Polish Crested Wry Neck / Crooked Neck Diary

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by franklinstreetwest, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Urban Jungle
    I have decided to keep a log of my experience with my wobbly little Weeble. It has helped me to read the threads from other worried poultry parents, and I hope that my two cents will steel someone in their battle to cure their baby!

    THE PATIENT:
    Weeble, a 3 month old Polish Crested Frizzle that is the palest mix of lavender and milk chocolate

    HISTORY:
    hatched April24, Easter Day. Difficult hatch; exhibited flopping, twisting, neck crookedness, lack of motor skill for 48 hours. I placed her with the other chicks, resigned to let nature take it's couse. On the morning of day three she was nearly normal with occassional head twitches. Day four she was straight as an arrow. There was no indication of problems after that.

    FEED & WATER:
    I feed chick starter with antibiotics until I run out of the 5 pounds that I buy, then I do a standard chick feed. Electrolytes in the water. At three months I begin to introduce scratch and grit.

    DAY 1:
    At this point I did not know there was a problem. It was the first warm (85+ degree) day, I decided to take the kids out for a romp in the yard [I live in the city and yard romps are ONLY done when supervised]. Weeble seemed normal. I kept laughing at her because she would walk away from the others and "fall asleep" with her head in the corner. On that day I had no idea that this was an early symptom.

    DAY 2:
    I fed the kids in the morning and snuggled Weeble a bit. Twelve hours later, after a blazing 90+ degree day, I get home and she was stuck in a corner twisted up like a pretzel. Unable to stand, she tumbled and flopped her twisted head around. It was late and I decided to make her comfortable for the night while I researched the problem and attack it in the morning. I read a bunch of posts online about wry-neck and figured it was worth a try. Some suggested prednisone, others either could not obtain it or the vet indicated that it destroys the immune system and cautioned against it. I have prednisone on hand for asthma related issues, and I know my immune system tanks while I'm on it......I decided against the prednisone and would save it as a last resort.

    DAY 3:
    - I bought vitamin E with selenium gel caps from a local health food store. I administer that by cutting the tip off and squirting it into a syringe. The syringe is easier to get in Weeble's mouth and I don't have to touch the E goop....it's ultra sticky and hard to get off. One tablet in the morning and one at night
    - B complex, purchased from Meijer because they had it cheaper. One third tablet crushed into powder and administered with the food.
    - Weeble is completely without motor control, so I have to force feed her. I chose organic, meat based, infant food. I added a little water with electrolytes and administered it with the syringe. I filled her crop half full three times that day.
    - Another 90+ degree day, worse than the previous one. I work outdoors, so I tried to keep her in the shade and breeze. At night I put her in the basement where it was MUCH cooler.

    She can't even lay on her belly upright, she flops and writhes. I periodically lay her on her side so that her neck untwists and support her head with a roll of towel. She stays in this position for a while and then has bad spasms and flips uncontrolably. I gently return her to her side so she looks untwisted. I give her a massage through her neck and shoulders periodically.

    DAY 4:
    - Still force feeding. I don't like the baby food because it doesn't have the proper nutritional balace for birds. There isn't near enough protein. I tried mixing chick starter with water and feeding with the syringe, but it clogs.
    - Bought a baby bottle for kittens and cut the tip off. Ground the crumbles into a fine powder with my mortar and pestle. Ground an equal amount of meal worms (something like 50% protein) into a fine oily powder. Ground 1/2 B-Complex tablet and mixed all three ingredients together. Dillute with water and electrolytes. Administered with baby bottle. Still clogs, but not as bad. Need to improve. Used same feeding and E/selenium schedule as before.
    - I give neck, back and shoulder massages. Gently straightening and moving her neck to un-kink it.

    DAY5:
    I am so discouraged at her complete lack of any progress. She looks so pathetic, I consider humane alternatives.....I tried calling Michigan State University Poultry Science and remembered that I can't afford them anyway. In for a penny, in for a pound. I was gonna try baby parrot mash, but I can't really afford that either. My Mom talked to someone that said heat can bring this on, and I happened accross an article from a Polish breeder at Tractor Supply Store that talked about genetic problems that can be inherited that predispose Polish to this.

