Chick Walks Backwards Only


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 8, 2011
I have a Standard female Columbian Wyandotte chick born 8/28/11. I ordered her online, along with 3 other chicks (who seem healthy). All 4 chicks were vaccinated for Mareks at 1 day old and all are female. I first noticed that the Wyandotte chick was wobbly as soon as she arrived in the post. Her crop always seems full but, she seems to forage for food with difficulty; as a result she is half the size of the 3 other chicks. She uses the other chicks or the wall of the brooder to hold herself up. I took her to the Vet when she was 2 days old. I was given a vitamin supplement to help increase her chances but was told there is not much else I can do. She also squawks loudly ALL the time unless held. Has anyone ever had experience with these symptoms? Could the Mareks vaccine have done this to her? Also, how many days does the Mareks virus shed after inocculation? In other words I'm wondering how long to keep the chicks separated from my 6 month bantams who, were never inoculated for Mareks?

are a couple of threads that might help.

When I hear about a chick walking backwards the first thing I think of to rule out is wry neck. You can do a search for it (also called crookneck). You didn't mention if the chick's neck is involved, but you did say that it needs to be propped up.
On the left, if you click on "crookneck," you can see the article.

Secondly, I would ensure that adequate grit is provided, chick size. This could be sand for new chicks, or size #1 cherrystone, then size #2 cherrystone grit for I think 4- 7 weeks, then size #3 for adults.

If they are just on ground rations (commercial chick starter) they don't need grit. But if your little one's crop is having trouble then I would make sure it is available.

For a sluggish crop, I might try a little bit of olive oil soaked bread bits (tiny tiny) and gentle crop massage (not to make the chick throw up though).

With regards to the Marek's Vaccine,
From this website see the following quote (and please read the website if you use this information as it might easily be taken out of context).

"MDV causes a persistent infection in chickens, and virulent MDV sheds from the birds for a long period after infection, which leads people to postulate that MDV antigens persist and maintain a high level immunity after vaccination and, thus, that revaccination is unnecessary."

In other words, I don't know how long it sheds and I found this article which may or may not be of assistance to you.
It's too early for Marek's. I think side effects from the vaccine should not last too long.
Make a mash from the chick feed and see if that helps her eat.

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