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Wobbly Chicken

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I noticed Pecky behaving a bit strangely this morning, every so often she’ll sort of loose her balance and stagger towards the left for a couple of steps. She doesn’t actually fall over and corrects herself, sometimes with a bit of wing flapping if she’s on the edge of the wall, but it’s a bit concerning. I managed to get a bit of a video, you can see her wobble a little bit here about 10 seconds in

Once she’s had a wobble she’ll go back to walking normally until the next one. The video isn't a great example, she usually stagger much more exagerated than this is showing.


She has laid fine this morning and is eating, chatting, dust bathing and pottering around as normal. She even jumped up onto my shoulder this morning when I was standing watching her (she’s never done that before!) and sat there for a bit while I walked back in the house to get my camera! She clearly has no problems with grip.


The only other symptom she has is diarrhoea (picture here https://scontent-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/v/t1.0-9/q87/s720x720/10670211_10152750878384651_4515906614825773655_n.jpg?oh=68d56e015bcc7bb0dc48cd1f9daf4f45&oe=54EB25E0 ), which I’ve taken a sample of and plan to send to Retfords. She might have possibly been doing these for a few days now, I've seen similar in the garden but I thought it was because she's had too much friut or something. I don't think she does them like this every time.


Any idea what could possibly be up with her? I was really worried until she jumped on my shoulder, now slightly less so but I’m still curious as to what could be making her behave like this. Has anyone experienced their hens doing this?

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Personally (I could be wrong),I don't think the poo and the strange gait are connected. She could have a neurolical problem. If she's eating well and laying I wouldn't worry too much about it. The poo doesn't look too strange to me. If you think she looks happy I would just leave it be. You could try some orego stim or ACV in their water for their poo. Sometimes it's best to just leave it be. I've got an exbat who hops, she always has. Some days it's worse than others, but I would say she's as happy as a pig in poop. Your girly doesn't look sad. :)

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I got a better video of her this morning, she seems to be worse when I first let them out and husband said she was fine by the time he got home last night.



I wondered if it might be an the ear infection, and if so whether it would just clear up on its own or she might need antibiotics. I have no issues taking her to see the vet, but I am cautious about pumping more chemicals into her as she's had a lot recently (panacur for tapeworm two weeks ago and she's just finished a course of Ivermectin as a mite preventative, and she had a *lot* of Flubenvet when we were trying to get rid of the Tapeworm about 2 months ago) and I was wondering if this might be some sort of toxic reaction - she finished the Ivermectin Wednesday.


She is, as you can see, otherwise fine. It doesn't seem to bother her at all. Blummin chickens. I'm starting to think they actually like going to the vets!

Edited by Guest
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Try googling ear infections in chickens. I just did there's loads of info. Personally I wouldn't rush to the vets. Eating and drinking and especially laying are all good signs. There is a horrible disease called Mareks. This involves the chicken losing their appetite completely and becoming very disabled. Look that up on google too. I don't think this is the case for your bird though.


I couldn't open your URL. If you feel she's been over medicated get some yoghurt with good bacteria in it they love it, there's no need to mix it with food

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Sure she's not sneaked out to the pub? :shock: I Think I've suffered a very simular wobble some Saturday nights :lol:


I havent got any useful suggestions, but It does look like a balance problem :think: It doesn't look like the classic Mareks symptoms to me........limping, paralysis and curled feet are more usual first symptoms.


She does look otherwise happy and healthy :D

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We popped along to see the vet on Saturday as I am worried about Pecky, even though she seems OK in herself. This vet was recomended to me by someone local who does BHWT rescues and looks after the poorlies.


Of course, by the time we got to the vets Pecky was walking about fine and was as bright and alert as ever :roll: Fortunately I was armed with the video!


Nathalie (the vet) couldn’t really find anything wrong with her at all, but did think the wonky was strange. She felt all round her legs and feet and gave her a really good examination. Nothing visibly wrong with her ears or anything else for that matter.


She said as an ex batty she would have been vaccinated against Mareks, and it didn’t really look like that anyway. She said whatever is causing the wobble is very mild at the moment and it isn’t bothering her at all. She put Pecky on the floor to walk around a bit and she was fine, alert and chatting away. She even thought it was funny to give the stethoscope a good pecking when Nathalie was trying to listen to her heart :lol:


The vet said it could be the starts of arthritis, which I suppose would make sense that she seems to be worse with it in the morning, and on cold wet days. She said ex batties often have "Ooops, word censored!"py bones because growing up they never had access to sunlight. I don’t know, it looks like there's something wrong with her head to me (with all my veterinary qualifications lol) but Nat said it didn’t look neurological her as Pecky is fine most of the time. She said if it was neurological, or poisoning or an ear infection etc she’d be doing the wobble all the time.


As an aside, her tapeworm is back. We had about 2 weeks respite from it after treating with Panacur 10% but I am not convinced the dosage my usual vet told me to use on them was correct. She advised .01ml per 1kg of body weight for 5 days, which is a tiny amount. When I look online they advise 2ml for puppies between 2 and 4 kg. Now I know chickens are not puppies, but given that’s what a pup needs to get rid of worms and my chickens weigh about the same I don’t really understand how such a tiny dose is going to do anything.


Could the tapeworm be causing her stumbling I wonder? I’m loathed to treat her for it again because she’s had so many drugs lately I am terrified I am overloading her little body :?

