Why chick twist neck head?

Updated: 4/28/2022
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15y ago

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There are several reasons a chicks neck will twist and depending on the way it twists you can often diagnose what the problem is and if in fact it is survivable for the chick.

If the neck is retracted over the back and to one side or the other it could be Newcastle disease or a thiamin deficiency. To address the nutritional deficiency you should add a water soluble tonic to the watering source daily for 10 days continually, and weekly thereafter. Polytonin or any other brand name is available at most farm grain suppliers.

As Newcastle disease is possible in this and all other possible reasons to follow I will explain about Newcastle disease at the end.

If the neck is retracted down and under the breast, it could again be Newcastle disease or it could be a lack of vitamin E. The vitamin deficiency again is corrected by the addition of a Tonic to the water with the same instructions as above but for a fourteen day period and twice per week for a month following.

If the neck is twisted, but still upright the following reasons are possible. Newcastle disease, Fowl cholera, Brain infection or the improper injection of Marek's Vaccine.

The fowl cholera is sourced from bad water, standing ponds or a stagnant supply. Since you say it is a chick affected then it is unlikely to be cholera because only birds over 4 months of age present with this disease as a rule.

The brain infection can be treated if not left too long, sulfa drugs along with a broad spectrum antibiotic can be used (it also helps for cholera)

Marek's disease is not treatable once symptoms show. You will have lost the bird by now, Most chicks are vaccinated when bought from a hatchery but if the vaccine was improperly administered or the bird was hatched by you and not fed with medicated chick starter then nothing could have prevented this. It is very important to use Medicated starter when breeding your own flock as the vaccine is added to the feed.

Newcastle disease is a contagious viral infection causing respiratory infection.

All birds in a flock usually become infected within four days. Those that do not die quickly, will recover and are not considered carriers of the disease. Symptoms will disappear from surviving birds within thirty days.

The disease is marked in young birds by labored breathing, gasping and sneezing. Nasal discharge, excess mucous in the trachea and cloudiness in the eyes. The birds will be listless. For chicks this phase lasts for fourteen days and is usually followed by nervous disorder resulting in the neck twist and paralysis of one or both wings. Mortality is variable for the young birds from none at all up to loss of the whole hatch and soon followed by the adult birds as Newcastle is spread by infected boots, clothing, equipment and dust particles unless proper ventilation and bio security is followed.

There is NO treatment for Newcastle Disease. Prevention is the only method for avoidance and new birds added to the flock after recovery should be properly vaccinated.

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Q: Why chick twist neck head?
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