Chick w/ Weird Neck Movements- trouble breathing? Please Help!

Hufflefluff

Songster
Apr 28, 2015
183
284
172
Northeast CO
Hello!
This is our LF Self Blue Cochin chick. She's about two weeks old. She had a little bit of a cough last week, but we really cleaned out and expanded to brooder and switched to less dusty food and it seemed to have gotten a lot better. Today, though, she's been doing this. What's wrong with her? How can I help?
Here's what I know:
  • She did not have this issue last night, but it's been going on at least since I first checked up on them this morning (almost three hours ago)
  • She is the smallest and lightest of the chicks, just behind our polish, although she has been eating or drinking normally
  • She has not eaten or drank, so far as I've seen, this morning. She has spent her time underneath the Mama Heating Pad, and will sit complacently in my hand if I pick her up
  • They were on electrolyte water for the first few days, but no longer are. Should I add it back in?
  • No other chicks are experiencing her symptoms
  • Her head tilting back thing seems pretty regular; has not sped up or slowed down over the course of the morning (as far as I can tell)
  • I tried tilting her head down a little to see if she has something stuck in her throat, but it didn't help.
Any advice or ideas would be very much appreciated. We've already had one of these chicks die (unrelated), and this one's a favorite. Thank you so much.
 

staceyj

Enabler
Jan 1, 2017
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Coastal NC
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Feel her crop. Is there anything at all in there?

I would try to get some electrolytes into her right away.if you’re out you can add a little sugar to her water. There’s a recipe on here somewhere to make homemade electrolytes.
Try the beak dip method. If that doesn’t work hold her and try to get some in her a drop at a time by putting a drop on the top of her beak and letting it roll down. Don’t squirt it in her mouth. You don’t want her to aspirate.
Baby vitamins if you have it some on hand, wouldn’t hurt her either.
 

Hufflefluff

Songster
Apr 28, 2015
183
284
172
Northeast CO
Feel her crop. Is there anything at all in there?

I would try to get some electrolytes into her right away.if you’re out you can add a little sugar to her water. There’s a recipe on here somewhere to make homemade electrolytes.
Try the beak dip method. If that doesn’t work hold her and try to get some in her a drop at a time by putting a drop on the top of her beak and letting it roll down. Don’t squirt it in her mouth. You don’t want her to aspirate.
Baby vitamins if you have it some on hand, wouldn’t hurt her either.

There's nothing at all in her crop. That's something else I thought was weird.

Thank you so much for the advice. I have some probiotic/ electrolyte mix I got from the feed store, so I'll whip some up right away. I don't have any baby vitamins, but if electrolytes don't help I'll look into getting some. Thank you so much for your quick response.
 

Natanya

Songster
Aug 2, 2017
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107
That looks like a respiratory infection. Chicks do indeed gasp like that when they're having trouble breathing. In a quiet place hold her side against your ear, what do you hear? If you hear crackling in synch with the pattern of her breathing she's definitely got a lower respiratory infection. Some crackling sounds are to be expected from her digestive system, but these won't match her breathing patterns. Respiratory infections are common in baby birds. Supportive care is the best you can do. Remove her from any dusty environment, loose bedding can be a huge source of dust. I don't know what bedding you have her on now, but I suggest housing her on a towel for the time being. Make sure she's plenty warm without being too hot, a multivitamin supplement in her water, away from other chicks who might trample her, such as in a separate enclosure or a small container in the main chick enclosure- be careful that the temperature in the smaller container is appropriate- but with at least one companion chick to fend off the stress of loneliness. Preferably a calm chick who's a little bit smaller than her, but any chick near the same size that's not too rowdy will do.

If she's not eating prepare to force feed her, or let her go. You'll have to learn some bird anatomy to force feed safely, but it's not hard. I use syringes between 1-3ml in size, depending on the chick's size, and gently slide it down their esophagus to ensure the food goes in their crop and there's no chance of aspiration. There's a risk of injury to the throat doing this. Make sure to be extra cautious and gentle, and that the baby's neck is straight and relatively relaxed. If the baby struggles back out and let her gather herself.
 

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