ill chicken in recovery - new symptom or what


In the Brooder
8 Years
Nov 13, 2011
Sussex County, New Jersey
I have a sick chicken (7.5 month old cockerel) who had fallen overnight acutely ill ... He is remarkably better and made progress but very slowly and we seem to maybe be at a slight stand still. Brief overview - He original presented with Wry Neck (twisted neck, immoble) which after ruling everything else out was thought to be a possible inner ear infection, coupled with pneumonia symptoms, he was on vitamins and antibiotics and being hand fed. Now still handfed but takes more on own and vitamins - I've just recently increased from Poly Vi Sol to Lafeber's which seems to be much much higher overall.

Right now, I'm concerned two newer possible symptoms could perhaps be an indication of a step backwards and/or that he's made all the progress he is going to ... OR maybe just part of the one step forward, two steps back cycle but nothing to really worry about (I can't find anything in BYC archives or online in general) Advice welcomed.

1) his earlobes are recently gotten paler ... they were as red as his comb (and his comb hasn't changed) but his earlobes slowly have gotten paler

2) he progressed to using his legs more and what we called "practice standing" because he would either lay down and hold his head up or stand up and rest his head down (like a forward bend) - now he has added the positions of tilting to one side (his left), laying on his side from time to time (which can make his feed cold, and his tail in no longer high and straight ... it too is low and to the left. yesterday I added a second heat source (overhead heat lamp) to his heating pad. Since the heat lamp we see him in the full side lay position less so maybe the heat lamp seems to have possibly helped (? - don't know why) or mere coincidence. His tail is still tilted.

Are these symptoms of something not good, something new and/or progress in the wrong direction? Any insight or thoughts very welcomed.

oh also --- I did post this a week or so ago ... but got no replies ... Any tips for keeping sedentary chickens CLEAN ... he continually gets poo on his bottom feathers and it's impossible to clean up without bathing him which is a long, tiresome and stressful process for all involved.

Thanks in advance!
Hi Chella,

I'm definitely not an expert in whatever your bird has, but unfortunately it does sound to me as though he's getting a little worse right now. If it was nutritional I'd think the wry neck would have started to resolve after about a week on vitamins.

Sorry about that, but as I said I'm not an expert.

As for keeping him cleaner, I'd suggest a sling (with an open area at the back) except that with his head prone to droop a lot, this may be unwise (it would mean his head hangs lower and could exacerbate any neck muscle/ligament troubles).

Maybe you could sit him in a basket inside a wire-floored cage, and cut an area out of the basket below his vent. In that case droppings would fall through both basket and wire to whatever you put underneath (just elevate the cage a little off that surface).

good luck,

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