Torticollis (wry neck) may occur in birds infected with Pasteurella bacterial infection, also known as Fowl Cholera.
A bird may be a chronic carrier, living with one or multiple symptoms; however, many birds that are infected with this bacteria progress rapidly with a high mortality rate.
Symptoms include (but not all need to be present): Lethargy, going off food/water, discharge from the mouth (often described as salivating or drooling), rapid breathing, fever (feet will be extremely warm), conjunctivitis (red, swollen, itchy eyes) and localized infections.
When the middle ear, cranial bones or meninges are infected, ‘wry neck’ (Torticollis) is seen.
Treatments include antibiotics such as Sulfonamides or in some cases, Penicillin. Be sure you have an experienced vet since Sulfas have toxic levels.
Other bacterial infections that may cause similar symptoms are:
Thank you for your response, but the pullet doesn't have any of the symptoms associated with these conditions and because the onset was so sudden, I tend to think that Alan Stanford's explanation of trauma to the vaulted skull (neurological insult) may be a pretty good explanation, as to the abrupt onset and sudden cause of her condition.
The reason I am thinking along these lines is that she has been in a very controlled environment, is not being free-ranged and none of my other silkies have any symptoms that would indicate this is a wide-spread problem. I have about 16 silkies and they are all doing fine. They have been checked, and are worm-free, coccidiosis free, and in generally great health and condition.
However, I am going to take her to my vet who does have a degree in poultry science from TX A&M and see what turns up.
I will let you know how it goes. I just got her to take some mashed, hard boiled egg, so maybe I can keep her strength up, if in fact, this is due to trauma, until the swelling (?) goes down and she can function. I am going to try to keep from having to put her down if I can.
I appreciate your kindness. Chickens are neat and mine seem to be really bright little creatures. I never realized how smart they are !