Q: Encephalomalacia Overview
Crazy chick disease
Rare, particularly so in backyard flocks with access to pasture.
General signs -
Sudden loss of balance, circling, head shaking or tremors, eventually convulsions, paralysis, death
Cardinal or diagnostic signs -
Necropsy shows deteriorated brain
Nutritional deficiency of Vitamin E.
Not communicable, but many members of a flock may share this problem if they're on the same deficient feed.
Communicability to humans -
Incubation period -
None, but as a deficiency, it takes some time to develop.
Home treatment and/or prevention -
Prevention: Provide a good, fresh, nutritionally balanced feed for your flock. Don't make the mistake of offering something like scratch only, or kitchen scraps only.
Treatment: Supplement with Vitamin E and Selenium (which helps Vitamin E metabolism).
Veterinary care - A veterinarian can diagnose this problem and suggest good supplements.
Recovery - In birds that haven't sustained permanent neurological damage, full recovery with supplementation and a balanced diet.
Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs:
Early stages may be mistaken for other neurological illnesses such as listeriosis or polyneuritis..
Also consider browsing through this list of other chicken illnesses with neurological symptoms.