Sick chickens-- mystery??????


Emu Hugger
14 Years
Mar 10, 2008
a bumpy dirt road in Florida
I have a lot of chickens, few of my yearling chickens started with bubbly eyes and weezing - no discharge,
Vet gave baytril,eye drops,told me to give Tylan. Stool sample and some expensive test showed nothing.They got better but sometimes reacures in my other birds, even ones in other pens. Then I noticed some of my silkies and bantms losing weight,getting weak and having trouble standing. Stool test showed worms so I wormed each chicken with fenabenazole, then again after two weeks. They still seem thin and some are still weak and have trouble walking. I lost two after much trying and effort to keep them eating. Vitamins in water, wet mash, scrambled eggs etc. Vet doesn't open till Monday - I'm at a loss. Put all on Sulmet now, hoping to help. Any one have any ideas???? They eat chicken grower, 3 grain scratch, have feeders always full.
Next case --- Chick born fine, 2 weeks later noticed head cocked to side looking up, now head turns all the way around eyes facing ground cheeks facing sky. Eats and drinks but walks in circles. Put a neck brace on him-he is not happy!!!! Can turn head back normal but often stays in upside down position.?????? Any one else had this problem????

I feel like a bad chicken mom, my horses seem easier right now.
Hi Chickenzoo - welcome to BYC.

I can't help you with your first problem but BOY do I recognize that second one - the crooked neck chick. That was my Ruth. Do a search and you will find all posts re: crook neck - or check out some of my posts about it.

Basically, she needs vitamin E capsules - cut the top off and squeeze out the goo. She should eat it. Ruth loved it. Also add Poly-Vi-Sol to water. Your post said she was still eating and drinking - that's great because once she gets too twisted she can't/won't eat and would have to be force fed. So for now, put the Poly-Vi-Sol (liquid baby vitamins) in her water or better yet - a drop or two directly in beak a couple of times a day. DHLUnicorn also recommends Selenium to help absorb the vitamin E but I never used that. Finally, feed it scrambled egg, dry cat food that has been soaked, fine shredded cheese and lots of diced up veggies and fruits.

From what I've seen with Ruth and from tracking every case of crook neck on this site, I've determined it is a malabsorption issue and chick starter feed just is not enough. They need vitamins and extra supplements.

As far as the neck brace - not sure she needs that and it is probably stressing her out - which you don't want - but I did gently massage Ruth's neck in an effort to get it straight. I had to wait till she relaxed in my hand and then I could gently work it straight - her's was badly twisted too. Once I held it straight, she could eat but not until. That's why it's important to act now - it's gets worse by the hour and a day can make a big difference.

There's another couple of threads on here by others who had crook neck chicks that followed my advice and their chicks healed great as well.

By the way, you will have to keep it up for a few weeks. The other person stopped as soon as her chick's neck went straight and the chick could eat again but it went twisted again a few days later and she had to continue treatment for a couple of weeks.
I am hesitant to advise you on medication for you first problem since you state they have already been on meds for a while... IMHO I would think they need a bit of a break with a good nutiritional/vitamin supplement and probiotic (antibiotics/meds are hard on their system ) ... I recommend AviaCharge 2000(you can order online from McMurry or Strombergs) as it is a complete supplement formulated in the correct ratio to each other... in addition to that I would give four drops of POLYVISOL in the beak once a day for a week then taper off the next (this is a childrens liquid A-B-D vitamin >vitA deficiency often goes hand in hand with respiratory/eye ailments and this will address that and the AviaCharge is for the rest because malabsorption of nutrients will occur with any illness) What are the temps where you are at? If cold I would put some heat on them as this will often help enormously. Cut out the scratch... what you can do is cook up some plain human oatmeal (in water not milk)and add just enough (not too much) to their feed to make it clump together...this will aid in digestion and makes it a bit more palatable also. Offer the yogurt free choice. Let their systems recover a bit from the meds before you decide to continue with another...if your vet gives you another med do tell him about the vitamins you are giving and exactly what is in them as some vitamins will interfere with the antibiotic (not all but some).

