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a sick chick

Posted by claraserena 4 (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 3, 08 at 13:31

I have a 1 week old Cornish X chick that is sick. Yesterday morning she was lying still. I brought her in, put her under a heat lamp, got her to drink some water then Gatorade. I was sure she was dying. Last night she perked up a littlecheeped a little, stooddrank more but wouldnt eat (I tried warm corn meal gruel and hard cooked egg yolk with yogurt whey). Her poop yesterday was runny. This morning she was peeping, standing, grooming herself, still not eating. I put another chick in with her for company. She stands with her wings a little out as if for balance, and seems unsteady and then sometimes walks backward; she looks almost like she is going to topple over. She is also smaller than the other chicks. I would appreciate any ideas on what might be wrong and what I can do for her.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: a sick chick

It sounds like she may be suffering from Crookneck/Limberneck, caused by either a head injury or a nutritional imbalance.
You can treat her using Selenium and Vitamin E.

Also, just as you would never give Gatorade to a human infant (too much sugar, can actually worsen diarrhea), you need to switch to unflavored Pedialyte ASAP for the chick in order to boost her electrolytes. Continue the handfeeding until she can eat on her own.

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 my theory and therapy for what some call "limber neck" and I call 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. 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 larger tablet and cut it in half or quarters)

Crush the Selenium into a fine powder. Take the Vitamin E capsules a poke a hole in one end with a pin, then squeeze the luquid out into a tiny dish. Mix the powdered Seleium 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 its 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.


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RE: a sick chick

Thank you, Velvet. I got some of the vitamin E in her beak. I will have to get Selenium tomorrow. And I will get Pedialyte.
She does seem to be getting aorund better tonight. I have A hard time getting her to eat. Last night she woud drink when I dipped her beak in water. Now it's clamped shut--I will try a little corn gruel and yogurt.
She sleeps with a stuffed chicken.
Again, thank you!


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RE: a sick chick

I just gave her the selenium and Vit E and she has pedialyte. I sure did not get all of the vitamins in her but some. She seems better today. I actually saw her eat some of the starter mix. So far so good.


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