Chick with a neck/foot problem

plute

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 25, 2014
4
1
9
Hi guys!

Sorry to do the classic 'make an account and immediately ask a question' but I desperately need some advice!

I was charged with watching over an incubator of eggs for the weekend, a local primary school are hatching them but no one could keep an eye on them from now until Monday. Of course the chicks have hatched today (which I'm actually thrilled about!!). Ten have hatched so far and nine are tiny balls of fluff exploring the brooder and basking under the heat lamp. However, one seems to have some kind of problem with his/her neck. She really seems to struggle with keeping balanced and will slowly tip her neck back, almost rotating it, until she falls fully onto her back and lies there chirping loudly until either another chick bumbles past and knocks her on her feet, or I carefully tip her back over. However it's a matter of minutes before she tips over backwards again. It's definitely some sort of neck thing, and I'm not sure if it's neurological, but does anyone have any ideas as to how I can help? She must be absolutely exhausted but clearly is too uncomfortable to sleep on her back. If I cup her in my hands so her neck is supported and can't swing backwards she falls asleep in my hands immediately, but I'm nervous about keeping her away from the rest of the chicks and the heat lamp.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I'm so tempted to take her out and cup her in my arms and let her sleep but so far I'm resisting the urge. Any advice/pointers would be great!

Thank you in advance!
 
Last edited:

red horse ranch

Crowing
6 Years
Jan 24, 2014
2,130
2,302
362
Buffalo Wyoming
Hi guys!

Sorry to do the classic 'make an account and immediately ask a question' but I desperately need some advice!

I was charged with watching over an incubator of eggs for the weekend, a local primary school are hatching them but no one could keep an eye on them from now until Monday. Of course the chicks have hatched today (which I'm actually thrilled about!!). Ten have hatched so far and nine are tiny balls of fluff exploring the brooder and basking under the heat lamp. However, one seems to have some kind of problem with his/her neck. She really seems to struggle with keeping balanced and will slowly tip her neck back, almost rotating it, until she falls fully onto her back and lies there chirping loudly until either another chick bumbles past and knocks her on her feet, or I carefully tip her back over. However it's a matter of minutes before she tips over backwards again. It's definitely some sort of neck thing, and I'm not sure if it's neurological, but does anyone have any ideas as to how I can help? She must be absolutely exhausted but clearly is too uncomfortable to sleep on her back. If I cup her in my hands so her neck is supported and can't swing backwards she falls asleep in my hands immediately, but I'm nervous about keeping her away from the rest of the chicks and the heat lamp.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I'm so tempted to take her out and cup her in my arms and let her sleep but so far I'm resisting the urge. Any advice/pointers would be great!

Thank you in advance!
It won't hurt the chick at all to be held. I let a lot of newbies sleep next to my neck under my hair when I am watching TV.
But it does sound like the chick has a serious problem. I had one like that several years ago. I kept hoping it would get better but it was obviously in a lot of pain after a few days. So reluctantly I put it down. I know this is not a decision for you to make at this time tho.
It may be a totally different problem than what my chick had. So don't be afraid to let it cuddle with you and hope that it gets better.

By the way.............
 

plute

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 25, 2014
4
1
9
Thank you for your quick reply! Now that the lights are off, s/he seems to have fallen asleep wedged between two of the other chicks so I'm going to keep an eye on her for the next couple of hours, but if it keeps happening I'll let her fall asleep in my hands. Will she be warm enough? Or should I maybe cup her with my hands resting over a hot water bottle (wrapped in a thick towel, obviously)?
Sorry, I'm totally new to this!
 

red horse ranch

Crowing
6 Years
Jan 24, 2014
2,130
2,302
362
Buffalo Wyoming
Thank you for your quick reply! Now that the lights are off, s/he seems to have fallen asleep wedged between two of the other chicks so I'm going to keep an eye on her for the next couple of hours, but if it keeps happening I'll let her fall asleep in my hands. Will she be warm enough? Or should I maybe cup her with my hands resting over a hot water bottle (wrapped in a thick towel, obviously)?
Sorry, I'm totally new to this!
If you have warm hands the chick will be fine. My hands are usually cold so it works better to have them sleeping next to my neck.
I was thinking about this and the action you describe as jerking her neck backwards. I think this would also be the muscle that causes a chick to pip. Maybe it's just a temporary short circuit in the muscle that will go away. We can always hope!
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,616
26,806
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Plute: My recommendation is to get some Poultry Nutri-Drench into this chick. Problems with neck control are often related to vitamin deficiencies. All of the chicks would benefit from some Nutri-Drench in their water, and you can try to get a drop or 2 straight from the bottle into the chick. This product is absorbed directly into the blood stream, so the chick benefits from it immediately. I've seen it bring one of my chicks back from a comatose state.
 

plute

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 25, 2014
4
1
9
Hi all!

Good news - with some TLC and a good night's sleep it seems the chick is making a miraculous recovery! She hasn't swung her neck backwards or fallen over once since I got up this morning, and is eating and drinking well with the others. Her foot is a little curled up but it doesn't seem to be giving her too much trouble.

Now we are off out on the hunt for some Nutri-Drench just to be on the safe side!
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,616
26,806
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Plute: That foot is definitely going to need some orthotics! You can do a thread search to find out how to make a little shoe to straighten out the toes. You may be able to correct the problem if you treat it right away. Good luck to you with your little chick. I'm glad it's doing better.
 
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