Epileptic Chicken?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Teila, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey folks, I would appreciate your thoughts.

    LuLu is a Frizzle Pekin [Bantam Cochin] who turns 3 in December.

    Back on 21st September this year, I posted the below in my local thread. I have since remembered that she had displayed similar symptoms but that was well over a year to 18 months beforehand and I had totally forgotten about it and again, just briefly and she fully recovered.

    LuLu gave us quite a scare last night and I would appreciate your thoughts.

    We heard chicken distress noises coming from the coop at around 08:30PM and, as you do, raced outside. Not that I think there is much chance of any of our local predators getting into the coop, you never know.

    Anyways, no predators, just LuLu in a pile of feathers on the coop floor; still breathing, thank gawd. So I picked her up and she was showing typical symptoms of stargazing [wry neck] .. head back, pulled into her feathers, looking skyward, lack of balance, disorientation etc.

    So I cuddled her for 30 minutes or so to keep her warm and talked softly to her. She came good, so we popped her back on the roost where we thought she would be happiest. Checked on her 30mins later and she was still there.

    Approximately 30 minutes after that, another noise from the coop and LuLu is back on the coop floor, same symptoms. So, again, I gave her a good cuddle and some reassurance and again, she came good but this time we popped her in the nest box. It was around 09:30PM.

    This morning she is absolutely fine, showing no symptoms whatsoever.

    Could the symptoms have been as a result of her falling off the roost initially? Or, could it be wry neck? Should I treat her for wry neck even though she now seems OK?

    At the recommendation of a friend, I started them all on a supplement [Anitone] once a week.

    I posted the below in my local thread today:

    So, I searched back and remember when LuLu gave us a scare and we were not sure if she fell off the roost which caused symptoms of head back, pulled into her feathers, lack of balance, disorientation etc or whether the symptoms caused her to fall off the roost; that was 21 September. If you remember, she did it a couple of times that night and we ended up putting her in the nest box to sleep. She was perfectly normal the next morning.

    That was when we started the Anitone and she has been fine up until last night.

    I was watching them go to roost and LuLu was looking up at the roost, getting ready to jump, her head went way back, she toppled over and flapped her wings a bit. Then she came good, tried to jump and totally misjudged it. So I picked her up and popped her on the roost. We watched her for a while and she seemed OK. However, later when hubby checked her, she was back on the coop floor, disorientated. He popped her in the nest box to sleep and this morning she is perfectly normal again.

    Having had an epileptic dog, this reminds me very much of epilepsy and while I could find lots of information on Google about chickens having seizures with not much definitive cause, no-one was actually calling it epilepsy. It is nearly 7 weeks since the last episode and she has been perfectly normal in between time. She is also the only one to have experienced this.

    Has anyone else had experience with chickens and seizures? Do you think she could have epilepsy?
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2016
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Flock Master

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    I'm sorry you're having trouble[​IMG]

    I'm not finding much on epilepsy in chickens, like you I find info about seizures.

    It's possible Epilepsy is what you are seeing. It does sound like a seizure, but of course, I'm not there to see it and probably would not know the difference between the two.

    Other possibilities would be ear infection - I'm sure you have given her a good once over, but check the ears. She could also be having "mini-strokes".

    I'm sorry, I wish I had better answers.


    Only "real reference" I have found on Epilepsy in chickens, but it looks like it occurred in young chicks:
  3. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Thank you for that Wyorp Rock I appreciate your input.

    Yep, she has had a good going over and nothing amiss.

    I have been discussing this in our local Aussie thread some more and will now start a record of the seizures if she has any more, see if I can pick up a pattern and also keep a record here on the thread for future reference.

    I have not totally ruled out anything that I am feeding them on a regular basis but I am doubtful they would be a trigger. They normally have the same breakfast each morning. For example, Tuesday morning is scrambled egg. Saturday morning is hamburgers [not the whole hamburger but a small amount of mince (ground beef) and some lettuce and tomato, no bread] etc.

    Other days are mixed up but basically the ingredients are the same and have been for years.

    The only thing out of the ordinary recently was a handful of dried meal worms hubby threw out for them so yep, they are off the menu.

    They do not get dried meal worms very often but unfortunately I was not keeping a record prior to this seizure and do not know if they had some around the time of the first one.

    I need more information to go on but that is a viscous circle in that the only way I am going to get that is if she has another seizure [​IMG]

    So far all I have is possibly dried meal worms and one was on a Tuesday evening and one on a Monday evening.

    So, to date the only thing concrete I have is evening.

    LuLu was being bullied by Crystal and that could be a trigger but unfortunately I can not remember if anyone was bullying her back in September. I have checked the egg spreadsheet and I did not have any broodies at that time who might have picked on her.

    Anyways, thanks again .. all I can do now is hope she does not have another one but if she does, see if I can detect a pattern.

    So, record for last seizure:

    Monday 7th November 2016

    Possible out of the ordinary triggers:
    Dried meal worms given on Sunday.
    Fireworks Sunday night [not likely as it would be a 24hour delayed reaction].
    Some bullying from Crystal.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Flock Master

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Sounds like a plan anyway.

    I will be looking for your updates, am interested if you can find a "common link".

    I really hope that she never has another one though[​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  5. Look up night terrors in Birds.....My Cockatiel has night terrors and falls of his perch too....Looks like he is having fits.......You could try a solar light that you charge during the day and place in the coop at night???

  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Hi. [​IMG]

    That sounds awful and frustrating. [​IMG]

    Are you feeding a regular chicken feed besides the burger and stuff that you mention?

    I doubt it's the meal worms. I would try them out since they've been eliminated with no episode for a while and see if one ensues.

    If epilepsy can occur in dogs and humans, why not chickens? Every time I saw the headline, I thought it said elyptical chicken. [​IMG]

    Best wishes finding a solution! [​IMG]
  7. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey chickens really, thank you, I am working on site today so no time but I will definitely look up night terrors in birds this evening.

    Thank you also EggSighted4Life yep, the treats I mention are just treats and while they have some each morning, not much. Their base diet is a coarse grain organic layer mix which has not changed, same brand etc and they have oyster shell in a separate container for when they feel they need it.

    She was fine all day yesterday and again last night at roost time. Bright as a button this morning also.

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