Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wry Neck - Using Turmeric to Treat Wry Neck in a Chicken



~ By: Christine Myers

Just last week, I was standing in my yard, looking at my favorite pullet, feeling sure I’d have to euthanize her. Hope (an Easter Egger) had suddenly developed a case of wry neck which had gotten progressively worse over the course of the day. I ended up treating her condition not with the recommended regimen of vitamins, but with a spice that is a medicinal powerhouse in the human world. Here is her story.

Day 1. I opened the main coop and stepped aside for the stampede of chickens to their morning rations. As always, Hope did her cute half-run, half-fly thing that often gets her to the food dishes first. She seemed fine. 


About 15 minutes later, my son was giving them fresh water and called my attention to her. She was off by herself. Her neck had the classic curve of mild/early wry neck. But at the time I had no idea that’s what it was.  

An hour later, she was resting her head on the ground and could barely walk. I picked her up, and she was limp in my arms, making distressful sounding noises.


I went online to my favorite chicken group to ask for advice. The members helped me identify the problem as wry neck and pointed me to the typical treatment protocol. At the time, the only thing I was doing for Hope was making sure she stayed in the shade (it was almost 90 degrees) and helping her drink water periodically. By the end of the day, she was unable to eat. That’s when I thought I would have to put her down. 

When I first decided to get chickens, my plan was that I would have a working flock of only the strongest birds. I was not going to treat for anything other than basic first aid or something that might decimate my whole flock. I simply do not have time to coddle any chicken. I thought about tube feeding Hope and the intensity of the vitamin regime over the course of weeks with no guarantee of success. I couldn't see myself doing that... But it was Hope. A sweet girl who had won my heart. Honestly I hoped (and expected) she would pass overnight so I wouldn't have to make the decision. That evening, I helped her drink more water and get settled on the floor of the coop for the night. 

Day 2. Hope's body was lying under the roost the next morning. I thought she was dead, and I was both sad and relieved. But then she started struggling to get up. Her neck was twisted in a loop, so her head was upside down in "stargazer" mode. I picked her up. She just laid there and twitched in my arms.  It was the most heartbreaking moment of my chicken-mommy life. I carefully untwisted her neck, brought her in and put her in the bathtub. Circumstances prevented me from going to get vitamins and a syringe until the next day. But I needed to do something. As fate would have it, I had written an article two days prior about the spice turmeric and how it can treat hundreds of medical problems in people. Research has shown turmeric to have powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, among other things. So I decided to try it on Hope. 


I made full strength turmeric tea and let it cool. Then every half hour I'd help her take small sips until her neck got tired. Then I'd wait a few minutes and offer her water. A couple hours later, she had enough strength to eat. I held a plate of scrambled eggs chest height, so she wouldn't have to bend her head down so far. A couple hours after that, she was taking tentative steps toward the food and water dishes. By that evening, the bend in her neck was significantly better, and she was able to hold her head up for longer amounts of time. I was beginning to have hope for Hope. I let her drink more tea before bed. My prayer was that she'd maintain her progress overnight. It still seemed impossible that she was recovering so quickly. 


 
Day 3. I was astonished to see her standing up to greet me when I came into the bathroom. Her neck looked like she had never had a problem! I picked her up, and she flapped around and cooed at me. I celebrated her recovery with my kids. We were going out of town for the day and had planned to take her with us so we could continue treatment. But she was hopping out of the bathtub, so we put her back with the flock. I admit I worried that she'd regress while we were gone. But she didn't. In fact, when we came home, Hope jumped up on the gate to see us - with her neck perfectly shaped, her head held high, making sweet happy noises. 


It’s been a week since this occurred, and Hope is still doing well. She’s back to run-flying to the food every morning, standing on the edge of the water bucket and leaning down to drink, and putting the young roos in their place. A complete success!


So here are the treatment specifics. I used Turmeric Vitality Tea (which can be found here: http://www.lostrivernaturals.com/-SUPER--TEAS-.html), prepared it as directed for humans, and gave it to Hope full strength. My disclaimer is this: Turmeric Vitality has secondary ingredients like ginger root and clove oil to support the work of the turmeric. You have to decide if you want your chickens to have those too. I’m not a vet, so use your discernment for your flock. 

