Head Tilting In Chicks

I’ve read a lot of things about chickens and hatching out eggs and when I came across a chick last year that would tilt its head so far back that it was actually resting on its back (then proceeding to walk backwards in a ‘moon walk’) I hopped online to find all the information I could.

Honestly, I almost lost hope because most people were for culling said chicks but few were suggesting massaging to help the tendons and muscles relax so baby could lift its head again. I realized then that a lot of people were simply lazy and didn’t want to help those chicks because they needed time to recover. With the understanding that things might not turn out as I hoped, I did give that baby a good shot.

I began to massage its neck for five minutes every two hours. Was it a chore? Not really because let’s be honest, there’s nothing more relaxing than spending time with a baby chick who practically falls into a coma while you’re giving it a massage. What’s five minutes of your life if you can save a baby, right?

Since I was prepared to lose the baby because everyone insisted that something was mentally wrong with it or it had just been born ‘wrong’, I was surprised when after the first two massages, it started to walk normal and his little head finally picked up off his back and he looked like any other chick. I eventually lost him in the crowd of other babies so I couldn’t keep up with his massaging after the first few times but I never had a problem with it again. Whoever it was, turned out to be a healthy, happy chicken!!

Fast forward to last night, as I was hatching ducks and woke up this morning to find a baby duck with the same condition.

Beginning of massage

I always go into these things knowing that just because I want something to get better, doesn’t mean that it always will. Please keep in mind that just because its worked for me, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for everyone.. but if you’re looking to try to help rather than putting it down right away.. try this!

During massage

Massaging is easy (ignore my ham fingers!). Just find where the tendons are tight (usually right up at the base of the skull) and give it a good massage. You don’t need to pry around on baby’s neck or anything but if you use common sense, you can apply a little bit of pressure without harming it. Baby should fall into a trance while you’re working the neck. This one would lay its little head down on my hand and fall asleep for those five minutes. So cute!

Five minutes every two hours. Easy! After the second time this little one showed a lot of improvement. It went from the first picture with its head back, to being able to walk with its little head straight and actually got to clean itself!

After massage

You can see in this last picture that the massage did wonders for it. I’ll continue to give massages (so long as I can find which one it is) for a couple of days until it goes outside and poly vi sol without iron. To use, put a couple drops in it’s mouth a couple times a day and a few drops in the water for good measure since this is sometimes from a vitamin deficiancyChances are after tonight I won’t have to. So instead of killing this little baby, I gave it some spunk back:

Edit: This baby grew up so well that I can’t even tell which is the one that had the kinked neck!! We also had one in the batch after this that was even worse and after two weeks, it looks just like any other duck 🙂

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