Help!!! torticollis in 2 year old hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by JerseyHen, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. JerseyHen

    JerseyHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 10, 2011
    Sussex County, NJ
    I noticed that she has not been coming out of the coop for a few days. I thought it was because the new cockerel was being a bit to attentive. She was eating and drinking and clucking away at me so I didn't really worry about it. She showed no outward signs of illness. Today I went in (this is 3 days since I first noticed her not coming out) and she has torticollis. She is unable to eat or drink now (not for lack of wanting to, but lack of control). I noticed a few other similar threads, but didn't want to hijack anyone else's with my chicken issues...

    She is a 2 year old Salmon Faverolles
    She has always been a little odd (always hiding from the boys)
    She showed no other signs of illness
    Pine Bedding, deep litter method
    Layer pellets, scratch, some table scraps (all safe ones)
    Well water with ACV (same water we are drinking)
    Coop is pretty well ventilated
    I have had a few sick birds this year (following a show I went to in August and I didn't even show any birds)
    The others seem fine at the moment. The ones I lost to illness this year were as follows: 1 was normal one day, blue comb that afternoon, dead by morning (no idea on this one), the rest had some combination of fluffing up, no outward signs of illness, stopped eating, died within a few days.
    All of the sick birds were vaccinated for Marek's as day olds. None of my non-vaccinated birds have shown any illness at all.

    I am worried this is Marek's. I am not sure what to do other than cull. The problem is what do I do with the rest of the flock? I know this can live in the dust for months. I really, really, don't want to destroy the whole flock. There was no classic one leg out one back thing, no changes in the iris (I had one a few years ago that went blind and then died, I thought she was poisoned though). If they have been vaccinated, what are the odds that they are getting this? I know it isn't 100% effective, but this is way outside of a normal acceptable failure rate. I wonder if the hatchery failed to actually vaccinate them?

    The other thing I was thinking is that the one cockerel pecked her on the head too hard or somehow injured her. He is very aggressive with them. If she hid for 3 days and didn't eat or drink could that cause symptoms this fast?

    I have started her on a vitamin/elecrolyte concentration with sugar water just to get some nutrition in her. Scrambled eggs peaked her interest, but she didn't seem able to actually coordinate the eating.

  2. Mommaw

    Mommaw Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 17, 2011
    I have no thoughts but thought you'd like to know my 9 month old hen (low hen on totem pole, never laid an egg, outcast) was pecked on the head as well. Now I find her weak and with a wry? neck. She turns it around. I am feeding her electrolytes and vitamins but no food as she sleeps all the time ..she knows it's me because when I call her she'll respond lightly. She always came to me while with the others as she never associated with them being a runt Cream Leg Bar. Let's hope someone has an idea. She just got weaker and weaker, no cough or sneezes. It's almost like she now is in a coma but responds to me when I try to give her fluids. I've had a tough year with my flock this year.
  3. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    No idea if this will help or not, but someone else had a younger bird with a twisted neck that was allegedly cured with Vit E (I say "allegedly"... I was not there).

    Quote: I have no idea if this is applicable to your situation, but it couldn't hurt. :/

    As for blue/purple combs, that can be a symptom of poor circulation or pulmonary issues.

    How are their droppings? When you feel her crop, is it full and spongy or hard? Do they have access to peeling paint or any place where you keep pesticides, herbicides, or pest control methods? Sudden death can be a symptom of toxin ingestion, especially with these neurological symptoms.

    Check their feed, too... If it's damp, it may have gotten moldy.

    I would bring her inside and separate her from the rest and start tubing her food and liquid if necessary.

    Search "Go Team Tube Feeding" at the top of the forum for a how-to.

    Any other info you can give will help!


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