chick with swollen mushy head


May 13, 2015
Hi. One of my chicks( just hatched today & is a turken) has a swollen mushy head. It feels as if it had air or water in the back of the head. Hes also very weak compared to the rest of the chicks and he cant hold his head up or walk. We had to seperate him from the rest since the hen could step on him bc shes already walking w/ the chicks. Does anyone know what this might be? Thank you
Welcome to BYC. There is something called subcutaneous emphysema (also called windpuff or a leaking air sac) that can be caused by an injury or from infection. I wouldn't know if that is what your chick has or not, but there are many air sacs throughout the body. Your chick may have been injured during hatch. There also is a virus called swollen head syndrome that can affect turkeys and chickens, but I'm not sure that newly hatched chicks can suffer from that. I would feed the chick Poultry Nutri-Drench 1 ml by mouth daily, or another vitamin and electrolyte solution, such as SaveAChick.
I have seen this in newly hatched chicks and poults. It is often but not always fatal due to the effects. Does the neck feel a bit stiff as well as not straight when held out?

I have no idea what causes it, but if you place the chick in the center of a rolled up, coiled up hand towel with the neck draped over the towel roll, and it makes it to 3 days, then it has a chance. By then you will be able to tell if it can lift its head or not.

I think I've only had one or two survive this condition. It may be directly or indirectly from overly high humidity, my foam incubator was knocked and the water in the troughs soaked the foam drawer liner and paper towels under the eggs and two chicks had this issue. None before, none since.
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I have a chick that has developed a swollen head here are some photos has anyone seen anything like this. Is it bad. I don't want to loose all my chickens.


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