GypsyVanner

In the Brooder
Aug 15, 2019
7
17
21
Hi, I have a 9yr old Australorp hen and noticed when I went to lock her up tonight that her head is slightly tilted to the side. She seems to be able to balance ok (though not well) at this stage and was still able to eat.

From my research she may have wry neck. Nothing has changed in terms of her routine or diet so I am unsure of the cause. She is my only chicken at the moment.

I had a look through old threads on this site and it seems like the treatment usually involves vitamin e & b and selenium supplements as well as hand feeding/watering if necessary. Is this correct? Should I also put her on antibiotics?

In terms of the vitamin supplements, how do you administer them to a chicken? Are there poultry-specific supplements or are human ones ok to use?

In terms of selenium the suggestions I have seen were to feed scrambled egg, how often would you do this and how much would you give (she is significantly smaller than a standard Australorp hen, more like the size of an Isa Brown)?

Also, if syringing water is required how much would be appropriate and how often?

It's currently midnight here so I won't be able to do much until the morning, but any advice is appreciated. I have had this hen since she was hatched, so I really hope I will be able to help her recover from this. Thanks in advance.
 

azygous

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You can use people vitamins. Vitamin E 400iu with a sliver of selenium to help absorption is the usual treatment. Egg is a good source of selenium and should be given with the E until the issue resolves.

But it may not be classic wry neck. It could be Marek's or a toxic reaction to something she ate. In that case, the E treatment may not help much.
 

coach723

Free Ranging
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Feb 12, 2015
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Hopefully some others will give you some advice also. Since she is 9 years old, that is getting up there for a chicken, so this may be age related and may not get better. The vitamins are certainly worth a shot. You can use human ones if that is more convenient, I often do, it's easier to get them singly in human form for what you want since poultry vitamins are usually a mix. I would not give antibiotics unless you know that she's got something bacterial that they will actually treat. The antibiotics would also mess with her gut bacteria and no reason to do that unless it's really necessary. You can mix the vitamins in a bit of food that you know she will eat, they usually like scrambled or cooked chopped egg, so that is why it's usually suggested, and will provide a bit of selenium for the E. If she's not eating or drinking, then you will probably have to tube them. You can also mix them in a bit of softened coconut oil and then refrigerate or freeze til firm, and give like a custom pill. They usually like coconut oil and it goes down easy. If she's not eating or drinking then hydration needs to be done before feeding. You also need to check her crop to make sure it's emptying. Tubing more into a bird that isn't properly digesting will not help.
Tons of info here:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/updated-go-team-tube-feeding.805728/
 

GypsyVanner

In the Brooder
Aug 15, 2019
7
17
21
Thank you for your replies. Yes, I had considered it may be an age related issue, Mareks or something else entirely. For now the symptoms seem to fit with wry neck, and there is treatment available for that so the vitamins are worth a try.

She hasn't gotten any worse overnight which is a relief. Her head is still slightly tilted and her balance is a bit off but she is eating normally, walking around and has had a drink. I will buy some vitamin E supplements for her when the shops open and give her some with the egg.
 

coach723

Free Ranging
7 Years
Feb 12, 2015
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You might consider giving her some B complex as well. B's are water soluble, so no risk of overdosing them, the extra will be excreted. It may or may not help, but sometimes B deficiencies can have weird neuro-muscular symptoms.
 

GypsyVanner

In the Brooder
Aug 15, 2019
7
17
21
I gave my hen some of the egg and vitamin mix this morning and some more this afternoon.

I thought I was imagining it at first, but now I'm fairly sure her balance has improved, and she has been able to straighten her head a couple of times (for around 30sec), which is great.

Thank you all so much for your help. Hopefully she continues to improve over the next couple of days. I'll continue to give her the egg and vitamins.
 

azygous

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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That's the beauty of the vitamin therapy for wry neck. If it's caused by a deficiency, it responds very quickly to treatment. Continue until all symptoms have disappeared for a good week.
 

GypsyVanner

In the Brooder
Aug 15, 2019
7
17
21
I know this is a very late update, but I just wanted to thank everyone again for their advice.

Licorice (my 9yr old hen) made a complete recovery after about 5 days of the vitamins.

She is still happy & healthy, I just happened to think of this site and thought I would post an update. I have attached a recent photo of her. :)
 

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