*** If you do want to try Turmeric Vitality, the owner of Lost River Naturals has been kind enough to offer 10% off your tea when you mention this blog post. ***


If you want to skip the extra ingredients, you can find many recipes for turmeric tea online. The ratio of spice to water in the tea I made for Hope was 2 teaspoons to 8 ounces. Turmeric can be found at most grocery stores in the spice aisle. It is intensely golden yellow, so it’s hard to miss.

Since turmeric supports the immune system and brain function in general, I might start occasionally sprinkling it on their food or adding tea to their water.

Be sure to comment and tell us if you currently use turmeric with your chickens. And if you use this protocol for wry neck, come back and share your experience.

Happy, healthy chicken keeping!

~ Christine Myers ~

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33 comments:

  1. Wow. Wow.. Wow!!! I hsd never used turmeric until starting a detox program..never thought sbout chicken health. .you really think outside the box! So Happy the simple treatment worked for her and so quickly. I also believe in limited medication and the responsibilities of ending their suffering though happy to say I've been spared the task and still wondering if I can do it...

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    1. I have alittle Polish girl that has wry neck.l love the little thing to bits and will try owt. Currently on Vit E with selenium. Interested in the turmeric tea. My shop has Pukka Organic Three Ginger containing turmeric. Is this the same thing? Thank you for any replies

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    2. Vicky - it is hard to say without knowing the content of the Turmeric in the tea. You may just want to buy some Turmeric (organic is best, but I have used grocery store Turmeric in a pinch) and boil 1 Tbsp in 2 cups of water. Allow it to cool and then strain it through a coffee filter. Make this your girl's only drink for the next few days... and best of luck!

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    3. Thank you so much Christine for this information! I have a poland 6 weeks old (almost) chick with wry neck and have given all the chicks from day one a diet of quality feed, brewers yeast, garlic powder and probiotics, along with ACV and avivit - think he/she accidentally got bumped by their adopted pekin (cochin bantam) mum.
      Will definitely try the tea too. Thank you again! Best wishes, Kirsty

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  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing. I've used various herbs and natural remedies but never thought to try turmeric. No you have me wanting to do some research and see what is in it that may have helped! I've read about ginger and that may have even been a good part of the cure.

    Wonderful!

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  3. I am trying this. So far she loves the tea so hopefully it will help

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    1. So far, she really likes the tea and has even eaten some crumbles. She drank about 2/3 cup of the tea and 1/2 cup of water. It will be a long night.

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    2. Keeping my fingers crossed that she pulls though! Keep me posted!

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  4. Thank you , thank you! My little silkie hen had wry neck and I thought she was a goner. Brought her into the house in a big box and gave her a vitamin mix in yogurt, but no improvement by Friday morning, so back to the web. That's when I found your post! I rushed off to the store and made her turmeric tea which I fed her with a syringe. She began to hold her head up for longer periods of time. I mixed it in to her yogurt (plain Greek) and she ate it like it was the best thing ever. I then added in some of her crumble and she ate like a horse! And was holding her head up quite well. Saturday she was showing so much improvement that after her tierce breakfast I let her loose in the yard and she acted like a normal chicken 95% of the time. She slept in the box again last night and laid an egg! Today she's back in with the other two and all seems back to normal. I can't thank you enough. God led me to your post and now we have a healthy girl again. I will be posting about this on my blog as soon as I catch up from my nursing chores THANKS AGAIN!

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  5. We tried this cure along with Vitamin E with Selenium and within a few days our Scarlett was as good as ever! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
    Sarah Jensen Lafayette, Colorado

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  6. Thank you so much for your reply Bulldogma. I will try what you have suggested. I could only find the supermarket turmeric in the short space of time l had. Fingers crossed. Will let you know the progress in a couple of days. I will still use the Vit E with selenium on her food.

