Wry neck in chickens is a sign of a disease, injury, or deficiency rather than a disease or illness. Wry neck is frequently an indication of a head injury, nutritional inadequacy, neurological condition, or a variety of other illnesses.
If the chicken becomes malnourished or the crooked neck is brought on by a severe disease, it could become fatal.
You may also want to read about the best chicken feed.
What Causes Wry Neck in Chickens?
Wry neck in chickens is a condition that manifests itself in a variety of ways and is brought on by the neck muscles of chickens spasming and pulling the head and neck into awkward positions. Torticollis, the medical term for wry neck in chickens, is also referred to as “crookneck” or “stargazing.” Nevertheless, stargazing is a particular type of wry neck in chickens that most frequently impacts young chickens.
A chicken may struggle to maintain its equilibrium and move about its surroundings if its neck is twisted. A chicken may also be unable to properly eat or drink as a result.
Can Chicks Get Wry Necks?
Yes. Little chicks, mature chickens, and elderly members of your flock can all have wry neck.
Wry neck in older chickens may indicate a head injury. A chicken may hold its head at an awkward angle if it has had a head injury, such as being hit or pecked severely in the head.
A chicken may hold its head at an odd angle while trying to see better if it has an eye injury. Yet, as wry neck in chickens frequently results in neurological issues, head injuries are more frequently linked to it.
Head Injuries in Breeds of Crested Chicken
A Polish crested chicken with a higher risk of developing wry neck.
Breeds of chicken that are crested—that is, with a crown of feathers on top of their heads—can be more vulnerable to serious harm if they take a hard blow to the head. Moreover, their crests may unluckily become enticing targets for feather plucking.
Crested breeds of chicken have less bony skulls, and on occasion, either of poor breeding practices or injuries sustained as young chickens, the skull bone may not completely enclose the brain. Injury to the head can result in significant swelling and pressure inside the skull when the skull bone has not fully closed. This can create neurological abnormalities that result in wry neck in chickens.
Lack of Vitamins Causes Wry Neck in Chickens
Most frequently observed in: early chicks, occasionally in older birds
A vitamin shortage is yet another factor that can contribute to wry neck in chickens. While wry neck in chickens brought on by a vitamin deficit is more frequently seen in young chicks, it can also occur in older hens.
Wry neck is an indication of what vitamin deficiencies?
A lack of vitamin E or vitamin B1 (thiamine) can cause wry neck.
If chicks consume pharmaceutical chick feed for an extended period of time, they may be more susceptible to Vitamin E deficiencies. Vitamin E absorption and use may be inhibited by the coccidiostat Amprolium included in treated chicken feed.
If a parent’s diet lacked vitamins, chicks may be more susceptible to dietary deficits.
Other Conditions That May Underlie Wry Neck
A tense neck may also be a sign of a more serious illness. Both young chicks and adult hens can contract infections that result in wry neck. The most prevalent conditions that could be indicated by the symptom of wry neck are Marek’s disease and poultry cholera.
What Poisons Lead To Wry Neck?
The most typical poisons poultry should stay away from are poisonous plants, insecticides, and germs found in decomposing plant and animal materials.
Avoid using pesticides, fertilizers, or insecticides around the chicken coop or in the yard if your flock free-ranges and keep your flock’s enclosure and yard clear of harmful plants.
Chickens can be poisoned by paint and heavy metals as well. Injurious bacteria that are developing in rotting plant and animal materials can cause botulism.
What Are the Signs of Chicken Wry Neck?
When going about its daily business, a healthy chicken will hold its head in an attentive, upright attitude. Any other head- or neck-position should raise red flags. Your chicken most certainly has a wry neck if it is holding its head and neck at strange, irregular angles.
Wry neck is frequently regarded as one of those conditions that you can recognize when you see it. Knowing the most typical kinds, though, can make it easier for you to confidently recognize this issue.
How to Treat Chicken Wry Neck
The method of treating wry neck should be customized for your particular chicken. To identify the problem that led to your chicken’s illness, you might require the advice of your veterinarian. Blood tests and a physical examination of your chicken will probably be conducted by your veterinarian. Naturally, you’ll want to rule out the chance of toxicity-related issues by inspecting your coop, run, yeard, and feed for the aforementioned problems.
