Limp necked cockerel

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by OkieQueenBee, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. OkieQueenBee

    OkieQueenBee Chirping

    Jul 25, 2013
    Marion, Kansas
    Yesterday evening when doing a final check on the birds for the night I found this 7 week old cockerel laying on his feet with his neck outstretched. When I picked him up he was totally limp (but alive). Brought him to the house and put food and water in front of him, but it was dark and time for him to,sleep. This morning he hadn't eaten or drank anything so I started getting water in him with an eye dropper. By late this afternoon his appetite was back and he is up walking around. This is the 4th chick (all from different hatches) that has come down with this. They have not all been affected at the same time, though. After being fed a high protein and vitamin rich diet they have all recovered. There were 20 other chicks in with this one.
    Does anyone have any idea as to what might be causing this? I do FF for all of the birds and they free range. This batch is still in the brooder with a heat lamp.
    Last night
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    This may be limber neck or botulism. You might want to do some reading on it to discover how they could have gotten it. It is common in ducks, but chickens can get it from eating infected maggots, decaying animal carcasses, and even from wet dog or cat food. A diet too high in iron or eating raw turnips can also can be a cause. Here is a link to read: and
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  3. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013

    One treatment for Botulism is a molasses flush. You can make it out of four tablespoons of molasses to one quart of water. Give it for no more than twenty four hours. Its purpose is to carry poisons out of the body.
  4. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    I agree with the previous two posters--its sounds like your cockerel could have botulism poisoning. To treat, you could try the molasses flush Wyandottes7 suggested, or use an Epsom salt flush:

    Epsom Salt Flush
    1 teaspoon Epsom Salts dissolved in 1/2 cup of water. Pour or squirt the mixture down the bird's throat, as they do not like the flavor and won't usually drink it on their own. Treat for 3 days, or until symptoms lessen.
  5. OkieQueenBee

    OkieQueenBee Chirping

    Jul 25, 2013
    Marion, Kansas
    Thanks for the input. I made them some applesauce today and added molasses to it. Maybe that will help.
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    FYI: Applesauce acts as a mild laxative in chickens.

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