Wry Neck in Baby Chick (Video)

I hatched a batch of chick today and one had wry neck, also called toricollis, stargazing, twisted neck, etc. There are a number of factors that can result in this condition but mainly two in day olds. One is a genetic abnormality and the other is a vitamin/mineral deficiency. I have found that if the condition is caused by a vitamin deficiency it can sometimes be corrected almost immediately by giving oral vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. The recommended electrolyte replacement is Pediatlye or a product called AviaCharge. I have used Pedialyte for weak chicks with good results so I keep it on hand at all times. The easiest way to keep it and not waste an entire container is to buy the freezer pops. I store them in my pantry and pull one out whenever needed. The chicks seem to like the flavor and drink it easier.

For vitamin supplementation use a good baby vitamin without iron. PolyViSol is good but I could only find the store brand and it works just fine. The key is making sure it does not contain iron.

Vitamin E is given along with Selenium to help with the absorption.

You may want to research online before treating. I found a lot of differing opinions but here is the dosage I used:

 

  • 2 TBS Pedialyte
  • 2 drops Baby Vitamin
  • 100 units Vitamin E (squirt out half a capsule)
  • 50 mcg Selenium (1/4 tablet crushed)

 

I mixed the ingredients together and administered it a few drops at a time to the baby chick. You can apply it to the side of the beak with the eye dropper or put a drop on your finger and place it alongside the beak until it opens. I was holding the video camera in one hand so I ended up getting it all over the baby chick but it seemed to like the taste and did not fight it. I gave a few drops then waited about 3 hours and repeated. I will give another dose in the morning if the chick so any symptoms other wise I will consider it done.

Here is a video of the chick, before, during treatment and after. This baby made a miraculous recovery.

Comments

  1. I just keep reading articles so that I can fix my wee chick “Sweetie”. brought her home along with 4 other brother/sisters. I noticed yesterday that Sweetie was looking up at me sideways I though nothing of it however when I got home 4hrs later Sweetie was going sideways and falling over. I started to google information and most of it pointed to vitamin B so being 11.30pm I started to think what I had around the house… Vegemite!! I mixed it into
    Sweeties food and water and started to administer. I put Sweetie in her own box over night to see. Sweetie woke up still sideways but now after being on the move now for 11/2hrs she is not as bad. I have started to massage the neck also and she is much more mobile without falling over all the time. I am now just waiting for a chemist to open to grab some supplies vitamins etc. I have fallen head over heels in love with my chick so much so I was in a flood of tears at the thought of loosing her. I will not give up all will be fine. Thanks to everyone for your information you have given me hope, Sweetie is an Australian Arucana. she is preening right now :) :):):):):)

    • Thanks Linda. I hope Sweetie continues to improve. Good for you for catching it early. Please keep us posted. Best wishes.

  2. I have a week old silkie with wry neck right now and is she’s very stressed and ive been emotional about it all day trying to figure out how to help it. I am going to run out tonight to get everyone on your list! What about when it comes to eating? Is food a priority? She cant eat right now. Should I be crushing her food and mixing it with water and trying to feed it to her by hand? Please reply asap! Thanks

    • Oh and how long does each mixture/dosage last? Can I keep it in the fridge and keep using it all day, or longer?

      • Brianna, sorry I didn’t respond sooner. I wouldn’t worry so much about food right now as much as getting the vitamins in her and making sure she drinks. You can do this with an eye dropper but be careful to avoid aspiration. Squeeze a drop out and touch it to her beak and she should take it in. Yes you can use the the vitamins all day. If you refrigerate it make sure to let it come up to room temp before giving it to her. Also make sure the vitamins do not contain iron. If she is going to respond to treatment you should see improvement fairly quickly. She may get better then start showing symptoms again. Just keep giving her the drops. You might want to pick up some probiotics for chicks at the feed store. These might help until she starts eating again.

        Good luck and I wish you the best. Please let me know how it turns out. Sometimes they can’t be saved. We’ll be thinking about you.

    • Nevermind, it died tonight :( I’m going to give your recipe to a few of my other chicks that are lethargic and have been laying around alot and wont walk around. Hoping it’ll work for them to. How often should I give to them?

      • I’m so sorry Brianna. Are they all silkies? I ask because they are more prone to neurological problems because of the vaulted skulls. If that is the problem the wry neck treatment might now work.

        Also, what are you feeding them? If you are feeding medicated chick starter you might want to get a different brand or stop the medicated starter temporarily. If the amount of Amprolium in the feed is too high it blocks thiamine and causes wry neck. I took a chick in for necropsy and it had a low thiamine level. They tested the feed and it had too much Amprolium. I made the mistake of buying a cheap brand instead of driving into town for Purina.

        If more than one chick is sick I would certainly question the feed. It could also be genetic if the chicks hatched from the same parent stock.

        Make sure the brooder temperature is correct. Check them for pasty butt. Try the probiotics. Add unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the sediment) to their water.

        Let me know if I can help.

