What is Wry Neck in Chickens?
Wry neck is a condition that causes weakened muscles in the neck. A chicken afflicted with wry neck will present with a twisted or “crooked neck” and have difficulty holding its head up, standing, walking and eating.
Other common names that are frequently used for wry neck are: torticollis, twisted neck, crooked neck, crook neck and “stargazing.”
This is most commonly seen in newly hatched baby chicks and can be genetically inherited, caused by a head injury or due to a vitamin deficiency.
This article will address the most common cause of wry neck in chickens, vitamin deficiency, and how to treat it at home.
- What is Wry Neck in Chickens?
- Wry Neck in Chicken Symptoms
- How Long Does it Take to Treat Wry Neck in Chickens?
- Home Remedy for Wry Neck in Chickens
- What Does Wry Neck Chicken Treatment Involve?
- Frequency of Hand Feeding Baby Chick or Chicken for Wry Neck
- What Vitamins is a Chicken Lacking With Wry Neck?
- Step by Step Instructions for Treating Chicken Wry Neck
- 1. Separate a Chicken with Wry Neck from the Rest of the Flock
- 2. Give Vitamin E and Selenium Daily
- 3. Poly-Vi-Sol for Wry Neck in Chickens
- 4. Bring Chicken Outdoors for Vitamin D Daily
- 5. Reintegrating a Quarantined Chicken Back Into the Flock
- Conclusion: How do You Treat Wry Neck in Chickens?
Wry Neck in Chicken Symptoms
|WRY NECK SYMPTOMS|
|DIFFICULTY LIFTING |
HEAD OFF OF THE GROUND
|NECK LOOKS TWISTED|
|HEAD IS TILTED ALL THE WAY|
BACK. (LOOKING UP)
|DIFFICULTY WALKING DUE|
TO HEAD DRAGGING ON GROUND
|DIFFICULTY CARRYING OUT|
ANY DAILY ACTIVITIES
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How Long Does it Take to Treat Wry Neck in Chickens?
A wry neck chicken due to a vitamin deficiency usually responds rather quickly with proper vitamin treatment. Most people notice an increase in muscle control within the first 24-48 hours and almost complete recovery within one week.
Home Remedy for Wry Neck in Chickens
It can be quite alarming to see a new baby chick unable to stand, walk or eat because it can’t lift its head off the ground. A chick that is lacking in particular vitamins and minerals that is treated right away has a very good chance of living out a normal and healthy life!
Treatment for wry neck in a chicken with a vitamin and mineral deficiency needs to be started right away. Follow the steps below for wry neck treatment for your chickens. This treatment can be done on both baby chicks and adult chickens.
What Does Wry Neck Chicken Treatment Involve?
- Separating chicken from the rest of the flock.
- Replenishing VITAMIN E and Selenium, important vitamins that it is deficient in.
- Selenium is an important trace mineral that it is deficient in. Selenium is needed in order for the body to be able to absorb vitamin E.
- Giving Poly-Vi-Sol for Vitamin B deficient chickens.
- Providing Vitamin D for wry neck chickens.
- Safely reintegrating the chicken or chick back into the flock. The flock will have to reestablish their “pecking order” when you bring the chick or chicken back into the existing flock.
Frequency of Hand Feeding Baby Chick or Chicken for Wry Neck
- Baby chicks in their first week of life need fed every 2-3 hours, including in the night.
- Adult chickens do not need to be fed as often, but the amount of feed per day should equal about 1/4 lb. of feed.
- Adult chickens do not need to be fed in the night.
- A properly fed adult chicken should have a full crop before going to sleep at night.
What Vitamins is a Chicken Lacking With Wry Neck?
The most common deficiency leading to wry neck in chickens is of vitamin E and the trace mineral selenium. Other common vitamin deficiencies that can lead to wry neck in chickens is vitamin B1(thiamine) and D.
Step by Step Instructions for Treating Chicken Wry Neck
1. Separate a Chicken with Wry Neck from the Rest of the Flock
It is important to isolate a chicken with wry neck from the rest of the flock for two main reasons:
- Chickens know when another flock mate is weak and may bully and peck them to death. It is natural instinct to get rid of a weakened flock mate because they are putting the rest of the flock at risk of being attacked by predators. The flock is only as strong as its weakest link!
- A chicken that is being picked on or bullied is under a lot of stress. Any type of stress can make wry neck worse.
- Wry neck in chicks is not uncommon and if due to a vitamin deficiency can be cured if promptly treated.
Place your chicken in a dog crate lined with bedding material. You will be tending to your chicken frequently(every 2-3 hours), so it is best to bring the cage to an area that you can keep an eye on them.
Make sure you locate the cage in a dark and quiet area that doesn’t get much foot traffic. This way your chicken will be less stressed while it is being nursed back to health.
WARNING: A chicken with wry neck can drown in their waterers. If you keep water in your isolation cage, place rocks or marbles inside to avoid drowning.
2. Give Vitamin E and Selenium Daily
The two most important things to give a chicken with wry neck are VITAMIN E AND SELENIUM.
Selenium is a trace mineral that is needed in order for a chicken to be able to absorb vitamin E.
