UPDATE: Running Backwards/Seizures? Big Ethel is on the Mend! Mash Recipe Included

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lust4life, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. lust4life

    lust4life Out Of The Brooder

    RE: Jersey Giant Running Backwards with Twisted Neck, having possible seizures:

    We're now convinced it is some type of seizure disorder. Two days ago she had a classic grand mal seizure brought on by the stress of trying to catch her to give her her vitamins.

    The good news? She is MUCH improved now after a few days of vitamins and minerals. She still spends more time than the others looking at the ground and preening her breast, but she is now walking pretty normally, eating very well, and perching with no problems. There is no more running backwards, getting stuck in corners, or twisting her neck around/clenching her feet. She is also vocalizing less of that weird chirrrrruuuppppping chirp.

    Here's what we did: It's not really scientific, but we wanted to cover all our bases.

    We made the following "MASH" which we gave to all 12 chicks.
    This is because Big Ethel got so stressed with the handling that she would seize, and also she wouldn't eat if separated from the flock.
    IF THIS WAS FOR JUST ONE CHICK (she's about 8 weeks), I'd cut it by six or more but make sure she gets all of if.
    (Good luck with force feeding this liquid! The mash is a lot easier if they're eating on their own)


    In a small saucer we mixed up:

    One crushed Selenium tablet (200 mcg)

    One Vitamin E capsule (400 iu) Poked a hole and squeezed it all out...

    One Calcium Capsule (1200 mg) plus Vit D3 (1000 iu) Squeezed out. It's pretty oily.

    One crushed egg shell (microwaved first for about 45 seconds to kill any pathogens. Or not :)

    Mixed this all together well then added

    One whole dropper of the Poly-vi-sol liquid baby vitamins (no iron)

    Diluted REAL Gatorade (the type with SUGAR, not with artificial sweeteners). Diluted to maybe half strength.
    Added about 6 tablespoons of the this liquid to make a sort of soup with the vitamins.
    It wouldn't function much as Electrolytes since it's in a mash, but they LOVE the bit of sugar and it does have Potassium which can't hurt.

    So it's about 1/3 cup or so of liquid at this point.
    Then we added just enough of regular chick starter, free range pellets, or some bread crumbles to make a thick mashy paste which we spread out in a big pan and let them at it.

    They all love it, (especially Big Ethel), and eat every last bite; even running around to clean off each other's beaks for the last crumbs.

    As I said, not scientifically perfect, but it gets the job done.
    None of them will get too much of anything, and since Big Ethel eats a good portion of it, the eggshells in particular, I know she's getting plenty of supplementation and she's definitely improving.

    We definitely learned a LOT this week!
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I must have missed something earlier about Big Ethel so I'm curious about the addition of the egg shell and calcium to the mash? Is calcium deficiency a cause of seizures?
     
  3. lust4life

    lust4life Out Of The Brooder

    Yes, definitely low serum calcium levels can cause seizures. (Think Eclampsia in pregnant women, among other things.) So that was the first thing I thought of. Also, with her being a Giant, I wondered if she was growing so fast that she needed supplemental calcium.

    I figured some extra Calcium wouldn't hurt, especially eggshells. The chicks do get chick grit, but who knows how much calcium is in that, so the Calcium capsules were just to get a fast dose into her system.


    You'd ***-u-me that a good quality commercial chick feed would have all the nutrients they need, wouldn't you? But I guess every bird is different and although all the rest are fine, Big Ethel obviously needed a bit more for whatever reason.

    Today, she's doing even better, running around (FORWARDS!:) and perching normally. She's still doing a bit of the preening with head tucked under, and some chirruping, but it's much, much less. This evening I even caught her taking a dust bath. (First I thought it was another seizure, then realized she was actually HAPPY.)

    I really think she'll pull through this and what a relief that is. I'll keep up with the mash every day for another few days and see how it goes. Meanwhile, some eggshell will be going in their diet on a regular basis.

    I'll try and post a pic of her, even though her feathers are a mess from all the thrashing around.


    What can I say? We got lucky this time. It's a learning experience!
     
  4. lust4life

    lust4life Out Of The Brooder

    Oh... funny.

    The filter took the first three letters out of "assume". (And here I was going for the joke of "when you assume, you make an *** out of you and me." That will get deleted too, certainly. [​IMG] )
     
  5. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    So Big Ethel is still a chick? Certainly if what you are doing is working, don't change a thing. The conventional wisdom though is not to feed layer feed to chicks under 18 weeks of age, because the high calcium content is not good for their developing organs. People with mixed age flocks will often feed a grower formula to the whole flock and offer egg shell on the side as a calcium source for the laying hens. So I guess I would advise not to add egg shell to the feed for all of them at this point, and just give the extra to Big Ethel since what you are doing for her seems to be working.
     
  6. lust4life

    lust4life Out Of The Brooder

    I agree that it's good to be cautious with any additives, so we're keeping supplementation to a minimum.
    And yes, Big Ethel is still a chick, now 9 weeks old. The eggshell/calcium was just to give her a boost for a few days if her levels were low. (Unfortunately, feeding her alone just didn't work.)
    Now we're tapering off to see how she does. I think tonight will be the last night they'll get the "super mash" but we'll continue hand feeding them some kind of mash made with other yummy goodies, because it really has been a great bonding thing for them. They used to run away when they saw me, now they run TO me because they love the stuff!

    They're all on the starter/grower, and the amount of calcium they're getting from the shell/capsule is pretty minimal since it's one shell split between 14 chicks and they've only gotten two so far. (That's because it's fall all and our girls are taking their annual break from laying. We'll give them a heat light in another week or so and they'll start up again sporadically through winter. We haven't had our own eggs for over a month now!)

    Today, Big Ethel looks 90% normal. If I didn't know she'd had such a severe problem, I probably wouldn't notice a thing.
    And the other chicks are a lot more friendly, especially now that I sing "MONSTER MASH" to them during feeding!
    (My husband thinks I'm nuts, which I probably am. Hey, whatever works, right?)
     
  7. lust4life

    lust4life Out Of The Brooder

    Just an update: As of today, Big Ethel is 100% BACK TO NORMAL!!!! No signs of over-preening, nor anything out of the ordinary. We still do a mash every evening, which they really look forward to, but just with a bit of infant vitamin.


    We started adding Wheat Germ (high in B vits/Vit E), along with a bit of Parakeet seed, (they love the colored bits.) The only real benefit of it at this point is the bonding. They come running to me now and eagerly eat out of my hand. And Big Ethel still gets her own bit of eggshell every now and then.

    We'll never know exactly what part of our treatment worked, only that something we did gave Big Ethel whatever she needed to overcome her seizure problem.
     
  8. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Glad she is doing so much better!
     

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