The treatment of a vitamin deficiency that resulted in wry neck
The right vitamins and minerals can be added to the chicken’s food to alleviate wry neck brought on by a nutritional deficiency. Make sure to provide them with a great chicken feed.
First, quarantine the sick chicken.
Starting with the chicken or chick with the wry neck will be a good idea. This can shield an adult wry-necked chicken from stress and bullying. Keeping young chicks apart will avoid them from getting crushed by older chicks in the brooder. A chick can become stressed out when kept alone, so you should try to keep it close to the brooder and the other chicks.
Step 2: Adding Selenium and Vitamin E supplements
The chicken (or chick) will require additional vitamin E, ideally with selenium. Selenium aids in the body’s absorption and utilization of vitamin E. Seek for vitamins and minerals that have been created especially for chickens or other birds when shopping.
You should take the vitamin supplement at least two to three times daily to treat wry neck. Depending on the form the supplement is in, you can add it to the chickens’ diet or water.
You should gently wrap a chicken with a wry neck in a towel to support the head in a more natural posture so it may feed and drink. You might need to spoon-feed the chicken if it exhibits signs of pain when you move its head with the cloth.
To gently assist the bird in getting some water into its beak so it may keep hydrated, use a syringe.
Step 3: Watch Your Improvement While Being Patient and Constant
You must be patient when treating wry neck brought on by a dietary shortage. Make sure to consistently give the vitamin supplement numerous times per day. The illness might get better in as little as 24 hours, or it might take many weeks to get better completely. Don’t stop giving the vitamin supplement for up to 2 weeks after you start to feel better, even if you notice some progress.
Don’t give up if your wry neck symptoms worsen before they get better. Before you stop giving the vitamin and mineral supplements, be sure that the symptoms have fully vanished. If you discontinue the medication too soon, wry neck may reappear.
Step 4: Stop taking supplements when the chicken has recovered for a few weeks.
Supplementing with vitamins and minerals shouldn’t be done indefinitely. When supplements are used for too long when they are not required, vitamin and mineral imbalances may develop.
Treatment for Wry Neck: Disease & Injuries
If a vitamin supplement does not seem to be helping the wry neck ailment, it may have been brought on by a head injury, which is not always treatable. Your veterinarian can, however, assist you in gauging how serious the condition may be. Here are the actions to take if you choose to treat the injury:
Provide an anti-inflammatory medication and monitor your progress
Anti-inflammatory medications can be given to the chicken to reduce any swelling in the skull and ease any wry neck brought on by a head injury. The bird may recover from the head injury and the wry neck may go away if the injury did not cause any brain damage.
Consider whether the crooked neck is a symptom of a more serious condition if it is accompanied by other disease-like symptoms. Once the illness has been identified, you can think about possible remedies to alleviate its symptoms or even cure it, which will also treat the wry neck ailment.
Once more, your veterinarian is probably the greatest source for you on this. Using blood work and other tests, they can more precisely identify disease and prescribe particular treatments.
How to Stop Chickens From Getting Wry Neck
The simplest approach to avoid having to cope with this unusual and nasty chicken ailment is to prevent wry neck in your backyard flock! The following suggestions can assist you in preventing wry neck in your flock:
Appropriate Nutrition: Ensure that your flock is receiving a balanced food that is not stale.
Vitamins for Breeders: Chickens used for breeding should consume a diet high in vitamins and minerals.
Using non-medicated chook food or limiting the use of medicated chook food to the first two to three weeks are both wise choices.
Provide Vitamin E-Rich Foods: Selenium and vitamin E are both abundant in sunflower seeds, while natural sources of vitamin E include broccoli and spinach.
Keeping your head safe: Be gentle while handling your birds, make sure their coop and enclosure are secure, and stop bullying in your flock.
Diseases that could cause wry neck should be avoided by keeping your flock healthy by correct biosecurity procedures, a healthy diet, and appropriate cleaning.
Don’t Let Your Flock’s Wry Neck Grow Awry
Be cool if your flock develops wry neck; it’s less frightening than it seems, and you can usually fix the underlying reason. But take action: Ignoring treatable wry neck could prove catastrophic.
Strive to adopt a preventative, proactive stance. With a balanced diet, the majority of cases of wry neck can be avoided in both your adult flock and your young chicks! Also, a healthy diet can help a chicken fight off illness and heal more quickly. Remember that regular coop cleaning and testing for any poisons can keep your flock healthy and content as well!