Day old chick hanging head

alicate(SW Michigan, zone 5)April 15, 2008

One of our day old chicks hangs her head all of the time. I can't find any information about this on the internet. Does anyone have any experience with this or know what I could do? Thanks.

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You might want to try the emergency section on the backyard chicken forum. There are a lot of knowledgeable poultry people on there.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 6:38PM
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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)


I don't have anything helpful, but I'm curious where you're located. I'm in Galien, about 15 miles west of Niles.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 8:34PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Any other symptoms? Is it hanging it's head voluntarily, or is it because it cannot raise it's head? Does it stagger, lose it's balance and fall over, or peep in a distressed way? If so, it could have suffered a head injury (like a peck to the head) and has a brain injury or swelling of the brain. If you think this is it, I have a Selenium/Vitamin E treatment that is VERY sucessful. Let me know if you want it.

If you think it is being listless and not carrying on normally, you might offer it (and the other chicks) unflavored Pedialyte to drink (get it at the grocery store, in the baby aisle). Hatching and/or chicks that have been shipped have undergone a lot of stress, and Pedialyte replaces lost electrolytes and gives them a needed boost.

Is it eating and drinking normally? How are it's poops?

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 10:36PM
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alicate(SW Michigan, zone 5)


She can raise her head but she acts like she can't muster her energy to do so. I have been her some Poultry Nutradrench frequently and after that she starts walking around with her head up. After about five minutes she lays down and is back to constantly sleeping and when she does get up, she walk around with her beak to the ground.

She does seem to loose her balance and walks straight into other chicks. Since she can raise her head, I know it isn't broken. Some brain injury may be the problem. What is your remedy? Is it close to the drench that I use? I know this stuff has vitamin E in it. How would I get your stuff?

Thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 10:51PM
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alicate(SW Michigan, zone 5)


I guess I am really in West MIchigan minus the south! Grand Rapids is closest to us. :)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 10:53PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Here's the treatment for swelling of the brain caused by a head injury--to my knowledge it does no harm to try it, even if the diagnosis is wrong. I've used it on several chickens with this problem so severe that I thought they were goners for sure, and it worked miracles.

Crookneck/Limberneck In Birds

Symptoms range from inability to hold up head and kind of it twisting backward thru full convulsion. Another is that their legs won't hold up their bodies.

Here is the theory and therapy for what some call "limber neck" or "crookneck". The symptoms first show as a crook in the neck. It progresses to tucking the head, then tucking the head between the legs, then backing up, and tumbling over. The youngsters will make a distressed peeping.
It usually hits young birds but can happen at any age.

It is unclear what causes crookneck. American Silkie Bantam Club members suggest water on the brain, vitamin E deficiency, and injury to the brain that is outside the skull and forms the knob on the top of Silkie's heads.

Water on the brain was seen in a necropsy of an affected bird. Prednisone was suggested as symptomatic relief. Vitamin E and B complex are both good for neurological disorders. Selenium helps absorb vitamin E. Since prednisone is prescription-only, most people have to make do with what they can get at the grocery or drug store, which is the treatment below.

It is important to be sure the bird gets enough to eat and drink while it has this problem. Birds with severe cases of crookneck can't eat and drink enough to survive. If it isn't eating and drinking on it's own, you will need to gently place their head in the feed dish and carefully dip just the tip of the beak in water. Be careful not to dip too far into the water, and to not stress the bird while trying to help.

Daily Dosage:
400 IU of vitamin E (one human capsule)
Selenium 50 micrograms (You may have to get a higher strength tablet and cut it in half or quarters to get it down to 50 micrograms)

Crush the Selenium into a fine powder. Take a Vitamin E capsules and poke a hole in one end with a pin, then squeeze the liquid out into a tiny dish. Mix the powdered Selenium into the Vitamin E liquid using a wooden matchstick or something similar. Hold the chick in one hand, with the other scoop up a small amount of the mixture, pry open the chicks beak and place the mix inside the chicks beak, allowing it to swallow it on itÂs own. Feed the chick the entire mixture. Do this once a day for 7 days.

This isn't an injury that heals rapidly. It takes medication
and TIME. Results aren't instantaneous, but this treatment DOES work.

Good luck! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 2:22AM
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