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Silkies with no balance!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lindy, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. lindy

    lindy Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    I got some silkies a week ago, they are separate from my hens. They were never wormed. so i wormed them with the Piperazine-17 put it in there water, i did however not do it for 48 hours because the gal water ran out at night and i just filled it up with plain water. This was saturday, today is monday.
    I have a white hen that was off balance so i thought worming would be a good idea. she would run from me then just tumble to the side and then get up and do it again. its like she doesnt have a lot of balance. Today ONe of the black roos was doing the same thing.
    what is causing this? they are eating and drinking. they are on grass.
    Should i worm them again with the piperazine-17?
    I dont know what to do! Any suggestions? they are not the tamest birds, they were free ranged since they were born. then i got them. They were in a truck for three hours in a box. but they were all healthy looking.

    They are eating chick starter, i just read that it was medicated:(do you think that is what it is. i cant believe i didn't notice before. i thought i got gamebird feed. )
    they have fresh water, and they live in a isolation coop. its not to big about 4x4feet. its temp. as i wanted to put them with my existing hens after i found out they are healthy.
    I just went out and dusted them also.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  2. MotherJean

    MotherJean Songster

    Lindy, how old are these birds? Also, where did these birds come from and do you know what sort of conditions they were kept in? Any disease outbreaks at their former home that you know of? Did you see any worms being expelled in the droppings after you wormed them? This info will help narrow down the possibilities of what's wrong.

    In the meantime, keep all those new birds OFF the grass and isolated from your other birds until you figure out what's going on there. Worst case scenario is that these birds have something that is infectious (like Mareks) and you need to take extra precautions to protect your other birds. You would be wise to keep those birds separate from the rest of your flock for a minimum of 30 days - 60 days would be even better. Also, unless these birds are at least 5 or 6 months old, I'd keep them on the medicated feed. Last thing you need is to add coccidiosis to the equation.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  3. lindy

    lindy Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    I am not sure how old they are, they look full grown just not filled out yet, so probably 3-5 months old. there is also a year old hen in with them.
    they are away from my other hens. on the other side of the house, i dont have another spot to put them. I have never had my hens over on this grass, just the horse.

    The rooster doesnt have his streamers yet just hints of them. if that helps on age. They dont really have there chick voice anymore.

    The old owners never had a problem and have quit a few birds that are free ranged.
  4. MotherJean

    MotherJean Songster

    Given the age, I wouldn't suspect vitamin deficiency, but it's easy to give your birds vitamin supplements and not expensive so you might as well do that. Just don't overdo it. You'll need to just wait and watch these new birds to see if symptoms get worse or improve. Make sure to keep them totally separate from your other hens for a month to two months. Give us an update if you notice any new symptoms or worsening symptoms. I'm sure someone will step forward to try to help you.
  5. lindy

    lindy Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    well he was put to sleep today. he was so bad that he couldnt get up, he would try and just fall over and flap around. he had clear eyes and wanted food and water. he was also pooping on himself. the other chickens were just walking on him.
    he still tried to get away (he was tame) but he couldnt.[​IMG] I was hoping someone else had suggestions. as this never happened to me before.
  6. Amy's Animals

    Amy's Animals Songster

    Jul 8, 2009
    Southern Oregon
    Just bumping this post
  7. lindy

    lindy Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    now one of them, the head is shaking, back and forth. :(he isnt showing the paralyzing of the side like the other one did. I gave them yogurt yesterday hasnt been two weeks to worm them with ive yet.
  8. destiny_56085

    destiny_56085 Songster

    May 29, 2009
    Sleepy Eye, MN
    Fairly common with the silkies.... especially when you get into the ones with the huge vaults/crests. Here is an article I'm pulling off Alan Stanford's site for you.

    Cerebral Hernia
    From the Dutch Poland Club
    By Peter Jones

    Breeders of fowl the world over have reported a condition that seems peculiar to crested breeds, particularly birds with heavier crests than others. The onset of the condition is described as a wobble in the head which can increase in severity to the point where the head twists right around. . In some cases the bird looses its balance and mobility altogether. This is commonly called ‘cerebral hernia’.

    The Victorian Institute of Animal Science has conducted post mortems on breeds such a Polish and Silkies over the years. They confirm the existence of a mutation in the dominant gene for a crest. A mutation is a genetic copying error or mistake that occurs when the DNA from the parent bird’s meet and divide incorrectly in what is known as meiosis.

    The skull of a crested fowl is unique. Unlike other breeds, it is dome-like in structure and, in heavily crested chicks, there is a tendency for the skull to be underdeveloped. Like the fontanels of a human baby, the skull of crested fowls has openings.

    These are supposed to fuse in the normal way and usually do. However, this does not always occur and the result is exposure of the cerebellum (brain). Subsequently, a bird’s brain space remains venerable to the environment.

    Certain lines seem more predisposed to this condition, whereas other lines are seldom affected. Unsurprisingly, it is rare in adult birds, as their skulls have had the time to grow and fuse over. It is more prevalent with young birds between 1 and 4 months of age.

    Conditions and treatment.
    There are a variety of causal factors and distinct conditions each of which can display the symptoms described above.
    Type One
    Cerebral trauma or brain damage can actually happen to any young bird of any breed. It involves direct impact (ie a peck on the head) resulting in brain damage. Crested breeds could fare worse in such a situation. The brain is forced by the pressure of the impact and can ‘herniated’, swell or ooze out through the cranium.
    Type Two
    Cerebral oedema or swelling of the cerebellum is an internal reaction to the environment and can occur in at least two ways.

    Firstly, as a response to hot weather and change, an excess of fluid builds up as in the brain cavity, placing pressure on the centers of the brain, which govern mobility. The bird experiences vertigo (spinning sensation) and consequently loses its sense of balance. If left untreated this can lead to permanent brain damage. On occasion birds may recover and live with a permanent, but slight head wobble, continuing to eat and live with certain normality.

    Secondly, the same symptoms can occur with a respiratory condition. The immune system can respond to the invasion of bacteria or a virus by producing more fluid with similar results.
    Prevention is better than cure. By ensuring that your birds are vaccinated and well managed the breeder can keep disease challenge to a minimum and avoid the third scenario. Identifying lines that have this propensity and breeding away will help avoid heartbreak. Controlling temperature in extremes of weather can prevent this condition to some degree and ensuring that no foreign objects pose a threat to the birds’ welfare (ie checking perches, feeders etc are secure are all good preventative measures).
    There is no guaranteed cure if you have a bird with the condition. However, a vet friend administered an intramuscularly injection of cortisone with positive results. In this case the drug reduced the inflammation/swelling and the bird recovered.

    Other breeders have found that administering broad -based antibiotics have worked. The problem is that without a postmortem, you cant always isolates the cause. By then it is probably too late anyway.

    At the earliest detection of the condition I would use both cortisone and Baytril (antibiotic) to cover my bases. The longer a bird is left untreated, the harder it is to achieve recovery.
    Fortunately, the problem is not common. Edan Montgomery claimed that out of over 600 birds bred last year, about 5-6 developed the condition. Sadly, it is usually the heavily crested potential champs.
    By hatching in large numbers, line breeding rather than close in breeding, and practicing good management techniques, this condition is largely avoidable. Every breed has its hiccups. For crested breeds, this is one of them.

    On a positive note, the rewards of producing a champion far outweigh the occasional disappointment linked with this condition. It also goes to show the largely detrimental nature of mutations. They are rarely if ever an advantage!

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