Why Do Chickens Walk Backwards? One Way To Stop This!

Having an animal or poultry at your home is difficult since they are unable to express emotions, leaving you perplexed by their acts. Like all animals, chickens can’t communicate with their owners. So, if they tend to do something odd or out of the blue, the owner will inevitably be confused.

It’s difficult enough dealing with the chicken. But when they start walking backward, that’s when they really turn their owners’ heads.

Why do chickens walk backwards? Chickens with a deficiency of Selenium or Vitamin E or both (in some cases) tend to walk backward. However, it doesn’t stop there. You might see your chicken frequently off balance or even swinging his head more often than not. Yes! It’s only normal among those with a deficiency of Vitamin E or Selenium.

Since your chicken cannot communicate, you will have to be extra vigilant to detect such possibilities. You don’t want your chicken to behave abnormally, do you?

Is Walking Backwards Healthy For My Chicken?

No, it is not normal for chickens to begin walking backward. And not just backward, sideways, even!

When you see your chicken walking backward, that means it has a deficiency of Vitamin E or Selenium. It’s not healthy for the chicken’s head and neck to want to go in another direction while the legs are doing the opposite. It’s a sign of dizziness that comes from a lack of vitamins, especially.

In the case it shows dizziness, she will need the sides of the run to support her walk. She might even experience diarrhea if it gets really bad!

Why Do Baby Chicks Walk Backwards?

Like their older brothers or parents, there is a high probability your baby chicken will start walking backward. And when that happens, they require special treatment because, unlike their counterparts, they don’t have strong immunity.

The causes of baby chickens walking backward are the same – neurological issues or a lack of vitamins. If you’re a chicken owner, you should be extra careful because chicks, in particular, are especially prone to endless vitamin deficiencies that lead to their unhealthiness. This has the potential to cause gastrointestinal issues as well as increased dizziness.

What Should I Do When My Chicken Walks Backwards?

Chickens walking backward are undoubtedly troublesome for their owners. The “odd chicken behavior” doesn’t sit well with the rest of the flock either. They will potentially start picking up a particular chicken. Not because they like to, but because it’s natural for animals to ally against one group member that behaves abnormally.

To avoid certain mishaps, try supplementing Vitamin E (400iu capsule). Since the reason for the chicken walking backward is linked directly to their deficiency of Vitamin E, this will serve as a better solution.

However, that’s not the only thing you need to focus on. In situations like this one, it’s also important to improve your chicken’s diet because deficiencies lead to dizziness, which then leads to gastrointestinal issues, weakening the immunity of your chicks. So, if you’re giving your chicken a 400iu capsule, try serving cooked eggs for breakfast and tuna with selenium for lunch or supper.

Implementing these changes daily will improve the conditioning of your chicken. You can also try a human B complex tablet ground in chicken feed. Since B’s are extremely water-soluble, there is no risk of overdosing.

In addition to that, you also need to understand that too many Vitamin E supplements in the long term would be too much. Try using feeding the tablet to your affected chicken for only a couple of weeks max. Moreover, it is vital to note that while you’re treating the wry neck, separate the chicken from the rest of the flock to avoid unforced errors, such as food mixing, mainly.

Can Chickens Run Backwards?

Walking backward among all the animals seems to be a spot of a bother for their owners, and rightly so, too. If your pet is walking backward these days, it could be due to a head injury, disease, or vitamin deficiency.

Among chickens, running backward is more common compared to other animals. Oftentimes, their running backward has one main cause, which is the deficiency of Vitamin E. One noteworthy element is that, at first, the chicken will only be able to walk instead of running. But when the deficiency increases, that’s when they become prone to running backward.

How Important Is Vitamin E for Chickens?

Vitamin E supplementation is beneficial in examinations. Chickens given large doses of Vitamin E showed enhanced phagocytosis and antibody synthesis, which protected them against E. coli.

In a study, birds fed with vitamin E-fortified food had an E. coli death rate of less than 5%, compared to 40% for those that did not get the supplement. Chicks were provided with a Vitamin E-enriched diet before being subjected to coccidiosis in another research. Even amid significant coccidiosis stress, they gained weight and had lower death rates.

Birds on Vitamin E-supplemented meals had higher immune responses and generated antibodies sooner after vaccinations than birds on non-supplemented diets. Baby chicks fed a diet enriched with 225 to 450 international units (IU) of Vitamin E daily were less susceptible to bacterial illness infections and died at a lower rate than those fed a non-supplemented diet.

However, it should be taken seriously the amount of dosage you are going to feed your chicken. Vitamin E has a broad range of safety; hens have demonstrated that they can withstand anything from 450 to 900 IU per pound of diet.

Vitamin E is maintained in all bodily tissues, with the liver having the greatest quantity. Although Vitamin E poisoning is conceivable, it is rare. Symptoms include a slowed pace of development and a longer time for the blood to coagulate.

How About Other Birds, Can They Walk Backwards Too?

Chickens are not the only birds that can walk backward. There are a ton of other birds that can also walk backward. Among birds like sparrows and parrots, it’s a frequent occurrence.

However, this isn’t something that you find amusing as a pet owner. As mentioned before, several potential reasons can lead to your bird or your pet walking backward. While many would think it’s something that they have recently picked on, in reality, your bird could be uncomfortable because of a deficiency or a disease.

Like chickens, the majority of birds face the same deficiency in Vitamin E that leads to their dizziness and, eventually, walking backward even when they don’t want to.

Why Does My Chicken Walk Like a Duck?

If your chicken is walking like a duck all of a sudden, this isn’t something she recently picked on. She’s suffering from a disease, and let me tell you that she’s in serious pain!

Peritonitis can develop as a result of a rupture or if the yolk enters the abdominal wall rather than flowing through the oviduct and out normally.

So, if your chicken has something like this, that means there is fluid building up in her lower abdomen. The stored fluid is full of bacteria that can potentially be the cause of death for your chicken.

Your chicken will try to spread out her wings to gain balance because she might have become weak between her legs to stand properly. If you see it doing this, the first thing you should do is place your hand under its chest and reach down to her legs to feel her lower belly. Notice a soft water balloon and – that’s it! The chicken is in trouble.

To get rid of the toxins and fluids, take her to the vet immediately instead of improvising on your own. The vet will perform surgery and will drain the entire bacteria out of her. Do know that your chicken’s recovery will be slow and time-consuming after the surgery.

Why Does My Chicken Walk Like a Penguin?

If your chicken can walk like a duck, there is a high possibility it can also walk like a penguin. These disorders are most commonly seen in obese hens or pullets that begin laying too soon.

The reason your chicken is walking like a penguin is that its oviduct has become blocked by a small egg or a mass of broken eggs. When this happens, the eggs push themselves back into the body cavity as your chicken continues to lay them. As a result, their abdomens grow heavier, causing them to walk like penguins.


While your chicken may not be able to communicate with you, it’s important to observe its behavior. If you see it walking backward, waddling like a duck or a penguin, that means it’s dealing with a health emergency.

If you see it walking backward, it’s a sign of Vitamin E or selenium deficiency. If you see your chicken walking like a duck or a penguin, check the abdomen part of the chicken to see if there’s a small watery balloon.

In either case, make sure to provide your chicken with the treatment it deserves. If you think you can’t handle the problem, take it to a nearby vet to get proper medication.

Jake Willhoite
Jake runs AnimalDome.com and has had cats and dogs his entire life. As a kid his family adopted several dogs from the local shelter which set him down the path of animal rescue.
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