Occasionally a hen will become a stargazer. No – she won’t be spending time in her garden with a telescope but she will contort her head and bend her head right over her back rather like hen doing her daily yoga. If you have never seen this condition it can be very alarming, usually people think their hen has a broken neck.
What is it and what causes it? The technical name for stargazing is Torticollis and it is also known as wry neck. The cause is not totally known in hens but has been narrowed down to a vitamin D deficiency, or fungal infection. It is more common in newly hatched caged birds – finches and Love birds are especially susceptible and in these cases the condition may be due to poor positioning inside the egg.
Check your hen’s ears and mouth for evidence of a fungal problem or infection. Supplementing Vitamin D and a course of antibiotics should help to correct the condition although often it corrects spontaneously and some birds are normal most of the time with an occasional twist.
Ensure that your hen can reach food and water easily. Hens usually cope well and there is no need for drastic action in most cases.
If you would like to ask Gaynor a hen health question please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Hen Central on 01884 860084. To support our Advice Line we ask for a nominal donation to help fund this service, so that we can continue to help your hens.