Bullied, beaten, starved and frozen!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Moonwalker, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. Moonwalker

    Moonwalker Songster

    Jan 9, 2008
    Washburn, MO
    I am new to this group. I found it while looking for help for this poor critter.
    It is a white silkie and I am not even sure if it is a hen or rooster.vI haven't really examined it closely, not wanting to stress it and possibly injure it if it struggles as weak as it is ( I just call it he for now) I work at a riding stable and the owner picked up several assorted exotic type chickens at an auction. We've had them for a month or so in a pen in the (unheated) barn. I came in on Friday morning, it was 10F and one of the silkies was lying on it's side, away from the heat lamp, gasping. I picked it up and the breastbone was like a knife blade! I figure that one of the larger roosters had been keeping it from eating and drinking and the heat. I gave it some warm water with a syringe, put it in a bucket with a towel and left it in the closet next to the water heater in the office. When we finished saddling I checked on it, fully expecting it to have died.(I figured I could at least make it comfortable) I was really surprised when I checked! It was actually holding it head up, so I gave it more water, with a little sugar in it and it was trying to stand in the afternoon so I took it home. I stopped at the feed store to see what they had in the way of antibiotics and electrolytes. I found Terramycin powder but the only thing they had with electrolytes was something called Advance Arrest, which is a nutritional supplement with electrolytes made for calves, foals etc. I figured it was so far gone it couldn't hurt. I force fed a couple of syringes full and he started slurping it up. I also gave him SQ injections of saline to help with hydration. The next few days I kept expecting him to be gone every time I woke up or came home from work, but he's hanging in there and has even started to eat on his own. The main problem now is that I think he has some sort of brain damage. He seems to have a dent in his head right where the beak joins the head on one side (no wound, just a dent) and his head twitches and he flops over backwards occasionally. The flopping has gotten less often, but he seems to have some vision trouble on that side although the eye looks normal. It takes him a second to find the bowl once I put it in front of him. He has started walking around the cage which has a towel in the bottom, but I think I'll get some of the rubber shelf liner stuff to help his footing tomorrow. He seems to be pooping on a regualr basis, although the urates are a bit dry (I am going to do another round of SQ saline tonite)
    I guess what I am asking is if you have had any birds with those kind of neurological symptoms and if you think it might get better and any other care/support advice you might have.
    I know this is kind of long-winded, but I wanted to get all the info in and the fact I think this little guy is a fighter and really doesn't want to give up.
    Please feel free to email me.
  2. cherndon712

    cherndon712 Songster

    Jan 1, 2008
    [​IMG] That is so sad! I don't have much for advice, aside from keeping him hydrated and eating! I can send my good wishes your way!! Keep us updated!!
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. Moonwalker

    Moonwalker Songster

    Jan 9, 2008
    Washburn, MO
    Thanks Crystal!
    I don't know much about chickens, although I have nursed a couple with what I think was pneumonia that are doing ok now. We have quite a few assorted chickens at the stable, they are all free range except for the newest batch bought at the auction and chicks from the incubator. We have Rhode Island Reds, Black sex-link, White and Black Silkies, domineckers, Buff Orpingtons, some sort of banty that look like mini Buffs with feathered feet, and some kind of crested ones that are black with white heads and a strange little black and gold banty with no tail! Most of them are just running around loose so we have some VERY interesting color patterns appearing! A few of them are tame enough to handle or will come eat out of my hand. I am really the only one who works there that does more with the chickens than throw out scratch and fill water containers. The owner wants to eventually sell free range eggs, so we keep hatching chicks in the incubator. I figure I should learn some more about them so I can take better care of them.
  4. RedStickLA

    RedStickLA Songster

    Feb 27, 2007
    South Louisiana
    Hi Suzi,
    Not sure if this is what your silkie has but it may help...

    I have this information saved in my notes on chicken care; it is for Limber Neck or aka Crookneck in Silkies. The information came from someone else. I have not tried it; I just saved it in case I ever have this problem. I have read where others have had success with this treatment.

