I have two chickens born in incubator feb 8th female seems to have sway back, what we think is the cockerel has very long legs and seems very clumsy, his legs are very wobbley and he often sits down to eat lately. This morning he has a job to stay on his legs, he can walk a few stumbling paces then he falls donwn. Apart from that he is very alert and has a very good appetite.The past hour he has started to pant quite badly. Please can you helpMy XXXXXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX. Your system would not recognise it
Deficiency of Vitamins B2 and E can lead to neurological disease in chicks.
These deficiencies can be treated if caught early enough. I would add a vitamin supplement to their water.
What have they been fed on, a modern chick crumb diet, that is fresh should have enough added vitamins.
Other conditions that can cause paralysis are:
Marek's Disease - This is caused by a herpes virus and can lead to progressive paralysis, some birds will recover, but they remain carriers of the virus for life.
Epidemic tremor - another viral disease. There is no cure.
Newcastle Disease - can cause paralysis, but this is a notifiable disease in the UK. The last outbreak in chickens was in 1997
If Tom is panting then he may also have a respiratory problem. Although a lot of respiratory infections are caused by viruses, poultry often benefit from a course of antibiotic as they are prone to secondary infection.
I think Tom would really benefit from a trip to your vets where he can be examined and appropriate treatment started immediately.
He is going to need a lot of nursing care. He would benefit from being propped up in an upright position, with some soft towels. Make sure that he has easy access to drinking water and can get to his feed. Add in a vitamin supplement. He would also benefit from having some live yoghurt or probiotics added to his feed.
Please reply if you have further questions
Hi Fiona thank you for your advice so far. I was wandering if I had fed him too much protien as I have just been told you shouldn't feed them the chick crumb beyond 8 weeks as it can cause such as swayback is this true. The chick crumb I get is from a reputable supplier on the island, half the island use them so it must be ok. What should I be feeding them on at 3months and is it too early for Tom to crow as my partner thought he crowed at him a few days ago but not since...
At 3 months, they should be onto a growers pellet, this does contain slightly less protein, as the chicks demand for protein decreases as they age (24% protein in starter diet, 20% in growers diet). When they reach around 16 to 17 weeks those that are to be kept as laying hens should be switched to a layers diet.
If they grow too fast, some of the heavy breeds can get leg problems, as they are too heavy.
At 3 months he could well be beginning to crow. They start to crow as they reach maturity and this can vary greatly between the different birds and also the time of year also effects how quickly they mature. Crowing is often spasmodic at first and their first few attempts often sound like they're being strangled!
Hi Fiona, feeling really bad now seem I have caused their problems, but at least I can get thm back on track.Will this effect his legs in the long term or will he always have a problem with his legs.His sister Jerry has a tail that leans to the left and has a humped back, this has only developed in the last 2/3 weeks she also has what I would call weak legs they shake. Apart from that she seems very well,eats well, is maybe a little nervous but very friendly. Would these problems be to nutrition as she is fed the same as Tom....
It may be nutritional, there could also be a genetic aspect.
As I listed earlier there are also viruses that can cause neurological problems.
With nutritional deficits, if they are tackled quickly then recovery can be complete. The longer they have the deficiency, the more likelihood there will be permanent damage.
I would restrict their exercise for the time being, until they seem stronger, to reduce any joint damage.
If they are not improving or there is a deterioration, then a trip to your vets would be a good idea.
How are Tom and Jerry doing?