Can A Chicken Really Have A Seizure

Mrs. Q By Mrs. Q, 22nd Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Chickens

A true story of an unexpected chicken condition and a hard lesson learned

Living The Life

My chicken, lovingly called "Little" was a Golden Seabright hen. She was just nearly a year old and living a good life. Since her emergance from her egg, she has taken a spot in my heart and as an overprotective "mom" that I was, she became a household pet along with the dogs.

Little had spent most of her life with me during the day at our retail pet shop and would sit on the counter for hours at a time greeting our customers. I would place her in her cage at night at the store and let her back out the next morning. This is what she knew, this is all she knew, but she was healthy, seemed happy, and I was so pleased to have her.

Our sale of the shop brought her home, she was used to people and of course our dogs, she didn't know any different, she had never been an outside chicken, just getting to know the house was the only change. She would come when she was called, hang out inside the house, and just perch herself on my desk chair at night and sleep.

Have Food, They All Beg

Those who have dogs know that when you have food, they are always underfoot. Well, Little was no different, have food, there she was along with my two dogs. She was so small, I always watched my step as I worried I may step on her. So with a piece of food in hand, perhaps a piece of bread, maybe some vegetable scraps, I would dish out the goods to the three of them.

Little was no different than the dogs, why should she be? This was home, it was warm, safe, and always food and water. She would follow me around from room to room, and what I thought was the cutest thing ever was that when I called to her, she would answer back in her teeny tiny little chicken voice to let me know she was there.

Baking Bread

Now as time went on, snacks were always a part of life in a household of animals. All was good.

One day I decided I would bake some homemade bread and it smelled so good inside that we all wanted a piece, fresh out of the oven. As the bread cooled, I dished out a small piece to my dogs and of course a piece to chicken, "Little". No harm, great food.

Just another snack, homemade, and delicious.

The Scary Part

The next day all appeared to be normal, as normal as my house was to me and once again I was dishing out a few pieces of the home made bread.

I put a small piece down which was intended for one of the dogs and Little rushed over and just snatched that piece and went running off gobbling it up as she went.

It wasn't more than a few seconds later I looked at Little as she stood there straining her neck, she was unbalanced and started to walk sideways, then she just collasped on the floor.

I nearly jumped out of my shoes and as I picked her up, realized she was not breathing. Her eyes were closed, but she was twitching. I thought she was choking on the dry piece of bread she had gulped down. I was next to the water bowl, and sat down with her in my lap and put a few drops of water in her mouth thinking this may add liquid to the dry piece and unlodge it. I was just about frantic at this time.

I began to rub her throat and even tried to blow air gently down her beak. I kept trying a few drops of water, kept rubbing her throat, kept blowing air down her beak, it seemed like eternity and in slow motion, however this went on for a few minutes as she became limp and I thought for sure she was gone. I began to cry, but I didn't give up.

Then suddenly, a gasp, oh my gosh she gasped for air. I threw myself back into reality and kept up with my chicken CPR. A second later another gasp, then another.

She opened her eyes and took a breath, then another, lifted her tiny head and perked up. I was absolutely overwhelmed. Within the next minute or so she came out of it, jumped out of my hands onto the floor as if nothing had happened. Although a bit on the exausted side, she just started walking around the house going on with her daily business as usual.

I swore, never again, no more bread, no more snacks.....ever! I could not believe what had just happened, I could not believe she was still here, I could not believe, I just saved her life.


After a night of watching her every move, we finally settled down and when she perched upon the chair for the evening, I felt more comfortable that she was going to be OK.

The next morning, first thing, I jumped out of bed and called to Little. A tiny chicken voice called back and I knew she was Ok. She came running over in the cute little chicken waddle that she had, of course, looking for those yummy treats I always gave out.

No, no, not today, not ever. I won't go through that again, she would have to be happy with the normal chicken food and perhaps the ocassional meal worms that she just loved so much.

Towards the evening my husband noticed that she was not acting right, she started to weave and then suddenly, once again, just collapsed.

Immediately, once again, I picked her up and began the chicken CPR as I had done the day before. Again her eyes closed and she went limp. I was really frantic this time. I didn't give her any treats, she didn't appear to be choking, what was happening to her?

As I kept rubbing her neck and lightly blowing in her beak, only a minute or two had passed by this time, then suddenly, her eyes opened, she took a deep breath and within seconds, she was up and running around.

I was once again overwhelmed with this and definately curious as to what was going on with her. I kept my eye on her all day, watching everything she did, wondering if she ate something bad around the house perhaps. The day progressed without another incident, she perched herself for the night and we all went to bed.

I Can't Take This Anymore

Day three. Again I arose to find her just fine and we proceeded with our day.

This day was different, she began to act strange again in the early afternoon. She was up on a box and just fell to the floor. I could not believe this. Not again.

Sure enough, she was limp again, however this time it lasted less than a minute. She awoke from this and now I knew it was time to play detective, this is not right.

My husband and I passed ideas back and forth of possible causes and one idea was seizures, so the question was: "Can A Chicken Really Have A Seizure?"

It's True

So off the the internet and on with the research. I came across many articles regarding chickens and definately articles on chickens having seizures. My gosh, it was true, yes they can. There were a few reasons why this could happen and one reason made sense to me. If a chicken were to injest bad food, such as mold or bacteria, this could cause a seizure. So, I started to back track the past few days and thinking of what she ate, I checked her chicken crumbles for signs of mold, then I realized something that I never would have thought of.

Three days ago I made homemade bread with lots of yeast. Yeast, I thought, maybe the yeast caused this, maybe it was seizures all along from the yeast in the bread, it was in her system, maybe it took a couple of days to pass through. It seemed logical to me.

Sure enough, the next day she once again had a small seizure, I only held her this time and sure enough within a minute she was up and running about.

All together she did this five times, in five days. The first time being a near death experience to the last time where she was just twitching and making noise. She never did it again.

The lesson is learned, and what I share with you and this true story is to be careful what you feed your chickens. Be sure their food is fresh without mold, without cause for bacteria, and by all means, never, ever feed them home made yeast bread.


Chicken, Chickens, Chicks, Poultry

Meet the author

author avatar Mrs. Q
I've dedicated my life to the care of animals large and small. I can share some "at-home" tips of basic animal care, and where to find products you may need.

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author avatar Denise O
1st Aug 2012 (#)

One of our dogs had seizures for years and we tried all we were told and (common sense telling us) a few of our ideas and she never stopped having them. The last 3 months they turned so bad and there was no hope, we had to put her down (after she violently attacked her best friend, my daughter and my brother), it was the only humane thing to do. So it does not surprise me. Thank you for sharing.:)

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