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  7. This is the ingredients for the Pukka turmeric tea.....My little Polish is not keen on the Turmeric alone.
    Ingredients:

    Organically grown ingredients:, Galangal Root (28%), Ginger Root (51%), Licorice Root, Turmeric Root (4%, Ginger Essential Oil Flavour* (1%), (*Contains non Organic Lecithin)
    Do you think this would be okay for her? Or just pursue with turmeric on its own or even add something to make it more palatable.

    Many thanks 😊

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    1. Turmeric is the herb that targets the healing of nerves. It would probably be fine to use the Pukka tea... but I would suggest adding more turmeric to it for the best results.

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  8. Thank you again for your help. I was talking to another chicken friend today and recommended your advice and site. Its been worth it for me. I have her on the tea now and likes it alot better, will add abit more turmeric as you say 😊

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I am trying to get my little Cocoa, an Ameraucana, back to normal and healthy again. it's been 2 long horrible days. I started by crushing a Vit B pill and squeezing some vitamin E in her food, but liquid is the way to go. She is being syringed Gatorade with Vitamin mix but I have not yet seen much improvement. I am going to give it my best effort and try Tumeric and find some Selenium supplement to add for the Vit E. Any advice gives me HOPE- thank you!!

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    1. Best of luck and best wishes for your Cocoa!

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  10. Yesterday morning at 6 a.m. I let my 2 month old babies out and noticed one has the obvious curved neck symptoms on wry neck. He was fine the night before. I brought him in the houde. I didn't have regular vit. E, but I gave him a combination ADEK capsule. Then I googled treatment for more ideas and came upon your blog. I had a cucummin (tumeric) supplement. I opened the capsule and boiled it with a cup of water. Because the capsule is a concentrate I was able to cool it quickly with ice and dilute it. My chicken couldn't hold its head well enough to drink so I gave it the Tumeric drink with a sirynge. I mixed some chick started with the Tumeric liquid enough to make a mash. By 9 a.m. the chick was pecking at the food. I gave him some more of the liquid and moved him out to my shop. I got some Vit. E. I was going to get selenium, but noticed that the main ingredient was brewers yeast. I had brewers yeast/ garlic tabs at home. I treated him again in the afternoon with Tumeric, vit E, and a crushed brewers yeast tab in his food. I also gave him a dose of vit E by mouth. He had Tumeric liquid in a water bowl and was starting to drink on his own. By evening I was having a hard time keeping him contained. I kept him in the shop over night and this morning he showed no signs of the wry neck. I put him back with the other babies. As a preventative I added Tumeric and vit. E to the whole flocks food.
    I caught his wry neck early and I have never had to deal with it before. From what I have read though a 24 hour turn around is nothing short of miraculous. I will be adding some Tumeric to my chickens feed on a regular basis. I have it for myself, I just never thought of giving it to my flock. Thank you for your blog it really saved the day.

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  11. I have a 3 month old Barred Rock I acquired with wry neck, she has had it since 1 week old. Is she beyond hope? I'm concerned her neck has fused in place already. I am taking her to a vet I have found a vet in the morning, but I am afraid of what he may say the outcome is. My heart is breaking for her. She is so sweet!!
    What is the age of no return for a wry necked chicken?

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    1. If your bird has had something wrong with her neck for more than 2 and a half months, it is probably permanent at this point...
      BUT... is she happy? Can she get about the yard OK? Can she eat and drink?
      Usually unhappy chickens are not "sweet." The fact that you feel she is sweet suggests that she is doing OK. She may look a bit odd and she may not get about as well as some of her flock mates, but if she wants to live, why not let her live? Life is not about having the best of everything. Life is about making the best of everything you have.

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    2. I did take my dear Lucy to the vet, and he too stated there was nothing I could do for her. He commented how happy and otherwise healthy she is and she should have a good life with me. Unfortunately, since bringing her home she has been having major set backs ( I am afraid the long drive to see the vet, may have caused problems that where not an issue prior) Lucy is now having problems turning her neck a 180 degree curve, to the point of not being able to get out of the stance unless startled. She has also started pecking at her toenails, which also causes her to tuck her neck in?? I carry guilt that my pursuit to cure her may have cause more damage. She was good other than the crooked neck until I traveled with her. Any suggestions??

