|My daughter, Ivy, home from camping and *finally* I let her hold a chick! :)|
We have had a total of 13 chicks hatch out between last Thursday and Saturday. The last one to hatch is not able to move around, open its eyes, and looks like half of its feathers are missing. :( Unfortunately, it's the way it goes when raising animals: there will be animals that aren't perfect specimens like you might find at your local Tractor Supply. I think we may have to cull that one. :(
Of the 12 that are fluffy and running around, we have 2 that have what I believe to be Wry Neck. These two chicks have their heads thrown back and it's like they are checking out the ceiling all the time. They *can* set their heads upright (one of them is better at this than the other) but are often seen resting their heads on their backs. One of them I have observed righting itself and running to the feeder/waterer and eating/drinking. The other one, not so much; s/he is less coordinated and often topples backwards. I was afraid it was blind, but it's not. It's just terribly uncoordinated.
From what I have read, if this is Wry Neck, infant Poly-vi-sol drops without iron should help, as might vitamin E. We went to the store yesterday and I picked up a bottle of Poly-vi-sol. I put a few drops in the water, figuring it wouldn't hurt the other chicks to get some additional vitamins, and I tried to get a drop into the worst-off chick's beak this morning.
I am going to continue checking on the chicks, and dip the worse-off one's bill in the water/food frequently throughout the day.
Part of me wants to do all I can to save these chicks. But the other part of me feels that the best thing to do would be to let nature run its course. Survival of the fittest, and all that, you know? These chicks are a heritage breed (Light Sussex) and they are bound to have their specific genetic weaknesses. I don't do the breed any favors by coddling a chick that will pass these genes on to the next generation, assuming we use these chicks as breeding stock for our future egg/meat chickens.