    The information states that; It is unclear what causes crookneck. American Silkie Bantam Club members suggest water on the brain, vitamin E deficiency, and injury to the brain that is outside the skull and forms the knob on the top of Silkie's heads.

    So if it is a brain injury, this may help? I am going to email it to you because it is kind of long. I hope you are able to save him!
    Good Luck,
  5. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Songster

    May 4, 2007
    I'm sorry about the little guy and I hope he makes it. This does sound like crookneck to me. Silkies are very vulnerable to brain injuries, as well, as their skull is not complete.
    The cold shouldn't have bothered him, but the fact that you can feel his sternum, he probably wasn't eating enough to keep himself warm either. Do you know what they were being fed? Maybe they weren't getting enough of the right food?
  6. fallenweeble

    fallenweeble Songster

    Dec 4, 2007
    wow, what an awesome chicken nurse you are!
    great job on getting this little one through.
    i'm a chicken newbie and so i can't offer any help or advice, i just wanted to say how impressed i am that you did so much for this bird.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2008
  7. jeaucamom

    jeaucamom Songster

    Oct 1, 2007
    Ophir, CA
    Do a search on here for crooked neck or wry neck or even silkie neck and you will find ample information. I seem to remember several people have good luck with Vit E liquid from capsules. Gosh, I hope your little chick pulls through. Keep us updated!! Suz
  8. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Welcome!! You'll find a great group of chicken people here!

    As others have mentioned, silkies are prone to neurological injuries due to the fact that their skull has an open spot in the back (like a soft spot in human babies) so a peck in that area can cause some brain injury.

    The best things you are already doing - separate away from the others, comfort and supportive care like feed/water, electrolytes, etc. Vitamins are also suggested - as others have posted as well.

    I had a silkie chick (young - like 2 wks) have a similar issue and she made a full recovery.

    Your chicken may or may not recover - only time will tell, but your care will only help this chick have a fighting chance! Of course he may live a good long time with the issues he's got as well and have a reasonable quality of life. As long as he can find the food and water and keep himself fed, and does not appear to be in any pain per-se, then I'd give him the chance...
  9. cherndon712

    cherndon712 Songster

    Jan 1, 2008
    I'm just glad to see someone that really cares! Apparently no one else was even checking on the poor things!! Hope it pulls through!
  10. Moonwalker

    Moonwalker Songster

    Jan 9, 2008
    Washburn, MO
    I have a lot of experience with many kinds of animals, but not chickens! By trial and error I have managed to save a couple that have been injured and had pneumonia simply by using basic, elemental nursing and common sense. (Have you ever seen a chicken in a cage with a towel smeared in VICK'S over it?) Even with antibiotics, the poor thing was so congested, so.... It worked, she's now running around and laying steadily.
    Back to the silkie: I gave it a bath today (searched the net for info on HOW TO)and am pretty sure it's a hen. No spurs, just the extra toes and no comb of any kind. I had initially put her in a cage with shavings, which got stuck to her because of the feeding formula. I got my first really good look at her. I could find no wounds, just what looks like a dent on one side of her face/head where the beak ends. I don't know if this is an old injury or it happened when this started. It doesn't match the other side, so I am assuming it is not normal. It doesn't have any wound, or swelling.
    She is not flopping as much, more like loses her balance and rocks back on her butt, doesn't go completely over anymore. She eats eagerly and poops what I think is an appropriate amount and frequency compared to the amount she eats, although it's a bit drier than I'd like. I repeated the SQ saline to help hydration. I stopped the antibiotics yesterday, so that may help as well.
    I will start putting crushed vitamin B complex in her food today and I will get Vitamin E when I go to town later.
    I think I will try a couple of vitamin laced force feedings to make sure she has a nice full crop because I think she gets tired easily and doesn't fill up. She will eat for a while, then take a nap and then eat again. I have checked and you can barely feel a lump in her crop. Although I can still feel little if any change in her keelbone, she does seem to be a bit heavier (no scale available, of course)
    I am going to give this little fighter every chance I can, since she is trying so hard to survive. If she does, I will either keep her or find a home where she'll be a pampered pet.

    Thanks again!


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