    - Found a product called 'Ornabac' at the big box pet supply store in the parrot department. It is a B-complex formulated for birds, this felt like a better solution that trying to dose my little darling with human size pills of B-complex.
    - Blasted the air conditioning on the car ride home. She leans in the corner of her basket, unable to stand. She still rolls, flops, erraticly shakes head. Once in a while though, she gains a little control and attempts to preen her feathers.

    DAY 6:
    - E/selenium tab, 1 in morn and 1 at night
    - Finely ground chick starter & meal worm mix. This time I used the Ornabac instead of the human B-complex tab. No water.

    As I started to bottle feed today, using leftovers in the bottle, I noticed that she tried to peck at the bottle and had a reasonable amount of aim. So I tried putting the dish of dry food low where she could see it. She was able to control her head and eat for intervals of 5 or 6 seconds. Then her head would return to the upside-down position. If I lifted it just a bit, she would return to eating the dry food. Her eyes are more alert, she raises her head sideways off the ground and she preens herself with very good muscle control moving her head to both sides and in all directions. While preening she can stand upright without leaning on the side of the basket. If I set her down on open ground, she still has bad balance, but when she begins to roll she is better at getting right way up. Only can walk backwards.

    I continued to hold the bowl throughout the day. With more practice she can raise her head 1" off the ground to get food from the bowl. But she has to see it with a particular eye. I start moving the bowl away as she is eating in an attempt to get her to walk forward. At first this causes violent head thrashing when she tries to take a step forward. She chirps angrily and roll around. I massage her when this happens and do it again. I continued this routine for 12 hours today. She has started to take steps to follow the food while eating. She can ONLY move forward while she is pecking at food. But she is more active and alert. She still mostly leans on the side of the basket for support, but she can hold herself on her feet without rolling about all the time. Her poops look normal now....MUCH better than when I was trying to feed her food that made me feel comfortable!!!!!

    - Temps are down in the high 60's and low 70's
    - Water is still administered with a syringe and contains electrolytes
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  2. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Urban Jungle
    [​IMG]
    Here is the patient on day 2 when we discovered her problem. My honey is holding her upright for the photo. Otherwise she just tumbles without control.
     
  3. OHhappychicks

    OHhappychicks Overrun With Chickens

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    AAWWW! Such a sweet little thing! [​IMG] I had a little cochin banty roo that got sick. He got to the point of not being able to walk. This went on for a couple of months. I doctored him with vit b or e I cant remember now. Its been about 2 yrs ago. I even took him to a vet. But she didn't doctor birds and couldn't really help. I finally called a kind vet that does doctor birds and he told me over the phone, without see him that he probably had some kind of abcess inside. We did all we could but finally we put him down. He got so weak and was losing interest. Just hang in there! You've gotten her this far! It sounds like changing to the bird vitm has made an improvement! I'm not familiar with wry neck, but I hope [​IMG] your efforts will be rewarded. Keep us posted!
     
  4. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    dshappychicks : Thank You for sharing your story, and for the words of encouragement.




    DAY 7:
    Still eating independently. I missed the night dose of Vit.E. Just got so busy that I forgot it, but then I'm not good at recalling to take my own medicine when I'm sick either. Living in hope. Worried she didn't get enough to eat today, her crop hasn't been full at all. Despite the fact that she pecks at food with enthusiasm.
     
  5. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I have a Silkie & a Polish hen that have it again now, it reoccurs every so often.. Vitamin E is very important. I have found a goat vitamin E & Sel gel paste from Jeffers that works very well and is easy to give. Scrambled egg is good to feed them or wet down feed. Poultry Nurti drench vitamins in water are good also. Any stress causes them to twist up more, it takes some time about 2 weeks normally to correct itself.. and just when it seems normal, I treat for another week. If you stop too soon it just goes back to twisting.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  6. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickenzoo--- Thankyou for your words of wisdom and experience. It is helpful, especially today.


