Head Shaking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by EmeraldSkye, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. EmeraldSkye

    EmeraldSkye Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2013
    San Jose, California
    Hello everyone,

    I didn't know if this belongs in "Behaviors" or "Pests" so since I'm hoping it's a behavior thing, here it is.

    I've noticed that since I got my chicks (still in the brooder) they have had this thing where they shake their heads. Kind of like they might do if insects were buzzing around but there aren't any. Now they are 5 months old and are still doing this. In this video you can see some of this:



    Also, in case it's relevant, our Easter Egger with the dark head has waxy-looking cheek muffs. The other Easter Egger (red head) doesn't, and the other two chickens don't have any waxi-ness around the head either. I know waxy feathers aren't a behavior thing but may have some relevance to the head shaking in case I've mis-categorized this question.

    Here's a couple of pics of that chicken's head:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Araucana16

    Araucana16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2013
    Denver, CO
    I watched the entire video.

    I talk to mine like that too... they always look at me like "You're weird." [​IMG]

    I see no behavior that not entirely normal for chickens. None! I think they're fine.
     
  3. Araucana16

    Araucana16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2013
    Denver, CO
    Gorgeous birds by the way!
     
  4. TheChickInn

    TheChickInn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi- your chickens look perfectly fine! :) All chickens are somewhat spastic in their movements, some ( like Silkies) shake their heads quite a bit. You might want to check for mites, just to be safe though.
     
  5. EmeraldSkye

    EmeraldSkye Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2013
    San Jose, California
    Thank you! They are just over 5 months old now... I'm waiting for eggs to start... I check every day.
     
  6. EmeraldSkye

    EmeraldSkye Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2013
    San Jose, California
    I'll try to grab Lucille (she's the easiest one) and look her over. If they have ear mites I hope they are easy to see.
     
  7. MVChickenLover

    MVChickenLover New Egg

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    Jan 15, 2012
    Speaking from my experience, similar head shaking was caused by Gape worm hanging in the wind canal of the throat. The head shaking starts small and then gets more frequent and stronger also stretching the throat and opening the mouth can be observed as the condition worsens. The condition leads to death eventually if you do not de-worm with a paste specific to Gape worm like Ivermectin. After I dewormed the head shaking stopped. I dewormed in December and then again in January because you must throw away any eggs contaminated with Ivermectin according to instructions on the label. Also, to maintain a healthy flock use food grade diatomaceous earth.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens neither possess nor know how to use a handkerchief. Any time a chicken shakes its head it is trying to dislodge mucus or other nasty's from its upper respiratory system.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  9. EmeraldSkye

    EmeraldSkye Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2013
    San Jose, California
    Ok so it seems like this may be normal behavior, may be gapeworm, or may be ear mites. I have been told that I can put Frontline on them for mites and see if it goes away. The Frontline won't harm them even if they don't have mites is what I understand. Does the same go for the gapeworm treatment? Can I try that to see if it helps without risk of problems if they don't have gapeworm? I want to try these one at a time so that I know what the problem was if it does go away. It seems like the gapeworm could be more serious so trying that solution first seems to make sense. They aren't laying eggs (5 months old) and I don't know when they will start so that's not a problem at the moment. Do I get that dewormer at a regular feed store?
     
  10. EmeraldSkye

    EmeraldSkye Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2013
    San Jose, California
    Oh, and MV (is that for Mountain View?) I do use DE in the coop. Are you suggesting something more with it?
     

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