Neck jerks.... and general troubleshooting!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jonathon_Spafford, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Jonathon_Spafford

    Jonathon_Spafford New Egg

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    Aug 17, 2010
    Sorry for the long post... just giving a little background to help in diagnosing chicken problems.

    So, I'm somewhat new to the chicken thing... at least new to troubleshooting chickens. We currently have 9 buffs and 17 black austrolorpe. We originally started out with 18 buffs. Nine of them got out somehow when we were on vacation this spring and were eaten by coyotes (at least that's what we think). Anyway, the buffs haven't returned to normal egg production since the others were killed (partly due to the fact that we moved them out of their coop when we got replacement chicks); they, however, haven't been moved again for about two months since returning to their original coop and still we are just getting 2-3 eggs a day (the austrolorpes aren't laying yet). Some went through brooding in the summer (that seemed to last a while) and others have been going through what I assume is molt (again for a long while). So, now I go out into the coop this afternoon and most of the buffs have this weird neck jerk thing going on. They don't seem to be in pain or look like they have an enlarged crop, in fact they seem just fine... they are just twitching/flicking their heads every couple of seconds. Any clues as to what could cause this? One other comment, most of the buffs don't get spend any time in their run. I will put them down and they might stay out for a while, but they won't get out of their own accord. (The coop is large, about 80 sq. ft., but I'm just afraid they aren't out enough). Also, their water gets changed every four days, but they really mess it up bad in between changes and I'm sure they end up eating their waste!

    So, whats up with my chickens: is it a vitamin deficiency, disease, parasites, sanitation issues, an exercise issue or totally normal? Last year at this time, we were getting 15-17 eggs a day, but lately its been really frustrating to raise chickens that are net consumers.

    Anyway, any help you all have would be much appreciated!
     
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Nov 27, 2008
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    The head jerks/twitching or flicking might be because you are talking to them or talking to someone else or making a noise close to them. They tend to do this, try talking to them tomorrow and watch them twitch their heads/necks...completely normal. Egg laying slacks off this time of the year for a couple of reasons; the onset of molt if they are a year or older, and less daylight hours. Natures way of giving them a break. Mine have slacked off laying as well. You need to clean their waterers and change the water at least every other day. If it doesnt look good for you to drink...then it isnt good for your chickens to drink. Proper sanitation helps prevent diseases and parasites from taking over your flock.
     
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Yes, chickens shake their heads when you are talking to them (especially mine inside their metal shed coop when I even sound loud to myself!).

    However, I will share what happened to me last year...my chickens were shaking their heads every 5-15 seconds, almost all of them. All the time. I sat and observed. I was itchy and found the Northern Fowl mite biting me. Never saw them on the chickens.

    I treated and INSTANTLY that day the head shaking was gone. Four months later, it was back (and likewise went away instantly after treatment). So now I treat every four months for mites, then retreat in 10 days to kill the hatching eggs.

    This last batch of mites I am treating for now (I finish my 10 days on Thursday), I didn't see them shaking their heads. I believe it is the mite LOAD they have. When the load gets too heavy, they just try to shake them off because they can't stand it, is my theory.
     

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