temporarily) to help her stay still, and put the live ones under another broody hen. I am glad I did, because I think she ate one of the eggs I put under her. Can't find it anywhere. She is such a mixed bag of behaviors...I am trying to understand what goes with being broody and what goes with having crook neck! One other thing I can add is that she had a normal broody hen style poo. Formed and stinky!
So, I think that's it for now. Thanks again for all of your help and advice. This would be most frightful without the support!

On a brighter note....We had 4 eggs hatch today!!!

Until next time.....

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom