chicken running backwards

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wanttobefarmer, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. wanttobefarmer

    wanttobefarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Elgin, TX
    I have 2 EE's that will put thier head down and run backwards (usually about 5 or six steps, or until they fall down) usually shaking thier head. This is not something that happens often most of the time they act like everyone else, and ony one seems to do it more than the other. They are both about 10 months old, I bought them from a breeder on byc and hatched them out myself. I first noticed it when they were about 3 months old. The first time it was very windy and I thought the wind was knocking one off balance and was tripping backwards. Then when they did it again I thought it was a sneeze and maybe chickens get allergies. It doesn't seem to affect them. One of them is my Roo's favorite and when she starts to do it, he runs over and kind of pecks her on the head and she quits. Anyway I was on byc today looking out the window at them free ranging and one did it. So I thought I'd ask. Thanks
  2. tinalibnania

    tinalibnania Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2011
    Ummmmmm, i am completely confuddeled by this one.....[​IMG]
  3. wanttobefarmer

    wanttobefarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Elgin, TX
    It's seems odd to me too, I think I am going to ask the breeder if he has any chickens that do this, assumming it is genetic. If I have time I am going to spend time trying to get it on video. Just curious if anyone else if familiar with this.
  4. Odesah

    Odesah New Egg

    Apr 23, 2012
    I am new to this forum...and saw your post about the chicken who ducks head and runs backwards. Did you find a solution? We have a Jersey Giant who is very young...probably only 5-8 weeks old who is doing this. We purchased her from a local farm and tractor store when she was only a week or so old. She's the only chicken who is behaving this way. I am not sure what to make of it, but it's very odd behavior. I just want to know if it's something she will grow out of, or if it's a possible disorder.
  5. ojoe

    ojoe Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 20, 2011
    check the linkage from her shifter to her transmission, sounds like it needs adjusting. lol. oh, sorry
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  6. blueberrychickens

    blueberrychickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 12, 2010
    Hudson, MA
    ^ lolol......[​IMG][​IMG]
  7. lust4life

    lust4life Out Of The Brooder

    JERSEY GIANT GIRL (8 weeks) Running Backwards/Head Tucked--- SEIZURES???

    Hi All--

    I know it's long after the original post, but after a long search about possible seizure disorders/twisted necks, etc. I came across this thread. It best describes the new behavior of our Jersey Giant pullet who is now 8 weeks old. She's in a great pen with her little flock of newbies, all different breeds, who are fine.
    We've raised several groups over the years and have it set up so they really thrive--but we have NEVER had the sort of problems with new chicks that we're having this go-round. (One died inexplicably, one arrived dead on shipment, one suffered a sour crop but we got her over that.) In the past we always got our new groups of 10 chicks who did well and lived to a ripe old age!)

    This Jersey Girl tucks her head between her legs, acts as though she's preening her breast or scratching in the bedding, but then it escalates into running backwards with her head tucked, sometimes falling over with one or both feet clenched. It looks to me like some type of seizure activity and I wonder with her being a Giant, if she needs supplemental calcium/vits since she's growing so fast? (I only say this because I know parrots well and seizures are common in breeds with low blood calcium levels.)

    This comes and goes; all day yesterday she was fine until the evening when she really got going. This morning she's at it again, with periods in between of looking (mostly) normal; eating and drinking. I've been giving her the Vit E as suggested, also a few drops of liquid Calcium, a bit of crushed B vitamin and Electrolyes. I will pick up the baby vitamins and Selenium today and see if that helps. She is quite thin compared to the others, but no evidence of wet droppings, nasal/ocular discharge, breathing issues and she appears to be eating quite well.

    At first I was worried it might be contagious, however this is a closed group kept in a building where they would not be exposed to outside pathogens, except on the lowest level. It really looks like some neurological problem...? Thoughts?

    They are on the same (non-medicated) commercial Du-Mor chick starter that we've used with all our chicks, along with chick grit, some free-range chick kibble, and slow exposure to soil/grass/rocks/bugs from outside to increase their resistance to whatever might be lurking out there.

    First stool check done by the vet at two weeks (precautionary) showed no parasites/coccidia/Giardia. Not to say that they couldn't have picked some up from the outside logs, but it shouldn't be a heavy load. They're not stressed, have a nice big brooder pen with a good heat light, as well as natural light during the day. They're at about 70-75 degrees during the day at this point.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

  8. TheRealHershey

    TheRealHershey New Egg

    Feb 21, 2014
    Joined just to reply to this... I have a week old Black Australorp that does exactly what other's above me have described. At first, I thought she was being attacked by the other chicks (different breeds), but after separating her from them for two days, and her escaping her box several times to rejoin the others, I've concluded that I probably just caught them at the wrong time... I think the others were just overly excited by her running backwards into the nearest corner and her feet not stopping for several seconds.

    Any updates about what this might be?
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Yes, what you are describing is neurological in origin. are these chicks on medicated feed? Amprolium is a Thiamine blocker, and with or without it, some chicks have this problem. This is one of several reasons that I choose not to use medicated feed. Do a thread search on Crazy chick disease, backward walking chick, or wry neck. The treatment is : Vitamin E, Selenium, and a good multi-vit: Either Nutri-drench (a product for poultry) or Poly-vi-sol without Iron. You'll have to do your own research and decide how best to treat them, since it's a "by the seat of your pants" method! PP stated that her JG was on Dumour non medicated. That's what my chick was on when I experienced this problem, however, I don't think you can lay the blame to the brand of food.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  10. teamtmo

    teamtmo Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 25, 2015
    Simi Valley, CA
    I just experienced this problem with my 3 week old Bielefelder chick. She is tucking her head in between her legs and looks like she's preening herself, then runs backward and trips and keeps her head between her legs and shakes it from side to side. Her stools seem normal and she goes back to normal behavior periodically. My husband and I are really concerned because her chest seems a little wet and she keeps running backwards into the water dish and we are afraid she could drown. We separated her from our other chicks that are two separate breeds. I bought the eggs that she and the other 2 chicks hatched from from my pet chicken dot com. I incubated them and they all hatched at 20 days. We have kept them on a mix of Du Mor medicated and non medicated feed mixed with chickie puffs (which we introduced to their diet at 2 weeks old). We are switching her on to non medicated chick starter now and going to give her chick electrolyte/probiotics. Please let us know if any of you experienced progress with your chicks too or if you know what could heal her. She seems to be in really bad shape and we don't know if we should take her to the vet.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by