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Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Ducks, Spring | 2 comments

Wry Neck in Ducklings

Wry Neck in Ducklings

Torticollis commonly known as Wry neck (a.k.a. crookneck or stargazing) is a symptom that affects many poultry species, and if not treated can be fatal. Wry neck isn’t actually, a disease, but it is a symptom of a few ailments.  While it’s most common in young birds, it can appear in adults with nutritionally deficient diets.  Affected birds cannot hold their heads up, have trouble standing, and may not be able to eat or drink with out assistance.

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While in adult birds the condition is often the result of poor nutrition, it may also be a result of botulism or  toxin ingestion or Newcastle Disease. In young birds, especially those hatched with the issue, it may be a genetic disorder, e. coli infection of the yolk sac, or a vitamin deficiency. Vitamin deficiency can be because of a lack of Vitamin E, Thiamine, or magnesium. If you have a duckling that didn’t hatch with this condition that is eating medicated feed, and you see signs of wry neck, discontinue feeding the medicated feed. Medicated feeds can interfere with thiamine uptake. (see Rehabilitation and Curing of Domestic Pigeons Exhibiting Signs of Torticollis)

When I see a duckling hatch with wry neck, I immediately break out a batch of Electrolytes + Vitamin solution.

For this I mix the following:

2 tbs Pedialyte (I may revise this in the future to only use 1 tbs)
.01 mL Poultry Nutri Drench
100 IU Vitamin E Oil
50 mg Selenium (1/4 pill crushed and dissolved)

This mix provides Vitamins A, D-3, and E plus selenium. If you want, you can swap out the Nutri Drench for 2 drops Liquid Infant Vitamins, just not the ones with Iron. I couldn’t find the ones without iron, so my mix doesn’t have Vitamins C, or a B complex. That said, 2 drops of Infant Vitamins wouldn’t provide much in the way of Thiamine, Riboflavin, or B Complex once mixed in to the electrolyte mix so I’m not sure how much better infant vitamins would be. I give this by the single drop 3-4 times a day.

If the duckling was suffering because of a Vitamin E deficiency, then some improvement should be seen within a day.



  1. Hey! I was just wondering how long you give the vitamin E solution for? Thanks!

    • Not long, I only did treatment for 3-4 days at most. One time it worked, the other the duckling passed.