Button Quail w/ possible Wry Neck: Treatment & Progress

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Rozzie, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Rozzie

    Rozzie Songster

    Jul 14, 2010
    Edited to add: This will be long. I'll break it into three posts. I'm posting in case anyone else has a similar situation and would like to try something instead of culling automatically.

    I have a 3.5 week old button quail that suddenly started showing odd symptoms with head tilted forward, balance problems, extreme hyperactivity, running into things, etc.

    1. Hatched Sept 28 or 29
    2. Manna Pro starter, ground finely. Had started increasing size of particles. Quail waterers (fresh 2xs daily)
    3. Black reptile heat lights. Overhead florescent lights (daytime)
    4. Dry basement, no mold.
    5. Completely closed flock. No new birds. No visitors. I had not been anywhere around other poultry or domesticated birds. Had been to one farm store but took my normal biosecurity measures (different shoes, changed clothes, washed hands, etc.)

    Initial symptom - Thursday Morning
    1. Head tucked forward towards abdomen.
    2. Hyperactive - RUNNING excessively at high speeds. Ran into the sides of the tub constantly with head.
    3. Very active appetite. Paused running only for quick snatches of food and water.
    4. Forward head tucked position gave the appearance of nearsightedness or partial blindness, but ability to find small pieces of food contraindicated this.
    5. Drinking water occasionally in my presence.
    6. Poo - unobserved at this time.

    Note: Looking back at pictures, I see indications of neck starting to tuck a day or two earlier. I thought I'd just snapped a picture at an odd time.

    Progression - Thursday
    1. Increased forward tipped neck posture. Body balanced more horizontally to compensate.
    2. By evening, starting to lose balance and fall over. When balance was lost, would flail to try to regain standing position.
    3. After regaining balance would return to hyperactive state.
    5. Still running into things, eating, drinking, etc.

    Cooked and fed several quail eggs for protein and vitamin boost. The three birds ate every speck. It immediately began running hyperactively, eating, and drinking in the new box.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010

  2. Rozzie

    Rozzie Songster

    Jul 14, 2010
    Friday morning
    1. Chick was still alive.
    2. No clear improvement. No clear change.
    3. Since it was now alone, I was able to observe poo -- all seemed normal.
    5. Large appetite. Eating and drinking Manna Pro, boiled chopped egg. Drinking water.

    Treatment: Added Vita Sol avian vitamins to water. Debated culling but was not ready to take a permanent step yet.

    Friday afternoon
    1. Did not seem contagious. Siblings show no symptoms. No diarrhea or respiratory symptoms. Continued with same symptoms. Still eating/drinking very well. Still running into things & hyperactive.
    2. Moved her to the bird room where I could monitor/treat more easily.
    3. Began adding liquid vitamins to mashed egg. Increased amount in water.

    Friday evening:
    1. Substituted unflavored Pedialyte (children's electrolytes) for water. Treated electrolyte solution with vitamin drops. Continued to add vitamin drops to eggs.
    2. Moved to larger box since she was no worse.
    2. Removed heat lamp & increased overall room temp to 75-77 degrees.
    3. By late evening bird is still running around like a crazy bird BUT is not running into things so much. Tipping over is still occurring. Drinking and eating with gusto.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  3. Rozzie

    Rozzie Songster

    Jul 14, 2010
    Today, Saturday!

    Greatly improved little bird this morning.

    1. No longer running hyperactively.
    2. No longer running into things. No longer losing her balance -- staying on her feet 100%.
    3. Still eating & drinking with a huge appetite.
    4. Stance is improved - body is less tipped forward but head is still in tucked position. Might not be as severe but that might be wishful thinking.

    Continuing with electrolytes w/ VitaSol & eggs w/ Vitasol, plus Manna Pro, free choice. Temp is in the 70s, totally draft free situation (aviary room). Added nest of dried grass so she could hide in it if desired for a sense of security. She's actually able to move about this without falling.
    I went ahead and put a "nest" of dried grass in the corner for her so she can feel more secure. I actually saw her "jump over" a few sprigs of grass at one point and land with perfect balance.

    Hoping she's on the road to recovery.

