help, twisted neck with head down, very sick


9 Years
Jun 11, 2010
Ann Arbor, MI
Hello all, I am new to this site and new as chicken mom. I have a 12 weeks old Arancana hen bought at a local chicken farm (when she was a baby). she is not eating, not drinking by her self, no poo for past 3 days. her neck is twisted with her head down and shake all the time. she can somtimes have her neck straght up but only for few minutes. when she shake her head (while still down), she can only walk backward. I keep her separated from other chicks in a platic tote right now. I used some foam as support for her neck to keep her head straight up and forced feed her with vitamin, Duramycin-10 contating water using a small syrange, 3-4 cc every 2 or 3 hours for 2 days already. I don't see any poo coming out. She seems better this mornign but when I tried to remove the foam, she had her neck down again and cannot lift up. So I put the foam back on her.

she, with other 5 chicks about the same age are somewhat free range (big run for those little chicks right now) at backyard (with grass). I feed them Purna medicated 20% chick starter, normal water without any vitamin boost. I noticed there are some mold around buttom of feed tray right after I noticed she is not right. I changed to fresh clean feed right away. I don't see any symptons with other 5 hens. I want to cure her myself if is possible. I don't know what is wrong with her, I have searched online on chicken diseases, but with no helpful results. I hope some of you are experienced who can help me out. Thank you so much. Winnie


Hey Winnie - I see no one has posted a reply so I'm going to give it a stab. A few things come to mind with this bird. I think you said the bird was shaking? It could be (and I say could because it's a little hard to tell just from the pics) avian encephalitis, marek's disease, wry neck, botulism or possibly an inner ear infection. You can do a search on those things and see if any of them seem to fit. I would separate her from the other chickens and continue giving her supportive care with assist feeding etc. Is she interested in food or water if you hold her head up for her or is she depressed and anorexic? Some of the above problems are death sentences, others, like wry neck, will usually correct in time if the bird is helped to food and water. Keep her warm and stress free as much as possible. The walking backwards with her head tucked like that is very much like wry neck, but these birds usually maintain their appetite. Moisten her food, mix in some boiled egg yolk to stimulate her appetite and I like feeding the Kaytee hand feeding formula for caged birds (available at Petco or Petsmart) with the sick ones. Keep us posted. Karen
No eating, no drinking, no poo for the past 3 days...this bird is in critical state. If you are not willing to euthanize, then I suggest you contact either your own veterinarian or your State Veterinarian for an expert diagnosis and advice on treatment. For the sake of the other birds in your flock, you really need to get a firm diagnosis so you know whether or not you need to take precautions to prevent the spread of disease.
Thanks Karen. I searched Wry neck and found several video on youtube about wry neck chickens. The symptons look the same, with neck bending sideways or twisting down and walking backward. I think my hen is having wry neck. So, then I serached wry neck on this site and found many other people had this problem before, I guess this is a common problem....

Here is a thread with many helpful information on Wry neck:

In a different thread, member-mdbokc posted this link about solutions and those information:;num=1254452978

Wry Neck
Problem: Neck bent backwards, or backwards and twisted and turn repeatedly in circles trying to gain balance.
Cause: Possibly genetic, or result of brain damage/infection, or bad feed.
Solution: If it is bad feed, feed from a syringe because they can't eat or drink. After a week of water, vitamins and food through syringe they may show signs of recovery.

Just this afternoon, I saw her eating on her own. I think she is getting better. I will try high nutrients/wet mesh diet and see if she can recover. Winnie
I'm glad to hear she is eating and drinking. I personally believe wry neck/crookneck is genetic, but the good news is that she will probably recover from it if you continue to help her eat and drink. I've had a number of youngsters with this condition and have some recover in as little as a week and others taking up to several months for a full recovery. It's one of those things that looks REALLY bad & so people often euthanize their birds before trying treatment & it's understandable - that was my first instinct when I saw it for the first time. However, I've never had one that did NOT recover, although I imagine some do not. I remembered after I posted yesterday that I'd seen a video of a chick with this condition, but forgot to mention it, so glad you found it. It sounds like your chick may already be on the road to recovery; I certainly hope so. Just continue to make sure she eats and drinks and does not get hassled by the other chicks. Good luck, Karen
Has she pooped yet? My friend's chicken had (sorry, this is what it's called)
pasty butt. I know it sounds weird, but it is when the chicken's previous stool is stuck to the chicken's bottom, and she is pretty much plugged up. All you have to do is wash her hind end. I don't know if the wry neck is related, but if she hasn't "gone" in a few days, it could be pasty butt and wry neck at the same time. I hope she feels better soon!
Thank you all for your input!! My husband is about to cull her... I am so glad that I found this site first. I started wet mash food this morning and also hand feed high vitamin water two times today. I think she is getting better-- she can straight up her neck for 15minutes and pooped tonight!! (I checked, no pasty butt) This is a big turning point. I will continue this treatment until she is fully recover.

Thank you, thank you, thank you:celebrate

I had a bantam rooster with the same problem. I did not know what it was. The vet said most probably Marek's but the only way to find out was through necropsy. I didn't do that. I took him home and nursed him for a week and he got better then worse. When he could not eat or move out of his own poop my husband did the deed. We thought that he had really done some brain damage or something by flying into a window or something. I wish I had known about this problem then. We might have saved him. Good luck with yours!

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