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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24467
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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I have an Americauna who's going on 1yr old. Our friend

Customer Question

Hi there-
I have an Americauna who's going on 1yr old. Our friend brought to our attention that she is always shaking her head. Our friend has 8 Americaunas and says none of her birds do this. I am wondering if it might be a sign of something? She has been totally fine and normal seeming otherwise. She does stay to herself a bit compared to our other four birds. She also stopped laying eggs for about 5 days now and it has me a little worried.
Is there anything you can tell me about the constant head shaking?
Thank you for your time.
Christie
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. I need you to do a few things for me:

1) Check Juanita's ears. Look for the tiny openings on each side of her head. You'll need to part her feathers. Look for debris in the openings which you can remove with a tweezers or even your fingernail. Chickens don't contract ear mites and ear infections are very uncommon.

2) Check her oral cavity for lumps, bumps, or anything that isn't symmetrical.

3) Check for mites - in particular, the northern fowl mite - the most common of the mites. Barely seen with the naked eye, the adults are a dark red to black color and evidence of mites and eggs can be seen as a dark area at the base of feathers in the ventral regions (vent, ventral coelomic cavity area, tail, ventral cervical (neck) area). If you see mites, your coop and all birds will need to be treated. Please see this excellent review for how this may be done: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/08/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification.html

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi there-
Thank you for your response and direction. I have looked my bird over and can't find anything that is obvious.
Does the head shaking sound concerning to you? Should I continue to be concerned about the regular head shaking?
I can't really see into her ear very well and am hoping nothing is in there. I will try again to get a good look.
All other birds seem to be just fine.
Thank you.
Christie
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

You're welcome, Christie. In many cases of head shaking in chickens, the etiology remains idiopathic (unknown cause). You need only to google the keywords "chicken, head, shaking" and you'll get umpteen sites with poultry owners coming up with all sorts of ideas. Do your best to look at Juanita's ears. If her behavior persists, you might need an avian vet (www.aav.org) to take a look at her.

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