Weird Twisted Neck on Adolescent Chick / Cannot Stretch Out Neck

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by htollvr, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. htollvr

    htollvr Out Of The Brooder

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    I have three Cochin chicks, about three months old. I have one chick, Goldie, who has been through the mill, being injured, nursed back to health, and re-injured multiple times.

    The injuries involved one leg not working, a wing not working, walking backwards, and gradually healing. But each time, the injury gets worse (the males are sitting on her, re-injuring her; now she's separated out permanently). I don't know what caused the injuries — the males? — or whether the males' treatment of her is simply exacerbating something that was already there. The last time, she was lying on her side, with both legs stretched out, and she sleeps in this collapsed position.

    It's been about two weeks, and she's eating on her own, but she doesn't seem to be drinking on her own. She'll drink if I put the water up to her beak and dunk it. She walks around, but just squats, and her head is right up against her body, and her beak is open a lot, as if she has trouble breathing.

    This morning, I checked this lump that seems to be growing on the side of her shoulder, and it's her neck, which is twisted into a sort of U shape. It comes out, does a hairpin turn, and then ends up back at her body. So instead of her neck stretching out straight, it turns so that her head is by her body, looking to the side. She does not appear to be able to stretch it out straight. She's not growing and is about 1/3 the size of the other two.

    Has anyone heard of such a thing?

    I've had trouble upon trouble with starting out with chickens, and this is my daughter's favorite. I've emailed about her problems before, and it just seems to be one thing after another. I know it's a chicken, not a person, but we've lost her favorite chicken, Snowball, to either a disease or a predator attack that killed the entire flock. Now I feel responsible not to lose her hand-picked favorite again. I even have them living on the back porch to protect them and be able to care for them more easily, so it's incredibly frustrating for this to be happening again.

    THanks,

    HEidi
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2009
  2. The Chickens' Maid

    The Chickens' Maid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How does she drink? Can she tilt her head up far enough to drink normally? Maybe one of those waterers that attaches to the wall and has a tube that the bird drinks from would help. I think they're usually used for indoor birds.
    Is the squatting constant? If it isn't, maybe she's just maturing? It sounds, off the top of my head, like a neurological problem combined with her neck being malformed.
    I would be concerned that she's not growing, though. Are the other two chicks both males? If they are, and she's the only female, then she may just be small. I would take a picture of her, or find an old one, and compare it to her in a few weeks. Also, what does she eat? You could give her yogurt to help with digestion.
    Where did you get them? If you can talk to the previous owner, maybe they noticed that she acted differently before you got her, although it may not have been a cause for concern then.
    I'm praying for you and your daughter; I know how hard it is to lose your favorite.
     
  3. htollvr

    htollvr Out Of The Brooder

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    <<How does she drink?>>

    I haven't seen her drink by herself in a few days, so I pick her up and put her beak into the water to make sure she stays hydrated.

    <<Maybe one of those waterers that attaches to the wall and has a tube that the bird drinks from would help.<<

    If she doesn't get better, I'll try that.

    <<Is the squatting constant? If it isn't, maybe she's just maturing?>>

    She gets up and moves around, but not much. When she walks, she falls over and one wing is definitely scraping the ground.

    <<It sounds, off the top of my head, like a neurological problem combined with her neck being malformed.>>

    She wasn't like this as a chick. She's been through a number of injuries, and after the last one, this weird twisting started. Her neck looks like a sideways hairpin. It's really awful.

    Someone suggested a thiamine deficiency, so I ground up a vitamin (mine) and put it in her water and gave her a number of drinks. I'll keep at her with it for the rest of the day to make sure she gets some extra vitamins in her.

    She's not eating today, so I put her outside with the males, but with the top part of the rabbit cage over her so they can't get to her. They are really hot to mount her, which is how some of the injuries happened. I've found her upside-down and all twisted. So there is a good possibility of neck injury.

    Once she was outside, she started trying to stand up and she even tried to peck at the food a little, so that made me feel better. But now she's just hunching down again.

    <<I would be concerned that she's not growing, though. Are the other two chicks both males? If they are, and she's the only female, then she may just be small.>>

    She stopped growing after the first major injury. She's only three months old or so, and she's had at least three major episodes in which I thought I'd lost her. I figure her body is putting all of its energy into trying to repair itself and doesn't have anything left over for growing. She did start re-growing after injury #2, but not since this last one. Poor girl.

    <<You could give her yogurt to help with digestion.>.

    I'll try that. Thanks.

    <<Where did you get them? If you can talk to the previous owner, maybe they noticed that she acted differently before you got her, although it may not have been a cause for concern then.>>

    He breeds them by the thousands, so he wouldn't remember. Nice guy, doing it out of his own gentleman's farm, but he sees a lot of birds.

    <<I'm praying for you and your daughter; I know how hard it is to lose your favorite.>>

    Thanks. It was hard enough the first time. It would be even harder the second time around. She keeps asking me why we can't take the chicken to the doctor like we do the dog and the cats.

    Thanks for the great advice!
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2009
  4. The Chickens' Maid

    The Chickens' Maid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How is your chick?
     
  5. htollvr

    htollvr Out Of The Brooder

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    About the same, thanks for asking. She does seem a little livelier, but only incrementally. I put her back outside with the males (again, under the rabbit cage top) and I see her trying to walk around and flap. She looks so pathetic, though, because the way her neck is twisted, she is looking down all the time. I should go out and get some more water into her. I thought I saw her trying to drink on her own earlier, but I'm not completely sure. Now, she's just sitting there, staring at the ground, which is what she does most of the time.

    If it is a thiamine deficiency, how long should it take for her to bounce back? Do you know?

    Thanks,

    Heidi
     
  6. The Chickens' Maid

    The Chickens' Maid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unfortunately, I don't really know anything about most vitamin deficiencies. I did find this link, though: https://www.backyardchickens.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1049&start=0
    I'm
    not sure she should be put out with the males, though, even though they can't get to her. If they caused her injury, she may be very nervous around them and would be using energy being scared that she could be using for healing.
    Also, can you post a picture of her?
    I hope she gets better; she really sounds like a trouper!
     
  7. htollvr

    htollvr Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a cute picture of her, but I cannot figure out how to upload it. How do I do that on a forum?
     
  8. The Chickens' Maid

    The Chickens' Maid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First, you click on "Uploads", at the menu on the top of the page. A new window will pop up. You click "Browse", then you double-click on the picture that you want to upload. After that, you click "Submit". The picture will be uploaded and will have two options, "Thumb" and "Image". Highlight the "Image" URL, right click on it, and copy it. Then you go to your post and right click and then click "Paste".
     
  9. htollvr

    htollvr Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. htollvr

    htollvr Out Of The Brooder

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    Here's my girl. She was doing well outside, then all of a sudden, I saw her fall over, land upside-down, and start kicking. I picked her up and she did it again. She's trying to scratch something on her head, then she falls over and twists all up. It was chilly outside and starting to snow (I had her in her rabbit cage area with lots of hay and a cover over a portion for warmth), so I brought her in. She keeps doing it over and over and over. I'm afraid to leave her for fear she'll fall in a funny position and suffocate.

    I'd crushed a human vitamin and put it into water to try to get some extra thiamine into her, in case that was the problem, and I gave her fresh, crushed corn for extra thiamine, too. She seemed to be doing a little better, a little stronger, so I don't know what happened unless she got chilled outside. Part of me wants to believe that her neck is healing and that's why she's scratching, because it feels different, but that's just me trying to make myself feel better, I think.

    There are no vets around here who do poultry and the local Tractor Store only carries general chicken vitamins, not thiamine, and they won't give any kind of advice.
     

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