suddenly ill cockerel, help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chella, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. chella

    chella In the Brooder

    I have an Ameraucana cockerel I purchased (with two hens) 2 months ago ... quarantined & naturally wormed ... everything went well introducing them to my existing flock of 8 hens. He is 7 months. His behavior has been very active and healthy til now. He was fine free ranging in the yard with the others yesterday, into the coop at night (my daughter did notice him not on the roost but standing/sitting on the floor last night, she put him on the roost and he seemed fine at the time). This morning I opened the coop he was just laying on the floor, he didn't startle or thrash to get up ... it is like he is immobilized and his head/neck is twisted as well. I have administered rescue remedy, arnica, and colloidal silver to start with ...little signs for interested in food or water. He shows little signs of holding himself up or movement other than breathing and eyes and the occasional beak.

    What could it be? What more do I need to do? Can he recover from this mysterious sudden onset?

    Michele Moorhouse
    New Jersey, USA

  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Could he have gotten into something rotten? What do his poops look like? Is he losing any feathers?
  3. chella

    chella In the Brooder

    no feather loss.
    no diarrhea so it seams, he hasn't pooped since I've had him inside.
    no other unusual excretions. no respiratory issues.
    he is drinking from a dropper.

    when I talk to him he is seeming alert turns his head, makes little curious noises.

    when I move him (transition him) he will flop a wing ... but he makes no effort to stand on his feet and he isn't holding his head up at all and it's curled/twisted back.

    he seems content to stay still and calm, almost like he's resting/sleeping - when I pet him he will acknowledge it with a noise or move his beak or his head . Oh, He just put one leg/foot in weight bearing position, now two -could this be some progress - but he's leaning against the tub wall (container he's in) and his head is down and to the side (supported some too) - likely still curled.

    I'm considering giving him electrolytes and/or antibiotic - I would have to run out for this.
  4. chella

    chella In the Brooder

    I don't believe he has gotten into anything rotten - but I wouldn't know for sure because they free range on our property.
    None of the others (Hens) have any symptoms.
    OH, he just pooped - it was a small amount and not dense & solid, but having a liquid poo is not that unusual for my flock daily. it wasn't any smelly-er. It clearly contained plant/grass (seemingly less digested) What else should I look for?
    I will be checking the yard carefully in a few minutes.
  5. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Crowing

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    Poor guy. Try doing a search on wry neck on BYC. See if the symptoms seem to match what you see. I think I read that supplementing certain vitamins can help treat some cases of wry neck. I hope this helps.

  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I would skip the antibiotics and electrolytes. Instead, I would start dosing him with some PolyViSol (without iron) and Vitamin E. You can give him the PVS straight into his beak without fear of giving him too much. Any that is not used by the body will be flushed out. The Vit E you need to be more cautious with because you can poison him if you give him too much. Just snip open a capsule and give it to him in his mouth.

    I am thinking he has one of 3 things going on:
    Vitamin deficiency/wry neck
    Marek's Disease

    These seem to be the likely culprits based on the info presented. You should familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of these problems, and rule them out as you can.

    Keep us posted.
  7. Chinchilla2

    Chinchilla2 Songster

    Jun 9, 2011
    Red Rock
    My first thought is that he could have tumbled down off the roost and hurt himself. I'd follow CMV's advise for initial care and keep an eye on him since his not climbing up on the roost on his own points to either getting hold of something that doesn't agree with him or not getting enough of something in his diet.

    Why in the world are people so quick to jump on the Marek's wagon? I mean that's like declaring someone has viral pneumonia because they let out a cough. Marek's is bad, I'll grant you that but not every bird who doesn't want to move has Marek's.
  8. OregonChickenGal

    OregonChickenGal Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    Central Oregon
    Another chicken could have landed on top of him jumping from the roost. Keep him separated and keep an eye on him.
  9. chella

    chella In the Brooder

    Thanks everyone for input so far.

    Based on symptoms ... and reviewing marek's, botulism and wry neck, it seems most like like Wry Neck - I've started vitamin dosing ... using poly-vi-sol and E ... I can not yet find liquid (or soft caps) of selenium ...

    What time span should I see improvements ... so I know we are on the correct path?

    mostly left to himself ...he is still, calm - eyes closed, sleeping. When disturbed (pick up or petted) he angles his head and makes happy little noises, at times but more rarely he adjusts his weight to slightly support himself on his legs but still not standing and/or wraps his foot around like he's perching on my hand/finger. Although this is far from normal, he doesn't seem in dis-stress or pain.

    I want to give him something for nutrition ... what is recommended? ... egg (like with chicks). He is only taking liquids from a dropper.

  10. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    It may be some time- a week plus before you start to see improvement. If he suddenly deteriorates then I would be looking for something else, but as long as he maintains then you are probably on the right track.

    As far as nutrition goes- you can give him some scrambled eggs if he will eat it. If not you may need to look at a slurry of some kind- like either his feed wet down to a liquid consistency or some of the baby parrot hand-feeding formulas.

    I hope this helps.

    Chinchilla2- No one is jumping on the Marek's wagon, but anytime a bird presents with something that looks like some weakness/paralysis is present, it would be foolish not to consider that Marek's might be the cause. Chances were slim in this case, which is why I mentioned it last, but the chance was still there and I would be remiss in not mentioning it. Botulism and Marek's disease are frequently initially mistaken for each other.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by