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    3. I'm sure the turn for the worse was not your fault. A car ride won't hurt a bird. Her issue is likely neurological. She may even have a tumor on a nerve or on her spinal column... there is no real way to know for sure. You can make her comfortable and hope for the best, or...
      Follow your gut. You know your bird and you'll know when she's had enough.
      I'm sorry for her troubles.
      :(

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  12. Hi there, I just found your blog whole searching how to help my 6 week old silkie chick with wry neck. We discovered her Saturday evening and I've been giving her a livestock water soluble multivitamins plus a vitamin E and a crushed selenium in her water but I'm not sure how well she is drinking as it stressed her out when I hold her to try to coax her to drink so I have resorted to dropper method a couple times a day. But I discovered this morning that she gobbled up some scrambled egg so I wondered if I sprinkle some organic turmeric on the eggs if this would work as well as your tea. I also have organic clove spice. The poor thing is so disoriented and can only walk backwards so she keeps falling into her water dish ��

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    1. Yes - I would absolutely try the turmeric on the eggs. I'm not certain about the cloves - perhaps stick with the turmeric for now.

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  13. I also have a polish hen that has had wry neck for about 3 months. We tried the Vitamin E but it did not work with her. I am reading about the tumeric too late. She has learned to live with it. She can't really fly but she gets around the yard just fine. She has no problem eating and drinking. She even runs to me when she sees me with the food. My other polish hens don't do that. We do keep the three polish separate from the rest of the flock. I don't want them to get picked on.

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  14. Two nights ago my 17yr old daughter was closing up the coop for the night and noticed Lucy outside of the coop. She put her in and Lucy gave a flap of her wings!I didn't think much of it until last night when the same happened with me. This morning I opened the coop after spreading some treats outside it and Lucy was the only one to stay in the coop. I picked her up and noticed the bend in her neck. When I placed her name front of some bread she was pecking at it, but this afternoon she was getting worse. I Googled to find out what I could do when I came across your blog. I picked her up and went to a couple stores to find the tumeric and ended up getting droppers from a friend. She drank almost half the tea right away using the curved dropper!She is settled into the tub for the night and I am eager to see what tomorrow brings.

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  15. Not sure if this is what my chicken has. Her head is sideways almost upside down. I feed them lots of herb, AP vinegar. Also fresh parsley,sprouted grains, kelp, garlic,oregano. I did add tumeric but no change.. this is the second chicken with this, the first had a bone growth so I though it was related to that. But I don't want this to run through my flock... of 25.She is a black osterlope about a year old. still eating well. I have isolated her.

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    1. Boost the Turmeric for a few days and hope for the best.
      There is also a possibility this in injury related or Marek's disease.
      Keeping fingers crossed she gets better!

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  16. I have a RR cross chick about a month old. Just started with the wry this morning. I just came across this post. I am going to get the stuff tomorrow and try it And see if he gets better.

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  17. Hi

    I would just like to update my posting ... my apologies as meant to post a lot sooner. The Poland youngster who had wry neck from I think an injury possibly sustained by the adopted mother, by accidentally knocking into them has made a almost 100% recovery, as just has a slight crook to his/her neck and is not flying as yet, but think this is just a confidence thing as they are making their way up to fly onto my head and shoulders whilst I sit on a chair like the rest of them lol! After always giving quality feed and liquid to all the chicks (got this from Lisa Steele at her website at fresheggsdaily.com - fantastic website!) as well as the ex-bat hens we have - it is fantastic how healthy they now all are! I started adding crushed sunflower seeds to the feed and then after a few days (after reading your information) of adding tumeric, ginger and clove oil to the feed they started to get better. It was amazing to see and I am so happy and relieved for her.

    Thank you so much again.
    All the best, Kirsty

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    1. Kirsty - thank you for the update!
      While generally it's not a good idea to mention a competitor's blog in blog comments, Lisa is actually a good friend of mine... and I would recommend Fresh Eggs Daily to my readers, also.
      =)

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