Encephalomalacia in an adult rooster / Vitamin E deficiency?

scratchkid

Hatching
Oct 1, 2020
7
0
3
My rooster seems to be showing all the signs of a vitamin E deficiency -- waving his head (earliest symptom), slightly wry neck (especially when moving his head down, i.e. to drink or eat), moving in an uncoordinated way (going in circles somewhat), getting lost from the others (not bullied at all). I figure it's a dietary issue since I've lagged behind in supplying them with the more nutritional mash I usually supply them with, giving them more scratch feed than I realize now that I should.

He isn't stumbling (other than when climbing or descending something), and he does get his beak to find its way to food by touch, but the odd thing is that none of the other chickens are showing any signs of any illness. My guess is that, since he has a kinder and more generous character than the others, he's been saving the food for the others in lieu of his own needs. Might be my imagination, though.

I've been trying to help this out a little before I'm able to buy more mash feed, trying to get him to eat a paste-like mix I've made out of ground sunflower seeds and water and a little Vitamin E oil supplements I had on hand. Besides anything I might be doing wrong, will he recover? Or is the damage already permanent?
 

scratchkid

Hatching
Oct 1, 2020
7
0
3
:welcome sorry for the problem. Is he responding to the vitamin supplementation?
He doesn't seem to be getting much worse, and he still looks superficially healthy, he's still uncoordinated and doesn't seem inclined to eat or drink (or fails to). I've hand fed him some water mixed with this vitamin-electrolyte powder for poultry, he only drank it since I dripped it in his panting open beak (it's very hot here). Not sure how to convince him to eat, or to guide him towards eating the food successfully when he wants to eat. He still crows, though, and loudly as usual.
 

Attachments

scratchkid

Hatching
Oct 1, 2020
7
0
3
Well its been a week and I see no improvement, I gave him a 400 IU vitamin E pill by squeezing the oil into his beak, and saw no signs of remission. Could it be some other deficiency? His head comb also has some vertical, thin scabs (not like the dots of pox).

Please help. I doubt he's been able to eat, even though he must be drinking water somehow.
 

Wyorp Rock

Hi Ya'll🙂
Premium Feather Member
Sep 20, 2015
32,648
44,221
1,262
Southern N.C. Mountains
My rooster seems to be showing all the signs of a vitamin E deficiency -- waving his head (earliest symptom), slightly wry neck (especially when moving his head down, i.e. to drink or eat), moving in an uncoordinated way (going in circles somewhat), getting lost from the others (not bullied at all). I figure it's a dietary issue since I've lagged behind in supplying them with the more nutritional mash I usually supply them with, giving them more scratch feed than I realize now that I should.

He isn't stumbling (other than when climbing or descending something), and he does get his beak to find its way to food by touch, but the odd thing is that none of the other chickens are showing any signs of any illness. My guess is that, since he has a kinder and more generous character than the others, he's been saving the food for the others in lieu of his own needs. Might be my imagination, though.

I've been trying to help this out a little before I'm able to buy more mash feed, trying to get him to eat a paste-like mix I've made out of ground sunflower seeds and water and a little Vitamin E oil supplements I had on hand. Besides anything I might be doing wrong, will he recover? Or is the damage already permanent?
he only drank it since I dripped it in his panting open beak
Well its been a week and I see no improvement, I gave him a 400 IU vitamin E pill by squeezing the oil into his beak, and saw no signs of remission. Could it be some other deficiency? His head comb also has some vertical, thin scabs (not like the dots of pox).

Please help. I doubt he's been able to eat, even though he must be drinking water somehow.
Please post some photos of your roost and his comb.

Where are you located in the world?

How is he housed, are there other roosters?

Have you been able to hand feed him and make sure he's getting hydrated daily?

Was he vaccinated for Marek's?

What do you normally feed?

How old is he?
 

scratchkid

Hatching
Oct 1, 2020
7
0
3
20201009_211718.jpg
20201009_211623.jpg


Taken just now, at 9:20 pm. I'm in Riverside County in southern California.

He's free roaming, as are my other chickens (and I have other roosters too, but none of my chickens are sick like him), though they always return to a coop to sleep in. Except him, right now, as he couldn't find his way back; he settled next to our chick incubator/box in a shed of ours.

