Poor little chick has constant head shakes- Can anyone help me?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Aun <HIS><, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. Aun <HIS><

    Aun <HIS>< Songster

    Jun 28, 2007
    New Hampshire
    I bought this silkie chick at a day old from a woman who hatched eggs that she ordered from someone on the internet. The chick (Clementine) came on the first day shaking her head every 3 seconds or so. She's 5 weeks old now, and continues to have this constant head shaking, even when she's asleep. She likes to wedge her head under something while she's asleep to keep her head still, just so she can even sleep. Otherwise, she wakes up and cries every minute or so. I'm so worried about this poor girl, I've researched for weeks on this site and on the internet and I can't find anything that it could be.

    It's not because of noise, I don't think she has a blocked nare, I guess she could have ear mites, but I can't find any information about how to treat that, or what to treat it with. [​IMG] She does scratch head sometimes, but infrequently.

    She eats fine, drinks fine, poo is normal, good energy. But she just can't get any rest. Please, please, what do I do for her?
  2. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Bless you for caring for this little chick. I love her name!

    I don't really know what to tell you - I've never heard of a chicken getting ear mites, and certainly not a day-old one.

    My first guess would be that it is something neurological. I am not very familiar with Silkies, but I think I remember reading on here somewhere that they have fragile skulls (or incomplete skulls - ?). If the lady ordered them on the internet and they were shipped, maybe little Clementine got injured.

    Hopefully one of the Silkie experts will be along to help. Otherwise, my only advice would be to consult an avian vet. Good luck. [​IMG]
  3. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

  4. Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies

    Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Silkies seem to be more fragile than a lot of breeds.
    I have had countless hundreds of silkie chicks I had 2 chicks that did this and eventuall out grew it but I did give them extra effort/care.
    I have wondered if it is not a very mild case of what is refered to as crookneck/lumberneck. You may want to do
    some of the things recomed below. It couldn't hurt and my help.

    Treating LimberNeck / CrookNeck in Silkies

    I totally agree with the info in the links I listed below. It is a great post.
    And the only thing I can add is that besides a head injury from a bump or an otherwise harmless peck that was just a bit to rough in the wrong spot.
    I have seen this condition come on suddenly from a bird being totally shocked/frightened/stress
    and also from what some of us think may be a lack of something in the diet. Possible a lack of protein among other things,
    so I always suggest that Silkie owners give little to no cracked corn to Silkies as it has very little nutritional value
    and corn is already present in the feeds we buy.
    Speaking of feed in a lot of them the major protein source is Soy and so I also recomend that for snacks people introduce good protein snacks such as
    boiled/scrambled eggs, dried Kitten food "FISH/BEEF", moist dog food that comes in the clear plastic bags, Meal Worms,
    None of this will be expensive to give as protein rich snacks not as a replacement to poultry feed.
    Give in small amounts PLEASE your chickens are NOT Dogs & Cats you do not want to over load them on ingredients that were formulated for another species.
    And I have noticed that by adding an assortment of healthy snacks I see less and less of Crookneck in my flock.
    I like to make a warm wet crumble for my birds.
    I put 2/3 cup of crumbles in a bowl and to that I add 1/3 cup of HOT water with a few drops of liquid Vitamins and a cap full of Molasses and the oil from one Vit E pill.
    Stir it and pour hot liquid into crumbles, MIX FAST you want it evenly moist/crumbly not totally mushy.
    Sit with the baby and encourage him to peck at the food by moving it with your fingers or picking up bits and letting it fall to get their attention. they will try to eat it,
    you may have to hold/support their necks a bit or even hold the bowl up for them. Persistence with helping them eat and drink will make all the difference.
    Also some people like to try and massage the necks.
    I have never had a bird cure its self.
    Do as many of the suggestions listed as you can.
    It will most likely get worse if not treated, Then it is harder to treat because the bird will need more hands on attention.
    You want to avoid it getting to that point.
    Start treatment as soon as possible. PUT V&E in the water.


    Alan of BrownEggBlueEgg did such a great job on this subject that I thought you all would like to look at his links if you have not all ready seen them.

    CROOKNECK - http://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/Crookneck/Crookneck.html
    VAULTED SKULLS - http://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/HoleInHead.html

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2008
  5. Aun <HIS><

    Aun <HIS>< Songster

    Jun 28, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Thank you all SO much for your responses.

    I have only two silkie chicks in the brooder, and a grown backyard flock of 17 standards.

    Fluf, what did you do to give extra effort/care to the ones that outgrew the head shaking? The things listed for crookneck? I haven't given them any snacks, except for earthworms once. I'll try the recommendations for crookneck, thank you so so much. I hope that helps her.

    I'll let you all know how it goes in a week or so.

  6. annmarie

    annmarie Songster

    Nov 20, 2007
    I'm so glad you posted this! My "Golden Comet" (romantic name for a red sex link, I believe) did this too when she was a chick. I think I noticed it around a week old, and it continued for quite a while. I always worried that she wasn't able to get adequate rest since she would do the head shake even when she was trying to sleep. Like your darling Clementine though, she didn't show any signs of illness, so I waited it out and eventually (after a month or two I think) it went away. Being a sex link, she does have that leghorn cross in her, so I couldn't help but wonder if it was some kind of nervous tick.

    RUHAMA In the Brooder

    Aug 29, 2007
    :)Thanks ya'll. I just came on line to try to figure out what is going on and what to do for Frosty. A three week old Silkie chick who just started having his head turned side ways yesterday, but increased today. I had given them some corn mixed in their feed "for fun" (had not done that for this young of chicks before). I have gone out and bought vitamin supplements and started giving them high-protein snacks. Frosty is still eating well so hopefully this will clear up quickly. I will stick to the chick start and the cat food treats like I had done before. I had not had sick chicks before so it obviously works. Thanks again for this wonderful resource.
  8. fallenweeble

    fallenweeble Songster

    Dec 4, 2007
    i LOVE that so many people care and want to help other chickens and their guardians!!!
    this place is great.
  9. Aun <HIS><

    Aun <HIS>< Songster

    Jun 28, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Annmarie, It really does look like a neurological tic. I'm so glad you posted and told me about your chickies with the same thing that outgrew it. Yeah! I hope that happens with Clementine!

    Ruhama, let us know how Frosty does. I hope she gets better real soon. [​IMG]

    fallenweeble, the people here are so wonderful. I have had chickens for years and years, and have learned more in the past year than in all the years before. It's a wonderful resource and a nice community of people. If you're new, welcome!

  10. karri25

    karri25 Songster

    Feb 5, 2007
    I'm not trying to steal your topic but one of my silkies does this Stevie Wonder thing that really freaks me out. Is that what your head shaking looks like? I have been giving them some supplemental vitamins but it is just really weird looking. It's not all of the time but every now and than he/she does it.
    I hope that your baby gets better. Mine is named Yettie b/c she/he waited so long to be named it was "Yet to be.."

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