New Baby Silkie with Vitamin E Deficiency

Clare_CA

Chirping
10 Years
Mar 4, 2010
60
7
96
Camarillo
Hi All! I just joined this forum upon a recommendation by a fellow banana grower over at bananas.org. I just received 25 baby chicks from McMurray Hatchery three days ago, and I'm sorry to say that three have died already. I purchased the ornamental layer collection, and the first one that died was a top hat, followed by two black silkies. I think that dehydration was the problem for the three, but the last silkie couldn't lift her head or move in the last few hours of her life. All the chicks seem to be eating and drinking well now. I'm adding vitamins (quick chik) to their water, which I change about three times a day. They are on Alpine wood shavings, which is odorless.

Now another black silkie chick is having problems. Yesterday, she bowed her head so low that it went underneath her, and she bolted backward and tumbled several times. I was horrified. I did some research here and found the Vitamin E and Selenium treatment for Vitamin E deficiency. I reduced the dosage since the recommendation was for an adult. It was really hard getting her to open her mouth for the Vitamin E, but she did get some down followed by Vitamin water. I watched her frequently last night, and while all the other chicks were down, she remained upright and did the tumbling thing, waking all the other chicks up and disturbing them. I didn't want to separate her because I only have the one heat lamp, and she seemed to do better with company. I held her for a little while so that she could sleep while I held her upright, but I could feel her body trembling the whole time so I don't think she got any sleep, and she did protest vocally to being separated from the rest.

I read here on this forum how it is common in silkies, but I was surprised that it happened to a baby chick. The recommendation is 400 mcg's of Vitamin E twice a day for an adult, and it looks like the treatment goes on for about three weeks. I think she got about 200 mcg's, but it is hard to say what actually made it down her throat. Can someone tell me if they've experienced this with a baby chick before and what I should do to help this little chick. Any advice on dosage would be much appreciated too.

Today, she is eating and drinking and running around with the rest, but she doesn't seem to want to lay down to sleep when the others do.

Thanks in advance for your help.

The black silkie with the tumbling problem is in the upper far left corner.

The first day, I used this starter kit guard for them. Then my husband bought a huge tub, which they showed that you can use in Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, but I believe that this held too much heat in, and it wasn't big enough for the chicks to get away for the heat, which is maybe why the two black silkies died from dehydration. I feel so distraught about that.

Now they are in a giant cardboard box and have enough room to get away from the heat so dehyration hopefully won't be a problem anymore.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Clare

Edited to remove broken links of pictures.
 
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silkiechicken

Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
21,494
1,027
393
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
Welcome and hope you enjoy the site.

One thing that might be of note is that some silkies have open skulls on the side b/c of their genetics with crests. This makes them more prone to brain injuries. Sometimes chicks to sleep standing up too and some batches of chicks may have to spend a few days apart from roudier types to get their strength up. As for vit E, i can't help there. Good luck! They look healthy!
 

Clare_CA

Chirping
10 Years
Mar 4, 2010
60
7
96
Camarillo
Thanks for the welcome and for the help. The new silkie chick is doing okay, but she won't take the Vitamin E in the capsule and struggles when I try to feed it to her. Is there any problem with giving her and the others natural sources of Vitamin E like broccoli and spinach? I think they are just a few days old, and I don't know if this is okay at this age. Any help is much appreciated.
 

Clare_CA

Chirping
10 Years
Mar 4, 2010
60
7
96
Camarillo
Hi KungFooC, I actually did that, but she turns her head away quickly and won't open her mouth. Some got in, I think, but a lot just dripped down her face. I'll keep trying.

Thanks, Tammy. I put some broccoli out there before I read your post, thinking that they would peck at it, but they didn't touch it until I cut it into tiny pieces, and then they loved it.

The chick isn't sleeping well because she won't lie down and just continues to bow her head and walk backward. She fell asleep in my hands resting on my stomach for a little while this morning and even lay her head down. I think she is keeping all the other chics awake at night too because she can't help backing over them and into them. I tried to separate her, but she cries so loudly when I do. She just seems much happier being in with the others. I have some prednisone that I'm going to try today.
 

fancbrd4me02

Songster
11 Years
Nov 15, 2009
1,547
17
221
San Diego, California
Your chick may have some neurolgical problems related to the vaulted skull which sometimes leaves the brain vulnerable to injury. I have read many posts where silkies have similar problems, often without a known cause/injury. If you want to seperate her, seperate her with another chick so she isn't lonely. I keep my crested chicks (silkies, polish, etc.) seperate from non crested when they are young because sometimes thier crests are attractive to other chicks and they sometimes peck them. Is she eating and drinking well? It may be a case where she just needs to be kept quiet, and fed and hydrated for a while until she recovers from whatever is troubling her.
 

Clare_CA

Chirping
10 Years
Mar 4, 2010
60
7
96
Camarillo
Fancybrd4me02, I think it is a good idea to separate her with some friends, and I'll do that. Can you tell by looking at my pictures which one are the crested ones? I'll have to do some homework to find out what that looks like because I'm pretty new and this and don't know all the terms yet. Thanks so much for your advice. I just noticed that one of her eyes are closed tightly. I'm sure that is related to this. She does seem to be eating and drinking some but not as much as the others. She pretty much moves out of the way of every chick that approaches her, but I don't see any of the chicks picking on her except when she has stuff stuck to her.
 

Clare_CA

Chirping
10 Years
Mar 4, 2010
60
7
96
Camarillo
Fancybrd4me02, I just separated all the silkies and put them together. I put in a couple of top hat chicks as well because they seem pretty mellow. I think this will work well, but I have to run and get another heat lamp for the separate container, but I think this will be best for all. Thanks for your help.
 

ultasol

Songster
10 Years
Apr 30, 2009
1,987
15
163
SE Washington
For vitamins use a baby vitamin available at walmart or drug stores called 'polyvisol' if you don't have a poultry one on hand. Put a drop on the end of her beak and it should stimulate her to swallow it. If she is not doing that then you could try adding some to some water and keep her separate.

I had a silkie with an extreme crest that did this, although not nearly this young, that is now fine. I gave her polyvisol as well as prednisone (which most people wouldn't have access to- it's an anti-inflammatory steroid) as some propose that it could be due to inflammation in the brain. I think the ultimate balm was time, as even after the vitamin and steroid taper she would have 'attacks' when stressed. Now, about 4-5 months later, she appears to be fine and no longer has 'attacks' even when stressed.

In your case vitamins and ensuring he/she can still eat and drink, plus patience, is probably the best route. Good luck.
 

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