Chicken Seems to be having seizures?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BeckiinVA, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. BeckiinVA

    BeckiinVA Chirping

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    This is my first flock to raise from chicks. I have always had adult birds. These are 21 week old Barred Plymouth Rocks. Everyone has been very healthy up until this evening, when I went up to close the chicken house door for the night. One hen is craning her neck over her back as if she is going to preen that area, then all of a sudden she will jump up in the air a few times, then end up on her side flopping on the floor. She cackles during this, and it seems to be happening every few seconds to a couple of minutes apart. It only lasts for a few seconds each time. I also observed her walking backward unsteadily after one of these episodes. Between episodes, she either stands very still or slowly walks around. She seems to be very disoriented in between episodes.This is the smallest bird in the flock, but she has been from day one. She doesn't appear to have lost any weight, and this just started today. None of the other chickens, so far, are exhibiting any out of ordinary behavior.

    From what I've read, it idoesn't quite sound like wry neck to me. We had a deep snow and they have been in the chicken house for 3 days now. I go up and open their door for them every morning and lure them out for a bit with scratch grains in the afternoon, but they all go right back in when they clean that up. Our roo is very amorous and has been pestering the ladies even more, out of boredom. Some sort of strange reaction from (possibly) being over bred?

    They have been eating Dumor brand organic layer crumble and a bit of scratch in the afternoon late, since it has been so cold. They get fresh water daily, and I have been putting apple cider vinegar in it from day 1, a couple times a week.

    Their house is the top story of a 2 story root cellar. It is a very old building, so has lots of ventilation. I keep straw on the floor for them and in the nest boxes.

    Any ideas?? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    It sounds like a neurological symptom, possibly similar to wry neck symptoms, but may well be seizure activity. It might be related to being mated and a head or neck injury, vitamin deficiency, or it could be related to heredity or a disease, such as Mareks or others. I have read of chickens here in the past who have suffered from seizures fairly often. Wry neck can include odd or twisted neck movements, walking backwards and in circles. A video posted to YouTube with a link posted here would be interesting to see.

    It sounds like they are getting more scratch than they need. The layer feed should be at least 90% of their diet. I use scratch sometimes to coax my chickens in or out, but it needs to be restricted. ACV is not required for healthy chickens. I would try some vitamins on her for awhile just in case it is a vitamin deficiency. Give her a chicken multivitamin that has thiamine (vitamin B1) and also a 400 IU vitamin E capsule daily. If you don’t have the chicken multivitamin, you may use 1/4 to 1/2 tablet of vitamin B complex crushed onto the food or a treat.
     
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  3. BeckiinVA

    BeckiinVA Chirping

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    Thanks for the reply. They only get a small amount of scratch in the afternoon late, before it gets so cold at night. They have access to their complete layer feed 24/7, and until this snow, free range all day every day until they go to roost in the evening. Granted, there isn't a lot out there for them this time of year, but these guys are champion foragers. :) Unless she just hasn't been eating, I don't see how she could be vitamin deficient. She doesn't appear to have lost any weight, so she is eating. I can certainly try the vitamins though.

    I give them the ACV because it is full of vitamins, minerals and trace elements that are good for the chickens. I'm a firm believer that healthy chickens can be helped to stay that way with a bit of ACV. :)

    So far, there isn't any paralysis, comb discoloration/collapse or changes in eye color so at this point, I'm thinking (and praying) it isn't Marek's.

    Thanks again for your reply. I appreciate it very much. :)
     
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  4. BeckiinVA

    BeckiinVA Chirping

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    UPDATE: As of this morning, the hen seemed perfectly fine. I checked on her/them several times today, taking time to stand and watch for a while to be sure. It's like nothing ever happened. All of the other chickens are fine, too. Just SO tired of being stuck in the house/yard. Hoping all this snow melts soon so they can get back to foraging!

    I guess Mr. Cogburn just paid her far more attention than she could tolerate. Hoping he eases up and she stays ok.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    That is really great news, and I hope that she continues to be alright.
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    In my experience, what you are describing is almost certainly Marek's, even down to the sudden and miraculous recovery. The confinement due to weather and sexual harassment from the rooster are two of the prime triggers for an outbreak of Marek's. I'm guessing he is the same age and is therefore technically an adolescent cockerel..... the very worst type of rooster.... because those raging hormones are torment for the whole flock.

    Time will tell as to whether I am right or not, but do whatever you can to keep the stress levels low. That may include penning the cockerel separately depending on your priorities..... mine are always towards my ladies, first and foremost, as they earn their keep. Cockerels are superfluous and ten a penny.... you usually can't give them away and not that great at warning of danger because their hormones are more likely to distract them and if the girls are trying to get out of his way instead of stay under his protection, he is not going to benefit them.
     
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  7. BeckiinVA

    BeckiinVA Chirping

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    Yes, he's the same age and relentlessly hormonal! We still have snow all over, although it is VERY slowly melting. They are still sticking to the indoors by choice. The ladies are all perching wherever they can to avoid him and are even having to grab a "bite to eat" then run off when he comes for them. Surprisingly, one of the hens has started laying even with all this stress. She blessed us with an egg Mon, Wed and Friday, and I suspect she will gift us another tomorrow if she doesn't stress out.

    When I went up to close the door this evening, not much has changed. He does almost nothing but mount a hen, get off, then mount another. When they all manage to get up out of his way, he crows continually. I'm trying to figure out a way to keep them separate until the ground clears and they are willing to venture out. There's enough room in the chicken house to do that, I just need my husband to do the heavy work (I'm disabled) and he is working 2nd shift and has very few hours in the morning to get things done. We'll figure something out, though. I don't want to cull him if I don't have to, since prior to this weather event, he was doing a decent job (for a young cockerel) of minding the flock. He's obviously bored being stuck in the coop. That said, if he continues to behave as he has this week once they are back out and free ranging, I have NO problem putting him in the freezer or the soup pot.

    So far, everyone is remaining symptom free, but they are ALL getting skittish. Praying for sunshine, higher temps, and a good outcome for everyone.

    Thanks, Rebrascora
     
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  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    Do you have a large dog crate or kennel? Those come in so handy. He can be caged right inside the coop if there is room, have his food/water and still see the girls.

    Another option is get the hubby to use chicken wire and section off a corner of the coop?
     
  9. MissChick@dee

    [email protected] ~ Dreaming Of Springtime ~

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    Yes crate or pen him.
     
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  10. BeckiinVA

    BeckiinVA Chirping

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    I plan to have the hubby section off part of the coop. Thanks so much!
     

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