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krnntp...
Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:40 am
 
Hi, if anyone can read this and give some suggestions I'd appreciate
it.

I have an 8 week old non-purebred silkie chick who had been showing
slight inco-ordination when eating (below average aiming ability) for
several weeks. There's not enough of a crest that the chick's vision
was impaired, so that was not the cause of the problem.

Last week, I found this chick essentially on its back with its head
twisted forwards and under - other chicks in the pen were unnaffected.
I assumed it was heat stroke (or possibly, an actual stroke brought on
by stress) since the light had shifted in the late afternoon, and the
pen had been essentially without shade for an hour or more. It was the
only silkie in the pen, and thinking that silkies are more susceptible
to heat and cold than other chickens, I did not think it was anything
worse. It was a sudden development, as the chick had been fine that
morning.
 
krnntp...
Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:59 am
 
On Jul 20, 1:40 pm, krnntp <krn... at (no spam) gmail.com> wrote:
....

Here's the rest - in my haste I hit posted my message accidentally
without finishing it.

....I took the chicken indoors to cool off, fed it water with
electrolytes, and observed an improvement. The chicken was able to
lift its head, and get around somewhat shakily. Over the next couple
of days I moved it to a less stressful environment (fewer chicks), fed
it B vitamins and an antibiotic in case there were clostridium
botulinum (botulism bacteria) in the crop. I would observe periodic
lapses into extreme neck twisting (all the way around) and falling
forward, after which the chick would walk backwards with its head
dragging on the ground until something allowed it to lift its head off
the ground once more, and assume relatively normal posture. It was
able to stand and eat, enthusiastically if innefficiently, while it
was in this recovered, upright state. I also fed it moistened food by
hand.

While upright, it would sometimes scratch the one side of its head
vigorously with its foot, as if fighting an itch, and this procedure
would sned its neck into another spasm, leaving it dragging oin the
ground again.

Perhaps because of progression of whatever problem it has, or perhaps
because I simply can't hand feed the amount of food it needs, the
chick has gotten worse over the last few days - as of Mon 7/20.

Does this sound like anything anyone here has seen before?

I've read several disease guide resources on the web, and it sounds
like it could be Marek's, but there are some other things that give me
pause:
1) The diagnosis guides often say "differentiate from ear infection".
The scratching of the side of the head makes me consider ear infection
might be involved, however, the same guides helpfully say NOTHING
about ear infection or skull osteitis, so I'm in the dark as to what
to look for
2) How soon would a vitamin B1 deficiency be corrected by feeding
vitamins? Could it cause a violent, spasmed twisting of the neck?
3) This is still a pretty young chick, hatched around 5/16/09
4) There's the sudden onset, possibly coinciding with heat stress

I can post photos on the web of the chick's posture, will be glqad to
do so if anyone will find it helpful.

Thanks - krnntp
krnntp at (no spam) gmail.com
 
Ginny...
Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:19 pm
 
krnntp wrote:
[quote:a14730dc95]On Jul 20, 1:40 pm, krnntp <krn... at (no spam) gmail.com> wrote:
...

Here's the rest - in my haste I hit posted my message accidentally
without finishing it.

...I took the chicken indoors to cool off, fed it water with
electrolytes, and observed an improvement. The chicken was able to
lift its head, and get around somewhat shakily. Over the next couple
of days I moved it to a less stressful environment (fewer chicks), fed
it B vitamins and an antibiotic in case there were clostridium
botulinum (botulism bacteria) in the crop. I would observe periodic
lapses into extreme neck twisting (all the way around) and falling
forward, after which the chick would walk backwards with its head
dragging on the ground until something allowed it to lift its head off
the ground once more, and assume relatively normal posture. It was
able to stand and eat, enthusiastically if innefficiently, while it
was in this recovered, upright state. I also fed it moistened food by
hand.

While upright, it would sometimes scratch the one side of its head
vigorously with its foot, as if fighting an itch, and this procedure
would sned its neck into another spasm, leaving it dragging oin the
ground again.

Perhaps because of progression of whatever problem it has, or perhaps
because I simply can't hand feed the amount of food it needs, the
chick has gotten worse over the last few days - as of Mon 7/20.

Does this sound like anything anyone here has seen before?