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Just found this on the Internet



Join Date: Nov 2010

Posts: 3,993

Default TAPEWORMS in poultry - how to identify and treat them.

"Experience is what you get when you get what you don't want"

I didn't much want tapeworms in my flock, but I hope my experience can help you if you come across this link. Please post a reply to this thread letting us know how you got on, as there is so little information available about the actual treatment of tapeworms in poultry.


THE LIFE CYCLE OF THE TAPEWORM (also called "cestode")

Poultry tapeworm larvae live in creatures like slugs, snails, ants, beetles and flies - these are known as the host.

When a chicken ingests one of these, the larva hatches and attaches itself to the intestinal wall. The chicken is the intermediate host.

Within two to three weeks it becomes a fully grown tapeworm.

Then at least once a day the tapeworm releases it's "tail" segment, called a cyst.

The cyst is passed out with the faeces and wriggles (yes wriggles) out of the chicken's poo and onto the nearest vegetation.

When the cyst dries out it releases its eggs, which in turn are eaten by the host creature, and so the cycle begins again.



You need to inspect as many fresh poos as you can for the cysts. I would suggest you place a fresh poo on a piece of paper towel, leave it for a couple of minutes, then have a good look with a magnifying glass.

An infected chicken will not pass cysts all the time, just in a few poos per day (mine were mainly in the evenings).

If you put the chicken poo onto a paper towel, it may leave a bloody tinge around it.

Cecal poos may be very frothy and yellowy.

A worm egg count by a vet will not necessarily pick up on tapeworms because there will not always be cysts in the poo.

Here is a video clip of cysts in chicken poo:


Sometimes they will not be moving straight away, and will look a bit like slug eggs:

https://picasaweb.google.com/1118205...87971 7593666


and if you put this poo sample in a jar, the cysts will climb out of the poo, whereas roundworms will burrow into it to stay moist. The cysts resemble clear sesame seeds:



Occasionally your chicken might pass a dead tapeworm:






The usual wormers licensed for poultry WILL NOT kill these critters!




PANACUR - NO (although some vets may want you to try this option first)



Actually - tapeworms are very hard to kill. The treatment will only paralyse the worm, making it release it's grip on your birds' intestines.

The treatment is usually used for horses, and is the active ingredient in dog and cat wormers.

It is important to remember that the treatment is NOT licensed for poultry, and so you must be aware that there may be risks involved. However, I used it on several exbats of various ages, and also on pure breed hens with no obvious ill effects.

The treatment is Praziquantrel. This is usually available as a tube of paste (like toothpaste), which would be sufficient for a heavy horse. A chicken only needs a tiny amount, the size of a small pea.


Alternatively, you could use a cat worming tablet, such as 'Drontal', which also contains praziquantrel. This is handy if you only have one hen with tapeworms.



Q. What if I leave tapeworm untreated?

A. Tapeworms are not as deadly as roundworms (which will block the intestines if untreated), but they are feeding off your bird's body, and can be around a foot long, so would you fancy them?

Q. What if other chickens eat the cysts from an affected bird?

A. They will not get tapeworm, as the cysts need to "hatch" and be eaten by a 'host' critter first.

Q. Can my chickens get tapeworms from my dog or cat?

A. No - tapeworms are host specific, and in any case the above answer would still apply.

Q. Can I get tapeworms from my chickens?

A. No - again, host specific. (The main source of tapeworms in humans is uncooked pork).

Q. Can I eat eggs after using praziquantrel?

A. Not advised for at least 7 days.

Q. What if I still see cysts after treatment?

A. Wait at least a week before considering re-treatment.

Q. If one of my hens has tapeworm, won't they all?

A. Not necessarily. Because chickens are intermediate hosts, it is possible that the others will be clear. It appears to be most common in the 'fly catchers' in your flock!

Q. Should I routinely treat my flock for tapeworm as a precautionary measure?

A. NO. The treatment will not prevent tapeworm, it will only act upon any existing ones.

Q. Are tapeworms more likely to affect free-range flocks?

A. Definiately NOT! Most cases I have come across involved exbats and hens kept in runs. After all - even battery hens are able to catch flies aren't they?

Chickens in runs will still be able to catch flies, ants etc too.


Additional info:


Although this shows the life cycle of a cat/dog tapeworm, the principle is the same.




And finally - thanks to the vets I have pestered; you know who you are!!


Additional reading material if you want to learn more about hybrid hen health issues:



Last edited by solarbats : September 25th, 2014 at 19:31.

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I have used the wormer mentioned for horses in the UK, you can get in from tack shops normally. Very interesting that the article says panacur doesn't work :?

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Very useful that Chickabee. Funny thing is we had an outbreak of Tapeworms and the Flubenvet DID kill them. We were also using Verm-X and I wonder if that has some effect on weakening the tapeworm?


We had a wobbly cockerel yesterday morning Pottage. He had hypothermia though which it appears is the result of insufficient food and water intake over a short period with sour crop? His underwing temperature was very cold to the touch and it took an hour of cuddling to get him back on his feet. Your wobbly chicken could simply be suffering from malnutrition as a result of the worms. We've been giving sickies Nettex Nutidrops at a dosage of 0.5mL per Kg body weight in a one-off shot. That's a far lower dose than the bottle suggests but it does seem to pick them up. Mind you so does a shot of Cod Liver Oil with Multivitamins at 0.5mL per Kg and thats a lot cheaper.

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