Wryneck, stargazing, crookneck, limberneck are all terms used to describe a condition called torticollis. Basically, this is a neurological disorder defined by abnormal head positioning. This term can be a bit off-putting because it is a description of a symptom, not a cause, there a number of causes, such as brain injury, bacterial infection, heavy metal toxicity, genetic defect or vitamin deficiency.
However when you have a freshly hatched chick and it is flailing its neck around and throwing it’s neck back so far it flips over on its back, it is most likely one of two. Genetic defect or vitamin deficiency. The good news is that most likely of the two, is easily remedied.
The first time I saw this, I really didn’t have a clue. It was kinda scary, I didn’t know if I had done something wrong or if it was contagious or what was really even happening to the chick. And he was so pitiful, I spent hours trying to help the little one hold his head up and stay on his feet, thinking maybe he was just weak.
With the help from The Egg Farm and the recipe offered there, the chick made a miraculous recovery. Really. Almost immediately.
I am going to post her recipe here, but I take no credit:
- 2 TBS Pedialyte or equivalent
- 2 drops Baby Vitamin without iron
- 100 units Vitamin E(squeeze out half a capsule)
- 50 mcg Selenium (1/4 tablet crushed)
I had to run out and get this stuff because I had none of it on-hand. I cost me about $35 at Rite Aid; a little steep, but I imagine it will last a while… In reality, it will probably expire before I use it all. I used generic where available. I used the electrolyte popsicle like recommended, however, my chicks did not like the taste. But they do make it possible to use a smaller amount and save the rest.