        • Thanks for repying! Wow I had no idea about the medicated feed! Yes they have been eating that since they hatched because I thought it was the best thing for them. And yes they are all silkies. The one that got wry neck had a normal head though, it really didnt look vaulted. Half my chicks are vauted but that one wasent or it was minor. My other lethergic chick is also not vaulted or could be mildly vaulted. He is laying down alot and lets the other chicks run all over him and he just lays there. If I push him into walking then he does walk so I know he can but he’s a little wabbly and immediately wants to just lay down. He will wobble over to the food and water and eats while laying down or even on his side but he’s always laying down. He just started this a few days ago. And then I have my little buff one who is limping on one leg. Not sure if thats related though. They are all 6 days old now and very tiny. Would your recipe help them at all? I gave a few drops to the lethargic chick tonight since I had it, hoping it might perk him up but he just ate/drank a little then went back to a corner to sleep. How am I suppose to know if its his genetics or the feed? Should I switch them to non-medicated feed anyway just to be safe? Do you think these vitamins will help them at all? I am so afraid of loosing anymore babies :(

          • Hi Brianna I totally agree with Mary as to the mixture for your chickens. I had a 3 year old buff leghorn given to me who presented with the classic stargazer symptoms. She was so bad she couldnt eat but I gave her the mixture in an eye dropper and she responded the next day eating out of my hand but still very weak. Had to hand feed and give medicine for 3 weeks but she has now fully recovered. As the rest of my chickens are free range with the addition of chicken pellets they are obviously getting the right balance of nutrients and vitamins so have not had the same problem with them.
            I think the leghorn had only been feed on household food scraps which were lacking in the necessary vitamins, that most brands of chicken pellets contain.

  3. Ann Lia Rubio says:

    Thank you. I have a mixed bag of four sweet little chicks. They are eight days old and I got them rather unexpectedly – they were hatched as a science experiment at a local middle school and they needed a home! the sweet yellow one we named “Big Boy” was showing signs of what i now believe is wry neck. I just got and mixed up the vitamins. Thank you for this informative blog entry – complete with video! Your blog is awesome – I found it googling about the wry neck and it has been a big help, but the rest of the blog is pretty awesome too. I have been reading it in bed while Big Boy naps in a washcloth nest on my chest! I hope this helps her. I am so much better informed now. Thank you!

    • Thanks for the kind comment Ann. I hope the treatment helps Big Boy! I would love to hear how it turns out. I have had pretty rapid response to the treatment.

      • Nevermind, it died tonight :( I’m going to give your recipe to a few of my other chicks that are lethargic and have been laying around alot and wont walk around. Hoping it’ll work for them to. How often should I give to them?

  4. Carson Clawson says:

    Aw so sweet!!!

  5. Bob Packer says:

    I have searched and searched for info on this. I had a chick hatched last week that ended up dying after I put it back under its mother. Another one hatched and was perfectly fine for two days and then developed the star gazer and whirling in circles.

    I had looked up wry neck but all I could find was in adult birds.

    I have been giving this chick olive oil and sugar water to try to keep it hydrated. It is eating a bit and tries to drink out of the syringe.

    Getting the stuff tomorrow and will sure give it a try.

    Thanks a million for the tip.

    Bob
    near Tulsa

  6. Bantycottage says:

    Bo-Se is the injectable vitamin E and selenium that treats white muscle disease in mammals. It is the same deficiency as wry neck usually is in chicks. One of my perfect little 6 day old silkie hens is presenting with wry neck this morning. I knew immediately what it was but had to scrounge for a way to treat it. Thanks for the dosages. As to the turkey. A vet or a look in the Merck could help with a dose and the injectable would probably work great. Thanks for your help and I am so happy to see your blog.

  7. I purchased eleven bantam chicks from Family Farm and Home about a week ago. I have one sebright chick that is spinning in circles sometimes and he twitches his head a lot, he sleeps with his head down by his legs and does forward summer salts occasionally. He will be like that one minute and then i will come back in and he is walking around with his buddies. I think it might be Stargazer disease but i’m not sure, please help ASAP

  8. Sarah I am inexperienced with turkeys but you would probably be fine just feeding a few drops with an eyedropper like I did with the chick. My understanding is that it is more difficult to cure in
    older birds than in chicks. Please post back and let us know how your turkey is doing. Good luck.

    Mary

    • Mary. I made up abt 1/2C and have it out in the barn. Gave him 1 1/2 eyedropper full this evening… will give him some more tomorrow morning.
      He started it a few weeks ago. If he’s standing up and puffing his feathers his head is usually fine. It’s when he’s laying down, that his head lops all over the place. I was afraid I’d have to put him down, I hadn’t seen him with his head up the last two days.. but this morning he was strutting around again… I found your post today, and knew this was what I needed to do to try to fix him.
      I will keep you posted.

      • Oh, I sure hope it works for him and please do keep me posted. I understand turkeys are easy to get attached too. That could pose a problem for me as I have 15 Sweetgrass poults coming this Spring! Good luck with your boy.

        Mary

  9. My 2 year old turkey Tom has wry neck…. I am wondering how much of the solution you mentioned to give him….
    I’m definitely going shopping.
    Any advice would be welcomed.

  10. Wow, great job Mary!

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