Vitamin E Dosage for Chickens With Wry Neck: 1 Vitamin E-400iu daily.
Treatment for wry neck in chickens should start right away. Wry neck in chickens is curable, but you need to add both Vitamin E and Selenium into the chickens diet.
- Day 1: Vitamin E for Chickens – Pierce one 400iu capsule of vitamin E open and add it to uncooked egg white. If your chicken is doing well eating this, try adding some mashed chick starter for chicks or layers crumbles for adult hens.
- Feed this mixture every two hours until consumed. You will need to take special care when feeding a chicken with wry neck. Help them by supporting their neck while you are feeding them.
- Chicks will need to be fed every 2-3 hours throughout the night.
- Adult chickens do not need to be fed throughout the night. Just make sure that they go to bed with a full crop.
- Day 2: Repeat.
- Most chickens will respond quickly, within the first few days of treatment. You can stop treatment when your chicken is able to lift its head and eat on its own.
- Vitamin E-400iu capsules can be purchased in the vitamin section at any pharmacy or you can even purchase them on Amazon. These are good to keep on hand in your chicken first aid kit!
- Selenium for chickens can be given in the form of uncooked egg whites.
- You can purchase Vitamin E-400iu capsules with Selenium already in it.
How Do You Feed a Chick With Wry Neck?
A chicken with wry neck has weak neck muscles, making it difficult to hold its head up and swallow. When feeding a chicken with wry neck, gently support its neck with one hand and offer its feed as mash, mixed with vitamin E(from gel cap) and raw egg white(selenium) with a spoon in your other hand.
Other Sources of Vitamin E for Chickens
| COLLARD |
|BROCCOLI|| CAYENNE |
| CRUSHED |
3. Poly-Vi-Sol for Wry Neck in Chickens
Sometimes there is also a deficiency in Vitamin B1. If you find that your chicken isn’t improving within the first 2 days of treatment, try adding Poly-Vi-Sol to the uncooked egg white and Vitamin E-400iu.
Some people like to wait and only add this if they don’t see improvement. I like to add 1-2 drops of Poly-Vi-Sol from day 1. It doesn’t hurt adding extra vitamins for up to a week for your chickens.
Do NOT buy the one with IRON.
Poly-Vi-Sol is an infant and toddler multivitamin that can be purchased in the infant vitamin section of any pharmacy or you can buy it on Amazon.
This is great to keep on hand in your chicken survival kit!
|AMOUNT / 1 ml|
4. Bring Chicken Outdoors for Vitamin D Daily
Vitamin D is another vitamin deficiency that a chick with wry neck may have. The best thing to do is to provide your wry neck chick or chicken some one on one outdoor time with you in the sunshine.
Your chicken should be constantly supervised. Hawks from up above know when they see an easy target and can easily swoop down and carry a little chick away.
When bringing chicks that are not fully feathered outdoors, make sure that you are providing the proper amount of heat for them. If you have to, set up a little outdoor brooder with a light for additional heat.
You will be amazed at how he/she perks up!
5. Reintegrating a Quarantined Chicken Back Into the Flock
The following are some tips on how to reintegrate your wry neck chicken back with the rest of the flock:
- Make sure that the chick or chicken is strong enough to hold its head up and perform daily activities independently before moving them in with the others. They should be able to eat, drink, stand and walk on their own.
- Keep a watchful eye when you are reintegrating a once quarantined chicken back into the flock. Set aside some time that you can spend watching the dynamics of the flock.
- There will be some bullying and pecking that goes on. They will need to reestablish their “pecking order,” but there should NOT be any bloodshed.
- If you find that you have a bully in the group that is not allowing you to bring your chicken back into the flock peacefully, you may need to isolate the aggressive chicken by putting it in “chicken jail” for a few days. This will hopefully knock it down a few notches in the pecking order.
Can chickens die from wry neck?
Yes, chickens that are suffering from wry neck due to a vitamin deficiency can die if they are not treated right away. Death usually occurs because they are unable to feed themselves. This is due to muscle weakness in the neck and the inability to hold their head up. With quick treatment a chicken can live a normal life.
Conclusion: How do You Treat Wry Neck in Chickens?
With proper treatment, wry neck chickens can make a full recovery.
- Vitamin E and selenium should be added to the diet (if wry neck is caused by vitamin deficiency) right away.
- Wry neck chickens need isolated from the rest of the flock during treatment.
- They need help with feedings at 2-3 hour intervals throughout the day.
- Feed the following throughout the day:
- Add 1, Vitamin E-400 iu capsule contents to 1 raw egg white(selenium).
- Add chicken feed to this and mash it so it is easier to eat.
- Support its head with your hand during feeding.
- Offer this feed with your opposite hand in a spoon to your chicken.
- Bring your chicken outdoors for natural sunlight, vitamin D, daily.
- Improvement should be seen within the first 24-48 hours.
- 1-2 drops (daily) of Poly-Vi-Sol, liquid vitamins for toddlers, can be added to the food for additional vitamins (A, C, D, E, B1, B2, B3, B6 & B12). Do NOT buy the one with IRON.
- Reintegrate back into the existing flock after 1 week or when chicken is able to stand, walk, feed and carry on daily activities on its own.