As to your little chickie with the crookneck symptom... there are MANY causes for this... (btw> is the starter medicated? If not your chickie may have cocci) What is the breed of this chick? ...................... vitamins will often help (vitE/selenium for instance is known to help with any neurological symptom or toxicity > the selenium has a narrow therapeutic range and you must not give it indiscrimitely so pm me if you can get it or just follow the dosage on Alan Stanfords crookneck treatment at the link I am giving you below Vit E alone at therapeutic levels cannot be absorbed by the bird without the selenium>the two are interdependent on each other)...
If the breeder parents were deficient then the chick will be too or easily become so. A chick that has been bullied away from the waterer can also develop this symptom especialy if it has become chilled (separating and keeping warm and dribbling water alongside its beak will help and if this is the problem you will see a marked improvement within a few hours) >make sure it stays hydrated and warm whatever you think the cause might be!!! A chickie becomes dehydrated VERY quickly and this will kill it quicker than whatever may be ailing it. Do not go giving it cheese or any ohter treats ... this will exascerbate any eventual deficiency problem... do not give it hard cheese as their is too much salt in that and salt toxicity also causes crookneck! You can give it live culture yogurt (which in addition to the probiotics is also a source of nutrition and hydration when the chickies is unable to eat its starter)... In addition you should give three drops of POLYVISOL (childrens liquid A-B-D vitamins) once a day into beak as this provdes the other vitamins also associated with this symptom (A and B)
Here is a link to my collected info on the symptom and you will see the many situations where this symptom can occur... (the vitamin supplementation often helps regardless of the cause):
Would you check your birds over again, listen to their chests for rales-rattling, look down their throats with a flash light, note color of ridges, anything unsual - white or yellow spots in mouth or down their throat, anything in the cleft in roof of mouth, nares clear or blocked inside, ???? ILT could be a strong possibility; antibiotics can cause head tucking in chicks and adults. For sure follow Ruth's recommendations with the E, et... you may want to contact Peter Brown first state vet supply about symptoms maybe even put him and your vet together to discuss this; you may find you need vaccine to protect the rest ofyour birds. Mean while they need a hospital situation/warm pen or cage, heat lamps they can get under or away from so they do not have to maintain their body heat while sick, absolutely no drafts.
Hope this helps. Cath
I should have added *** follow Diane's and Ruth's advice, RUN, do not walk, about checking out infectious larengotrachitus, even it it isn't ILT, sounds like you may have aother very nasty virus/mycoplasma that has to be addressed right away beofre you lose them all.
Fall 2007, a family with sick chickens with the same symptoms in Oakland MI, (this family knew not to show,I was, WAS is the key word, their mentor). The Oakland Co. fair people let them show silkies and meat birds that did not act actively sick, even though they admitted they had sick, sick birds at home;**** they spread ILT everywhere. Same symptoms.
ILT spreads easily, and often spreads through flocks the way you are describing. Check your state rules before you test and vaccinate and with which vaccine. Many people/farms in the Holly area had their poultry come down with ILT, after and during the fair, even though they did not attend. There was speculation that the show staff or his family or customers from the fair could have spread it to the show staff's family feed store... that is how easy it can spread.
Thank you every one for your help. I will follow your advice and let you know how it goes.
The crooked neck chick is a silkie, his parents are fine with no signs of illness or deformities that I can tell.
will get the vitamins and do the massage etc. He seems like a fighter.
I live in North FL. so weather right now goes from cold to hot to cold to hot, I'm keeping them at the best temp I can , HaHa. All the weak chickens will recieve the vitams also, eggs etc. Hope I can keep my goldenlaced hen going until the vet opens tomorrow.She's very thin and her one leg is weak, don't hear any rattles in chest at this time. She is eating/drinking and I've confined her to the house
The crooked neck chick is a silkie, his parents are fine with no signs of illness or deformities that I can tell.

See the link in that thread >Alan Stanford on crook neck from head injury...

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