Chick walking backwards

by Linda Rupniak
(Northampton UK)


Chick walking backwards: I have home reared 8 chicks and they are all eating and pooing ok.

The last couple of weeks I have noticed one male is shivering and reluctant to get up and another chick is opening its mouth and gasping and walking backwards in a sort of fit.

They have fresh air, heat lamp, clean sawdust and straw. What can it be?

This sounds like a disease getting hold of them. It could be an infection or virus. I would recommend a medicated chick start to hopefully get them well and prevent the rest from coming down with this.

It would be best to isolate the two that are acting sick in another brooder, but feed all the medicated feed.

Giving medicated feed (medicated with antibiotic) for long term is not a good idea. Some diseases can develop a tolerance to antibiotics when fed too long.

If you can get them to a vet for a diagnosis of the problem you would get a prescription for the best antibiotic for that illness.

Some illnesses and immunities to illness can be passed from the mother to the chicks. Some chicks are healthier and strong than others, including a stronger immune system that works better to fight disease.

There are vitamin supplements made just for chicks after shipping, that might help, even though you raised these at home.

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Re chicks/chickens with funny gait, walking backwards, etc.
by: Anonymous

Normally the medication in chick starter is a coccidiostat.

That doesn't generally help with issues of walking backwards but does help with coccidiosis, which young poultry are very prone to.

Keeping bedding clean and DRY is the best preventative for coccidiosis though...I never use medicated starter and never have issues with coccidia in young chicks, either.

Using medications randomly like that is leading to "superbugs" forming. Please research more thoroughly and don't overuse antibiotics.

Only use them when absolutely certain that something is an illness and not caused by environmental or injury.

That being said- walking backwards is usually linked to vitamin deficiency or neurological problems. Silkies are especially prone to this.

I have been advised to supplement with vitamin E for chicks like this. If an older bird, supplementing with vitamin e and also using anti inflammatory, like Bayer Children's aspirin is helpful, as are tiny doses of prednisone. Continue for one week and assess the bird.

Chick walking backwards
by: Anonymous

That's great! So glad we could help!

by: Anonymous

Thanks for your answer. I bought some Flubinvet from the internet and have mixed that with their feed and sprinkled a bit of garlic on too.

They are still growing and eating and the rest seem ok. I have washed down their cage and will just hope for the best.

As soon as the frosts have gone here in the UK I will get them outside to have fresh air, hopefully that will help. Its my first time raising chicks and the chicks are so tame.

As soon as I open the cage they jump on my shoulder and chirp away. What amazing creatures they are.

One of my adult girls (bought in) laid her first blue egg on Saturday, I rushed to the two neighbours and showed them. I was soo excited!!

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