Chicken sleeps on floor with head pointed up

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by unpixie, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. unpixie

    unpixie New Egg

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    Jun 22, 2016
    I've seen some questions about whole flocks not roosting but I didn't see anything related to a single chicken sleeping on the floor of the coop. I have 9 hens, 8 of them put themselves to bed every night by flying up to their roost. One hen (speckled sussex if that matters) sleeps on the floor with her head pointing straight up toward the ceiling. The first time we saw her doing this, we thought she had broken her neck (newbies!).

    It is a bit freaky to see her that way. Watching her go in for the night, she walks up the ramp with the other chickens but then she sticks her head in the air and (usually) backs up in that position until she runs into a wall of the coop. There she sleeps. If I pick her up and put her on the roost, she loses her balance because she tries to sleep with her head in this upward position. She will eventually settle on the roost but I don't know if she stays there all night.

    We added a shorter roost thinking that maybe she needed to jump from that to the higher roost (you can see it in the photo attached) but that didn't seem to help. She is our smallest hen.

    If this is just a behavioral issue, fine. Can it be corrected, should I worry or try to retrain her?
    If this is a symptom of some larger problem, what is it and what are my options.
    Do we just have a comical hen? I can live with that.

    She acts like a normal hen (eating, running with the others, dust baths, drinking, etc.) in every other respect.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    ![​IMG]
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    I believe it's called star gazing, it's caused by a vitamin deficiency, do search of this site for more information.
     
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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    ... or wry neck. Neurological condition.
     
  4. chickcrack

    chickcrack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with the other two people responding but I do find it odd that you only notice this behaviour at roost time. Does she ever seem to be holding her neck crooked? How old is she and has she always done this? I would start treatment for wry neck and see if she improves. Have a read thru this article:http://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/Crookneck/Crookneck.html

    I had a chick hatch with wry neck who pretty much recovered with vit B, E, selenium and polyvisol drops (without iron) however he is over 1 year old now and still doesn't perch to sleep. He can perch while awake but same as yours he sleeps with his beak pointing up and falls off. I wouldn't advise putting her on the roost like this since she could do damage falling or if nothing else scare the *%*! out of herself falling in the dark and in a dead sleep. Just make her a comfy spot on the floor where she won't get pooped on. Let us know what you think after researching wry neck a bit. Google for videos as well...there's different levels of severity. Hope you can figure this out.
     
  5. unpixie

    unpixie New Egg

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    Jun 22, 2016
    Ok, I'll stop putting her on the roost. There's enough room on the floor that she can sleep somewhere without being in the line of fire.

    I have seen her drink like this once. Their normal waterer is a bucket with the little metal valves on the bottom so they all drink with their heads up. During the hotter days, I was providing an additional waterer using the ground level chick waterer that I had retired when they moved to the coop. When she drank out of that chick waterer, she would intake water then put her head up and swallow, then reach down to get more water, then put her head up again to swallow. I only saw it the one time and it didn't occur to me till now that it might be related.

    I'll try the vitamin supplements. I gave them some sunflower meats today as a treat. I'll get some supplements for her as well.

    I've been reading some of the links on star gazing and it is similar to when you have symptoms and you look at WebMD. Either I have nothing or I'm dying. It's unnerving. I hope it's just a vitamin deficiency and correctable.

    Thanks all!
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    That is how all chickens drink, they need to lift their heads up to swallow, that is normal behavior and all chickens do it.
     
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    So most the time her head is in a normal position?......it only happens when she goes up to the roost?

    Were you searching on BYC or google in general?
    Try these underlined links:
    BYC advanced search>titles only> star gazing
    BYC advanced search>titles only> wry neck
     
  8. unpixie

    unpixie New Egg

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    Yes, she only does this when she goes in for the night to sleep. She's the only one of the chickens to do this and she acts normal the rest of the time.

    Thanks for the links!
     

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