    There is, of course, no guarantee that she'll survive or continue to heal. However, I'm glad I didn't cull her.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  4. kingmt

    kingmt Songster

    May 1, 2009
    Mason WV
    I had a Coturnix hatchling like this from being stuck in a shell for to long. I let him go because I figured he would be fine for eating. I did not separate him from the others so he got rough treatment from the others. After a few weeks the only way to tell him from the others was that he was the biggest. He tasted great also.
  5. Rozzie

    Rozzie Songster

    Jul 14, 2010
    Thanks, kingmt. I know someone posted pictures on another thread of a couple of hatchlings with similar neck curl & rolling over. If this had been a young chick, I'd figure it might be something like that, too. At over 3 weeks, though, it had to be something else. The only things I could come up with were:

    Botulism - but other symptoms didn't fit
    Neurological damage (possible injury?) - still a possibility
    Concussion - not likely with the crazy running around. This should result in slower activity, not hyper behavior.
    Deficiency or imbalance - seems likely since the electrolyte / protein boost / vitamin treatment is helping
    Disease - not likely as the hatchmates were unaffected
    Genetic issue - possible. Perhaps a difficulty absorbing some nutrient or another.
    Tumor - still possible though nothing is visible. There may have been a bit of swelling on the neck, but this seemed likely to be from running into stuff like it was doing the first day.


    Little bird is doing quite well now. It is acting normally. The only obvious abnormality at this time is that it's head is still tucked forward some. It's body posture is fully normal other than that. It's back to sitting and walking with it's body held at the right angle. It has full mobility and hasn't lost it's balance since the day before yesterday. It is even able to tunnel through its dried grass, hop over small obstructions (into a jar lid to eat or over grass it decides not to walk on). It's able to groom itself, including standing on one foot while using the other to push a piece of dry grass away from its face.

    I'm going to continue with the electrolytes w/ vitamins for another day or two, then switch gradually back to water with vitamins. I'm also going to continue with one boiled egg a day for a while then decrease the frequency it gets those (it ate 2.5 boiled button quail eggs yesterday!). Otherwise, we're in wait and watch mode.

    Oh, and it's a boy! Last night it was crowing. It hadn't done that before. In fact, it's the first of all the babies to do so, at least when I'm around to hear. I imagine he's a bit lonely so when the adults started crowing he had to join in...

  6. Rozzie

    Rozzie Songster

    Jul 14, 2010
    Just an update...

    My little lucky chick is doing well now. He runs around and acts just like a normal chick. It still has a slightly bent neck but it's possible it's always had this and that I didn't notice it. I "do" know that one egg was slightly smaller than the others. Perhaps it was this one.

    Either way, going from head tucked all the way under the belly, hyper crazy, running into things & losing balance (then flailing about) to this is nothing short of miraculous.

    The little one should have a normal life. I have decided that I will continue to give this one supplemental vitamins all winter, though, at least a few times a week.
  7. Stellar

    Stellar The Quail Lady

    Feb 6, 2010
    Tampa Bay
    I am glad your little chick is doing well. I have a poor gosling I saved from the feedstore. It's feet is noodle like. Gave it poli vi sol and the legs are stronger but the poor thing is like a gymnast [​IMG] It will be 5 weeks old now just started standing up because I have been doing extensive physical therapy. Yesterday the little baby is running. It's a surviver and definately my pet but oh boy all the work you put in to save some one [​IMG] Kudos to you!
  8. Robo

    Robo Songster

    Jul 15, 2010
    I had a quail chick hat had huge legs. His legs were almost twice as long as his body. The people who I bougfht the eggs from had inbread their quail. They haven't even heard of bloodlines. I ended up putting toothpicks on his legs so that he could stand. Now he lives in a rabbit cage on my porch, and I named him Legs. The things we'll do for theese little things.
  9. Rozzie

    Rozzie Songster

    Jul 14, 2010
    Just an update...

    She now looks and acts like any other button quail. The turn around really was amazing. This is why I'm slow to cull.

    I'm certain it was a vitamin shortage or a potassium imbalance. Perhaps one bag of feed was older than others or something and had degraded nutritionally.

    No one else ever showed any signs / symptoms.

    Just to be on the safe side, I won't hatch any of her eggs when she starts laying.

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