Wry Neck Success

Helen_Jayne

Songster
Jun 7, 2018
87
132
116
Sheffield, UK
Hi, I thought I would post this for information for anyone else dealing with wry neck. I have a 5 week old silkie which I noticed for a few days was sitting crouched low but I thought maybe it was just because she had reduced sight due to the beard which had just come. Then she suddenly was unable to lift her head and was very still, not eating or drinking. It is a disturbing sight.

That was 3 days ago and she has made a very good recovery although some way to go until she will be totally better. I separated her from the others and put her in a crate in a spare bedroom so she couldn't hear them. I put a teddy in which she seemed to think was a hen and covered the crate most of the way with a blanket to keep the light low.

To start off I had to blend scrambled egg in a coffee grinder with some water to make a paste and added a capsule of evening primrose oil and vitamin e. I followed the very helpful instructions in this video:
which helped me to feed her by supporting her body in a towel - after spooning the paste onto her beak a couple of times she suddenly came alive and started to eat like mad. I had to get her under a brighter light at this stage to get her to wake up enough to eat and keep nudging her to wake up but she ate the lot.

The next morning she was brighter and from then on I was able to feed her scrambled egg (shells included), with a small amount of marmite (yeast extract) for the b vitamins and the vitamin e / evening primrose capsule. I was still adding a bit of water to the food as I wasn't sure she could drink without asphyxiating and I sprinkled a bit of probiotic powder in as she did have diarrhea.

By this morning she is able to eat normally without me holding her although she does flick the egg about a lot! She can drink water normally, however I don't EVER leave the food and water in with her as she could still take a turn for the worse and drown in it. I feed her every couple of hours during the day.

I know people feed selenium supplement for this but it is very toxic if you give them too much so quite dangerous. It can cause liver hemorrhage. Egg is high in selenium and contains a lot of protein which they need. Interestingly my Dad said they always gave egg to their chicks and never had a case of wry neck. I feel to blame partly because I have been giving them treats like sweetcorn and courgette so they could have ended up not getting enough vitamins and protein from the complete food. I think seriously limiting treats and feeding some egg as well can protect against this and will be doing it in future.

I think as well as the feeding the key thing has been keeping her in a quiet place where she feels safe with the teddy and not stressing her at all. The sweet thing is that she thinks I'm a chicken now and trusts me completely. When the other chicks saw her again one of them came and roosted on my lap which was very touching considering normally they run away from me at every opportunity. It felt great because it was no coincidence and they realised I had been helping her.

I think looking after a little animal (when they get better) is such a wonderful thing. It makes you feel good to value all life. We tend to think that animal's lives are less valuable than humans but actually all life is very valuable, human life just even more.
I hope this helps anyone else in the situation and I will post a picture when she recovers completely!
 
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Helen_Jayne

Songster
Jun 7, 2018
87
132
116
Sheffield, UK
Maybe I was a little hasty. I thought I'd write about this as information for anyone else treating this as I can't find that much out there about it. The chick is a lot better than she was, she can lift her head up, eats and drinks a lot and is active (if you call going around in cirlces active) but she is like what I can only describe as a brain-damaged chicken.
When she eats she throws the food around like she can't control her head and her head, although she can hold it up, twitches everywhere. She still wants to nestle in the crate like a chick. She stands on the teddy and shouts when she's hungry or she hears my voice but straight after she eats she wants to sleep again.
It's always a tough call with little animals, have I done the right thing trying to save her? She doesn't seem to be suffering but what sort of life is it going to be for a brain damaged chicken?
 

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