I've read several disease guide resources on the web, and it sounds
like it could be Marek's, but there are some other things that give me
pause:
1) The diagnosis guides often say "differentiate from ear infection".
The scratching of the side of the head makes me consider ear infection
might be involved, however, the same guides helpfully say NOTHING
about ear infection or skull osteitis, so I'm in the dark as to what
to look for
2) How soon would a vitamin B1 deficiency be corrected by feeding
vitamins? Could it cause a violent, spasmed twisting of the neck?
3) This is still a pretty young chick, hatched around 5/16/09
4) There's the sudden onset, possibly coinciding with heat stress

I can post photos on the web of the chick's posture, will be glqad to
do so if anyone will find it helpful.

Thanks - krnntp
krnntp at (no spam) gmail.com
[/quote:a14730dc95]
Doesn't sound like anything I know about but check the ears for a tick
or infection which can affect balance and if you're in a tick paralysis
area is something to be aware of. Any wounds? Twisting neck around might
be tetanus. Jill may have a much better idea. Mareck's does affect young
birds pretty fast but I have not seen it first hand.

--
Ginny - In West Australia
 
krnntp...
Posted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 5:33 am
 
On Jul 21, 8:40 am, " Jill" <n... at (no spam) NOSPAMkintaline.co.uk> wrote:
[quote:067ca0381c]krnntp wrote:

I can post photos on the web of the chick's posture, will be glqad to
do so if anyone will find it helpful.

Thanks - krnntp
krn... at (no spam) gmail.com

What does the vet say?
You will need treatment if its an infection.
You will need to KNOW if its Mareks, as you have a contaminated property and
therefore be wise to vaccinate chicks or buy vaccinated chicks.

I am not a vet and not going to play one.
:)

--
regards
Jill Bowis

Domestic Poultry and Waterfowl Solutions
Herbaceous; Herb and Alpine Nursery
Seasonal Farm Foodhttp://www.kintaline.co.uk
[/quote:067ca0381c]
The vet: unfortunately, the vet in these parts does not "do chickens".
Which is odd, as he has a rural practice. But then, he doesn't "do
sheep" either. I've called around and not found anyone else nearby. I
may have to take the chicken in to the university extension lab for a
necropsy, as it does look bad for her at the moment. Although I
succeeded in feeding her quite a lot yesterday, it doesn't seem to
have boosted her strength; she's definitely getting worse. :-(

I don't know if I conveyed this: the neck is bent forwards and under,
and then twisted around completely so the chicken is looking forwards
or to the side, but upside down.

We are surrounded on all sides by woods, with no chicken neighbors. It
seems especially pernicious that this should have come out of nowhere,
if it is Marek's or another communicable disease.

Are there any hereditary nervous conditions in chickens, like epilepsy
in humans, which could come on suddenly and prove fatal?

I have isolated a six-week old chick (raised with a different group of
chicks than the affected chicken X) who seems to be very slightly unco-
ordinated and compensating, like a drunk person who is able to lift
things, open things, walk and balance effectively, but with a visible
effort of concentration. This very slightly woozy demeanor, and at
this same age, also showed up with chicken X. I hadn't worried at the
time, because one of the chicks I raised last year completely outgrew
a much worse nervous tic (his head would start to bob to the side
repeatedly, without warning, often at inconvenient moments).

The last few days have involved a massive amount of bleach, relocation
and isolation of chickens. I started several sets of chicks this
spring: one group is 4 months old, another 12-13 weeks, and I
deperately hope that whatever this is doesn't spread to the older age
groups.

Best regards,

krnntp at (no spam) gmail.com
 
Jill...
Posted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:40 am
 
krnntp wrote:
[quote:d32d59b983]
I can post photos on the web of the chick's posture, will be glqad to
do so if anyone will find it helpful.

Thanks - krnntp
krnntp at (no spam) gmail.com
[/quote:d32d59b983]
What does the vet say?
You will need treatment if its an infection.
You will need to KNOW if its Mareks, as you have a contaminated property and
therefore be wise to vaccinate chicks or buy vaccinated chicks.

I am not a vet and not going to play one.
:)


--
regards
Jill Bowis

Domestic Poultry and Waterfowl Solutions
Herbaceous; Herb and Alpine Nursery
Seasonal Farm Food
http://www.kintaline.co.uk
 
 
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