Chick Heart attack/seizure/idk?!?


6 Years
Sep 17, 2013
Hi everyone,
I am new to the forum and also raising chickens.

My husband and I originally started with three chicks- rhode island reds- one has survived (a hen) and she is now outdoors in her pen and almost egg laying age.

We just received 5 more about 6 weeks ago (roughly). I suspected one had Marek's from research and the splayed legs but it seemed after a couple weeks that 2 more developed the same issue. I think it was a bullying/overcrowding issue.

As of this morning we were down to 3 with one very dominant. I had one of the weaklings separated because it just overcame the splayed legs.

I woke up to find the other chick in with the bully with a splayed leg... Assuming it was from the bully chick I put it in its own container with fresh bedding and food to recooperate.

Well I was out there changing water and such and I heard a strange peep and looked into its container and it seemed to be having a seizure or heart attack! It's splayed leg went out straight behind it, it was very rigid and slightly shaking, wide eyed! It died right there. I am still recovering.

What happened to my chick?! Is this a sign of something more than bullying and something genetic? I have no idea but now I am worried the splayed leg may be more than just the bully chick.

Someone help please
Last edited:
Can you get pictures?
Honestly I have no idea what it is at the moment but if you go to your feed store (or wherever you got your chick crumb etc.) and ask them for some suppliments for the chicks then that might help. You don't get splayed leg from bullying and from my experience it's usually because chicks are on a plastic or hard gripless floor which can make them twist their legs out. You can find treatment to splayed leg here:
And I don't see why you have such a high morality rate either, maybe you should look around the chicks environment and make sure you aren't giving them pine/cedar shavings or something (they give off phenols and acids that are toxic and damage a chicks respiritory system) and other such things.
Good luck

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