HELP! Hen twitching her head a lot

kennabug987

In the Brooder
Jun 28, 2021
14
36
44
Hey everyone. I thought I could get some input on something one of my hens has been doing lately, head twitching. Check out the video I have attached and let me know what you think. She is a black sex link living with two other hens right now (my other chickens are at various ages right now so the rest are separated). Today, she seems lethargic and is sitting around a lot away from her other coop mates. They are still on medicated chick started, and I have electrolytes, amprolium, and probiotics in their water. I have them on amprolium because I got 5 week old chicks a few weeks ago who had coccidiosis. They are full recovered now, but I have it in their water as extra preventative. Two of the coccidia birds who fully recovered a few weeks ago, are separated in the bottom of the coop away from the black Sex Links. What she is doing almost seems neurological? She also feels a bit more bony than the other two Sex Links when I pick them up to put them in their coop at night. Let me know what y'all think. I always appreciate the advice.

 

Everose

Unashamed
Premium Feather Member
Jan 16, 2021
6,498
42,739
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Is she at the bottom of the pecking order? I find that my subordinate hens are usually bonier than my fatter bossier hens. If she's the kinda girl who would fight for her food I would be concerned, she may need a diet adjustment.

As for the head twitching my biggest question would be, does she have fleas on her head? A certain type of flea tends to congregate around the head, I believe it's called a stick flea but you'll have to double check that. Head twitching could be neurological but I'm more likely to think it has something to do with a parasite.
 

kennabug987

In the Brooder
Jun 28, 2021
14
36
44
Is she at the bottom of the pecking order? I find that my subordinate hens are usually bonier than my fatter bossier hens. If she's the kinda girl who would fight for her food I would be concerned, she may need a diet adjustment.

As for the head twitching my biggest question would be, does she have fleas on her head? A certain type of flea tends to congregate around the head, I believe it's called a stick flea but you'll have to double check that. Head twitching could be neurological but I'm more likely to think it has something to do with a parasite.
Thank you for the advise! I will check her tonight when I put her up. I try to keep diatomaceous earth in their coop to keep the mites and fleas away, but it is definitely a possibility!!
 

U_Stormcrow

Crossing the Road
Jun 7, 2020
8,178
28,603
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North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
They are still on medicated chick started, and I have electrolytes, amprolium, and probiotics in their water. I have them on amprolium because I got 5 week old chicks a few weeks ago who had coccidiosis.

Ever hear the expression "too much of a good thing"??? Amprolium (and your medicated feed which is likely medicated with Amprolium) is a Thiamine Antagonist. Loosely, a "B[-1] Blocker". Chances are quite high that your electrolyte mix is high in ... B-1 (Thiamine). Which severely impairs the effectiveness of the Amprolium. Meaning its ability to control coccidia is *limited*.

Also, Coccidia are everywhere - or at least, essentially everywhere humans have been - but definitely present now in your chicken keeping environment. Biosecurity and lengthy, remote quarantine practices have evolved for good reason. Lesson learned.

I'm not a disease expert - I won't weigh in further. @Eggcessive and @Wyorp Rock are 100s, if not 1000s of times more qualified than I - but I did want to highlight those issues.
 

kennabug987

In the Brooder
Jun 28, 2021
14
36
44
Ever hear the expression "too much of a good thing"??? Amprolium (and your medicated feed which is likely medicated with Amprolium) is a Thiamine Antagonist. Loosely, a "B[-1] Blocker". Chances are quite high that your electrolyte mix is high in ... B-1 (Thiamine). Which severely impairs the effectiveness of the Amprolium. Meaning its ability to control coccidia is *limited*.

Also, Coccidia are everywhere - or at least, essentially everywhere humans have been - but definitely present now in your chicken keeping environment. Biosecurity and lengthy, remote quarantine practices have evolved for good reason. Lesson learned.

I'm not a disease expert - I won't weigh in further. @Eggcessive and @Wyorp Rock are 100s, if not 1000s of times more qualified than I - but I did want to highlight those issues.
Thanks for the response! So I double checked the electrolyte formula and prebiotics ingredients before adding them to their water, and they do not contain Thiamine. When I went through the Coccidia scare with my other, newer chickens, I did relentless research on BackYardChickens, and many people made me aware of the thiamine issue with amprollium. I really don't know what I would do without this forum, and I appreciate your response!
 

kennabug987

In the Brooder
Jun 28, 2021
14
36
44
thanks for double checking. my own electrolyte booster sadly does, as did every other option on the local TSC shelf. applaud your thoroughness and foresight in selecting one without.
I am glad you brought this up. Maybe the issues I am having with this hen are due to thiamine deficiency.
 

Sarahh_Janeyy

Songster
Dec 12, 2019
236
206
126
Gosh, it could be so many different things. Does she do this ALL the time? Or just occasionally? My top bird occasionally shakes her head like that, and it worries me, but she seems to be fine and it's kinda like she just goes through periods of it. I've read it can be anything from viral, to worms, to something stuck in her crop or somewhere else is irritating them. I guess those are all things you could look up and see if anything fits.
 

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