Head shaking is spreading to all my chickens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Poni, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. Poni

    Poni Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a mixed flock of Bantams, all have been obtained over the past year from several sources. I noticed the head shaking thing over the summer in a few of the chickens. I'm seeing it now in a lot of them. The latest to get hit with it are my 3 silkies. I have had one in a cardboard box in my bedroom for over a week. He won't eat or drink. I give him water with a syringe to make sure he gets something. He won't eat crumble wet or dry, and he LOVES it wet, but won't touch it. He won't eat mealworms which are usually his favorite treat. I got him to take a few bites of scrambled egg, a couple bites of plain yogurt, and a few sunflower hearts a few different times but his crop is never full. He shakes his head violently from side to side, rubs his beak on the floor (back and forth and back and forth over and over), stretches his neck out and opens his beak as if he is yawning then smacks his beak like we would smack our lips, lastly, he takes one foot then the other and scratches his head very rapidly and violently. I noticed today that the feathers at his forehead look as if they are pulling away from his skull. I thought it could be worms, so I wormed him with Wazine. I read about gapeworms so I treated him with Ivomec 1% injectable orally. I started him on Poly Vi Sol today along with Vitamin E and Selenium. I also started him on Electrolyte water (water, salt, sugar mix per WebMD) today also. I brought his sister in yesterday cause she has sat in a nesting box for 2 days and hasn't gotten up. Same head shaking and some beak rubbing but not as bad as her brother. Gave her vitamin regime and electrolyte water, but didn't worm her. I noticed tonight that the other one still outside is doing the head shaking also but is still active in the run, so far, so I left her out in the coop. What in the world is happening to my chicken flock?? About 40% of the rest of the flock is head shaking but not rubbing their beaks or scratching their heads and they are still eating. None of them are doing the violent shaking like my Silkies are. I'm at a loss of what to do next or what.... My poor babies..... Can anyone help me out here? I'm desperately searching for a way to fix my flock. Short of putting all these chickens in boxes in my bedroom I'm up for whatever it takes.
     
  2. Poni

    Poni Out Of The Brooder

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    Forgot to add that I treated my entire flock and coop with sevin dust for lice and mites a few days ago. No vets around me take care of chickens either :(.
     
  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Wow. I think you did the right thing treating them for gape. Did you check for mites? Or dust their head (not eyes) for mites. I would certainly treat them all for external bugs even if you don't see it. I wonder if there are ear mites? You might want to think about that too. You might have an infestation there,

    I don't think sevin is going to reach inside their ears.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Any respiratory symptoms? Examples: Sneezing, bubbly eyes, gurgling, wheezing, swollen eyes/face, runny nostrils, foul odor around head area?
     
  5. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    This would also be the first thing I'd check for. You may need to get your ear right close to beak-level (if you can trust him not to peck and hurt you). Listen carefully for gurgles, clicks, rasping, croupy airways, etc.
     
  6. Poni

    Poni Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the reply. He gurgled, sounded like his throat, before I wormed him with the Ivomec, but didn't yesterday. Eyes are clear and bright. I did hear some clicking before I wormed him also, but not since either. He only gaped a few times today, but honestly I was so concerned about his hairline and him scratching it more that I left him in the box more than out. I got them both up before I went to bed and gave them more electrolyte water and offered them every kind of food I could (scratch, crumble, chopped boiled egg, yogurt, sunflower hearts) . He ate very little on his own so I enticed him to eat by dropping seeds in front of him which he only reluctantly ate as long as I dropped them. He didn't gape at all, just shook his head and scratched at it. He drank from the syringe, but wouldn't drink from the bowl,on his own. I smashed egg yolk and some crumble in water, sucked it up in the syringe and he drank 3 small syringes full. Seemed interested in the taste and drank with more zest than he has in days. She gaped quite a few times, but drank and ate on her own. The shaking head is worse in her now along with the scratching. I haven't treated her for gapeworm yet. I plan on doing that in the morning. Her eyes are clear and bright. I didn't pick her up and listen for gurgles but will when I feed her in the am. No runny nose, sneezing or odor around head in either of them.
     
  7. Poni

    Poni Out Of The Brooder

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    I treated him with tetracycline in his water last Wednesday.
     
  8. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  9. Poni

    Poni Out Of The Brooder

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    "Im not understanding the 10 days apart, when infact it should be 3 times in ten days..Gapeworms will sence the chemical in the blood, stop feeding for a day or two till the blood levels decrease-hence the 3 times in ten days..That is if a bird already showing symptoms of Gapes will even last ten more days.."

    So, I should treat every 3 days for 10 days? And then keep treating even after that cause they were already showing signs of gapeworms? Everything else I've read says either at 10 days or 18-20 days..... The part said about them stop feeding while blood levels are high makes sense. I can't find anything anywhere that says Ivamec can be used like that in poultry..... It was a $50 bottle of medicine, so I guess I need to get my money's worth from it. Is it possible most of my flock could have Gapeworm even though they aren't gaping? Head shaking is all I have from my regular bantams.
     
  10. Poni

    Poni Out Of The Brooder

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    Dawg53, you believe that Ivamec isn't effective against gapeworm? From all the research I did, it was said to be effective and safe. I read about 200 statements from discussion boards and websites before I made the purchase. Sometimes all this chicken business is so confusing ie; give them scratch, don't give them scratch, put straw in the house, don't put straw in the house etc. I've tried to make the best possible informed choices for my 50 chickens that I can, cause they aren't just chickens they are pets that I love and want the best for them. Until this happened I'd never even heard of gapeworm, I just knew my babies were in trouble and I wanted to save them.
     

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