Surviving the First Medical Emergency


Have you ever watched your chicks hatch and sit there wondering what color they will be and if they will be healthy?

The anticipation is hard to describe but the moment is so magical!  Once the chick hatches then you carefully watch with anticipation to make sure that they can stand and walk correctly - are their legs strong?  Are their toes curled or flat like they should be?  Can they hold up their head right?  All things I catch myself holding my breath over as the new chick starts to move around.

I've been really, really lucky.  I haven't had any of the before mentioned issues -- until this week.

This week we separated our 1st hatch who are around 6 weeks old.  The non-silkies went out to the big coop and our silkies welcomed their 2 week old siblings into their daily routine.  They were all out in the playpen learning all about scratching for food and chasing bugs.  I was being VERY careful in this heat, making sure that the pen was always in the shade etc. but as my bonus daughter went to gather them in for the night she got very concerned and told me that one of them kept rubbing her head against things and looked "funny".

My heart immediately lept into my throat.  Sure enough, we had a 6 week old with wry neck.  Silkies and Polish chickens are said to be more prone to having wry neck due to head injuries because they have such a different look to them.  This was obviously not the issue with my little girl and they hadn't been out of  their little play pen to be hurt by falling or anything like that.  

The other main cause of wry neck is a vitamin E deficiency.  After the panic wore off, I made the trip to the pharmacy for the vitamin supplements she needed and started all 20 on the protocol right away.  I found a vitamin E and selenium liquid together that I was able to add to their waterer.  

Today, she still occasionally has a tilt to her head but most of the time, you can't tell that she wasn't doing well at all.

Electrolites and the selenium/vitamin E combo will always be on hand -- just in case!

What have you found that you absolutely must have for emergencies in your flock?

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