    DAY 8:
    Having a bad day. Not eating independantly and starting to flop and spasm more again. VERY tired. I hold her through the spasms and hold her at the dish so she can peck comfortably to get a little nourishment. Am still doing the vitamins. It seems like she is shutting down. My last resort is the prednisone. I'm going to try that tonight right before bed. Say a prayer and hope for the best.....
     
  7. Dowie

    Dowie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2011
    [​IMG] I hope the prednisone works. You are so good, I hope it pays off for the little baby.
     
  8. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    One thing I found helpful was wrapping their neck in a mailing "air pillow" or taking a plastic ziplock bag, filling it partly with air, zip it closed and then make a pillow around the neck /tape it , to help keep it straight/rest it on. It helped stretch out the muscles, but they didn't like it at first and would roll about trying to pull it off. i think when they did manage to get it off they seemed straighter. I had no luck with pred. Up the Vitamin E if no improvements are seen. It often looks worse before it gets better..... hoping she will pull out of it, but only you can judge her quality of life............ [​IMG] My one Silkie I had a long time ago would be fine if she didn't see me, but as soon as she saw me she's get so excited she would wry up again..... until she calmed down.
     
  9. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WOW, so I'm seriously deficient at posting regular updates...... It has been 13 days since the last time I posted.

    - Started the prednisone that night like I planned. Crushed a 10mg pill and mixed it into 3cc of water. Gave a dose of 1/2cc in the morning and at night until I used up two pills.
    - When the weather is cooler, she is much more alert.
    - Still putting 1 packet of Ornabac on her food a day. Same food mixture as before. I also give her copious amounts of greens which she eats with enthusiasm and seems to encourage her to stay upright for longer periods of time.

    - Had to leave her in my other half's care for a couple days..... He can't manage to give her the vitamin E, so she hasn't been getting it. Oddly on the days when she didn't have it, she was much more active and talkative. He tried to put a brace on her neck to keep it up, however he abandonned that almost immediately because it distressed her to much. Instead he spent the day holding her head up for her.... she spent the day cooing and sleeping in his hand.

    - Now into the last three days.... She is only apart from us when the lights go out. My guy would probably have her in the basket next to the bed all night if it weren't for the cats. She already is kept at the dinner table and next to the computer.....wherever he goes. I tried starting the E vitamins up on her again, but she would act lethargic and not eat as much dry food. Not sure if there's any correlation.... but I don't do the E at all now. Just Ornabac, tons of greens and dry food with worms. I am on my third pill of prednisone: this time I crushed half of the 10mg pill, mixed that into 3cc of water and give her a 1/2cc in the morning and at night.

    - All this time we have still had to give her water with a syringe; by dripping it on the side of her beak. Yesterday I was able to hold her at a dish of water and she would get a drink on her own... with some head support so she could swallow properly. She spends a lot more time standing and preening. She talks to us incessantly. Recognizes when we say her name, and LOOOVES to talk along to Barbara Streisand musicals!! She still can't walk forward or hold herself upright without leaning on the wall of the basket.
     
  10. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Urban Jungle
    June 26, 2011 8:00pm

    I got home tonight and the basket has been upgraded to a 2 foot square box with room to move around. Mike met me at the door eager to show me a video. There was my Weeble walking in circles in the yard! Not leaning on anything, not tumbling around aimlessly with her head bent under, but walking. Her head still is cocked to the side, it still dips under her when she loses concentration and she still has fits that make her tumble and squeal with frustration. But she stands up and maneuvers with intention and direction to get to food. I even saw her stretch her wings in the air and flap them without falling over. Drinking water by herself is still a little to much for her. But progress at last!! It is a relief to see a step forward. She even rests with her head in a more normal position, instead of flipped under her body.

    -- A side note: I trimmed her head feathers mostly off. Every time her head flipped under her, she would step on her crest feathers and get super mad. So I gave her a very streamlined "swoosh" haircut. Quite stylish for an upside-down crested polish. And she doesn't step on it, or get it as messy.
     

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