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Flock Twitching Their Heads

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TC_BokBok, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. TC_BokBok

    TC_BokBok In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    Traverse City, MI
    I've been pouring over these forums for what might be the cause of this but my Urban Flock of 5 hens has been twitching their heads this summer since moving out into their coop. They're 19 weeks old and have been in their coop for a little over 2 months. During this time they developed this little habit of twitching their heads frequently. After digging around I came to the conclusion that it might be Gapeworm but looking at all the other symptoms that people mention for Gapeworm and all the other things I've found online they just don't match up to my flock.

    Twitching heads although not violently.
    Neck stretching and open mouth yawning although not very often. (I've always considered this crop adjustment or just yawning really.)

    Symptoms they DON'T have:
    No raspy breathing.
    No lethargic behavior.
    No runny eyes.
    No sneezing.
    No weight loss.
    No strange foamy poo.
    No signs of mites, lice, or other parasites and no issues with my dog who is out in the yard daily as well in this regard.

    I live in Northern Michigan and it has been a hot and humid summer but we're maintaining mid-80's right now with a decent amount of humidity this summer.

    They look and appear to be perfectly normal 19 week old hens. In fact one laid her 1st egg today and another appears to be close behind.
    Check out this video. This is not my chicken but happens to be exactly what they're doing.

    So before I go down a de-worming route on 19 week old hens can anyone chime in with what might be going on here. Thank you all on your comments and suggestions for my little girls.

  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I watched the youtube video and I dont think it's gapeworm. Possibly ear mites? I'm not sure. To check for gapeworm, get a Q-tip and very gently stick it 1 inch down the throat,gently swab the throat and gently pull it out. If you see a red in color "Y" shaped worm on the Q-tip...it's gapeworm. Ear mites are a different story...type "ear mites" in the search box and see what comes up, I havnt dealt with them. Ivermectin will kill gapeworm and some mites and lice, not sure about ear mites though...if that what it is. Good luck.
  3. vpeterson

    vpeterson Songster

    What kind of birds do you have. My silkies twitch like that and I think that it is because they can't see very well. I have heard that the twitching can be poultry lice so you may want to dust them and see if that helps. My twitch just as much now as they did before I dusted them though.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I hear lots of back ground noise in your video. I know that if loud cars go by, police sirens, or even my dad making owl sounds at the birds will cause the entire flock to head twitch just like that until the sound goes away that is itching their ear.

    Just a thought.
  5. RedRoosterFarm

    RedRoosterFarm **LOVE MY SERAMAS**

    Mar 25, 2010
    Eatonville, Washington
    I have a few different breeds that do that. My black Copper Maran roo has done it for 2 years now and is healthy as can be. I have had other birds in the past do it too. Maybe ear mites?
  6. Camelot Farms

    Camelot Farms Chickenista

    My BO roo does this all day long...no gapeworm
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Mine sometimes do that as they are falling asleep on the roost. It's not always something serious. If you do check for mites and find none, probably nothing.

  8. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    Hmm MIne have been doing that for a long time but they have nothing else going on--My Dh thought I was insane smelling chicken mouths! LOL...but they are treated with ivermectin pour on 4x a year now and no other symptoms of illness-so I assume its just twitching??
  9. TC_BokBok

    TC_BokBok In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    Traverse City, MI
    Thanks for the replies. I thought my flock was listed in my signature line but let me re-post just in case.
    1 - Easter Egger / 2 - Australorps / 2 - SL Wyandottes

    The video link I posted is not my own chicken. It just happens to be a chicken doing the exact same behavior that my urban flock of 5 are doing. They are in permanent confinement with twice the amount of square footage suggested per hen out in the run and 1 1/2 times the suggested square footage in the coop house.

    I will take your suggestions and do a search on ear mites and "attempt" to check for gapeworm using the q-tip however this can be a very difficult and stressful task that I'm not looking too forward too. I just want to rule out a few things before treating for worms using a broad spectrum dewormer. 2 of my girls just started laying their first eggs today also so I don't want to also add stress to them by the worming treatment right now.

    I am happy to think it isn't gapeworm because it appears to be something that comes on hard and fast with many symptoms and will cause mortality if not treated. My girls have been acting like this for a couple of months now so that's a plus "against" gapeworm. Thank you for your suggestions. Please contribute if you have some of your own suggestions or stories to share.

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