I haven't hand fed him (nor do I know how to alone) nor ensured hydration. But he's getting by somehow, and he isn't especially lethargic, just uncoordinated as usual now.

I don't think my chickens are vaccinated, if vaccination for Mareks involves an injection at a vet. Though I really doubt this is Marek's; no grey or misshapen iris, and he can stand and walk fine. It's just where he goes and whether he can correctly direct his head that's a problem.

I normally feed my chickens a lay mash from Ace Hi Feeds, with some supplementation from occasional scratch feed (though not anymore, for their nutrition's sake).

He's about a year or two, not old at all.
 

Wyorp Rock

Hi Ya'll🙂
Premium Feather Member
Sep 20, 2015
32,648
44,221
1,262
Southern N.C. Mountains
slightly wry neck
moving in an uncoordinated way (going in circles somewhat)
getting lost from the others
isn't stumbling (other than when climbing or descending something), and he does get his beak to find its way to food by touch
he couldn't find his way back; he settled next to our chick incubator/box in a shed of ours.

I haven't hand fed him (nor do I know how to alone) nor ensured hydration. But he's getting by somehow, and he isn't especially lethargic, just uncoordinated as usual now.
Though I really doubt this is Marek's; no grey or misshapen iris, and he can stand and walk fine. It's just where he goes and whether he can correctly direct his head that's a problem.
He's about a year or two, not old at all.
He's got a lot of feather loss on the back of his neck, do you see the other grabbing him by the neck?
The scabs on his comb looks like they are from picking.

I would try caging him by himself for several days, provide him with feed and water. Continue the vitamin E and add 1/4 tablet B-Complex too.
Holding a cup of water to his beak and actually holding the feed bowl to him is hand feeding - so just see if he will eat well if he's caged.

I would monitor him and watch to see if he is able to see - you mention he finds feed by touch. Move your hand around his eyes and see how he reacts.
Marek's does not just affect the eyes, it affects the nerves, organs, etc. So it is a possibility even though he's older - birds can become symptomatic due to stress or an underlying condition that is bringing them down. (Wry Neck is a symptom - Marek's is a cause along with nutritional deficiency or injury)

Check him over for lice/mites and consider getting a fecal float for worms as well.
 

scratchkid

Hatching
Oct 1, 2020
7
0
3
Oh, he's a "turken", he naturally doesnt have neck feathers, as do most of my chickens. I've never seen the other chickens bully him either. But thanks for the recommendation on B-complex -- I suppose the oil of the vitamin E pill doesn't count as an unsaturated fat...?

He's also able to see when something is above him, if I wave my hand over him he readily notices it and tries to move out of the way.

Also, lifting his the feathers on his back with a flashlight, I see some occasional small dark red mites. Should I sprinkle diatomaceous earth over him...?
 

Wyorp Rock

Hi Ya'll🙂
Premium Feather Member
Sep 20, 2015
32,648
44,221
1,262
Southern N.C. Mountains
Oh, he's a "turken", he naturally doesnt have neck feathers, as do most of my chickens. I've never seen the other chickens bully him either. But thanks for the recommendation on B-complex -- I suppose the oil of the vitamin E pill doesn't count as an unsaturated fat...?

He's also able to see when something is above him, if I wave my hand over him he readily notices it and tries to move out of the way.

Also, lifting his the feathers on his back with a flashlight, I see some occasional small dark red mites. Should I sprinkle diatomaceous earth over him...?
Ah, I see! I would apply a bit of vaseline to his neck his skin is dry.

Not sure what you mean by E not counting as an unsaturated fat? If he's got Wry Neck, then B1 can also be helpful. B-Complex is the easiest way to give that. Vitamin E is fat soluble, so it stays in the body longer, so long term use should be avoided. Excess B vitamins are excreted in the urine.

If you are seeing mites on him, get a permethrin spray or dust to treat him, the other birds and housing. I'm sorry, but DE is not going to help with an active infestation.
 

scratchkid

Hatching
Oct 1, 2020
7
0
3
Ahh, thank you. Permethrin, got it. Also, I read that unsaturated fats are bad for chickens, right? I figured that since oils are unsaturated fat, the fish oil vitamin E pill might pose that risk.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom