How to Cure Curled Toe Paralysis in Poultry & A Study of Riboflavin Deficiency in Quail

In my previous article on this subject, I looked at the identification of vitamin B2 deficiency, which not only mimics some fatal diseases but which, ironically can be just as dangerous to the bird but conversely very easily cured. In this post I am going to look at what to do to effect a cure. If you have just landed on this article and are not sure if this is a problem in your flock, you might want to go back to my identification article and read through it first. The link is here: Riboflavin deficiency identification

organically raised quail with mother hen

For my 'field study', I am using the example of quail chicks, from non-organic purchased hatching eggs because this is the area in which, sadly I have a great deal of experience with deficiencies of all kinds but in particular, the B complex vitamins.  I have however treated riboflavin deficiencies in hen chicks for neighbours and friends and the treatment and outcome are the same. However, in the delivery of the treatment with very small quail chicks, who are precocial, thus a great deal more independent than hen chicks, it is often useful to resort to subterfuge! Quail chicks are also obviously much smaller and thus any sort of treatment at this stage of development is a lot trickier, however as you will see, there are solutions.

Preparing to treat

administering coconut oil to a quail chick
The other thing to note with quail chicks (and with baby pigeons too), is that they are very susceptible to cold, particularly if they have been immobile, away from the parent and thus losing body heat. It is most important to get the chick ready for treatment by firstly getting its body temperature up, otherwise its system will have begun to 'close down' and the chick will have become less responsive and thus more difficult to treat. In a cold state you risk the problem of the chick not understanding what is expected of it, when presenting it with food and/or physically being unable to swallow and thus choking. So even if you are dealing with a hen chick, make sure the bird is 'up to temperature' and also that when and where you treat, the ambient temperature is sufficient. On a further note, do not over-heat the chick or this will make it sleepy and you will have similar problems! With a hen chick, who is with a mother hen and thus bonded to her, you should make sure that the chick is not stressed by being removed. If it is exhibiting symptoms of anxiety, then get a hay-lined cardboard box or similar receptacle and bring the hen and whole family in together to be there at the treatment. That way your chick will be aware of the Mother and she of it and you have a greater chance of effecting a complete cure. If this is too much to accomplish, then bring in at least one other sibling, to give some sense of comfort. At times of high anxiety, the body draws heavily on essential nutrients and as the B vitamins are some of the foremost requirements for the functioning of the nervous system, it is self-defeating to be administering vitamins which will immediately be lost to stress.

Above all, if possible, treat in the morning when the bird is hungry!

The Treatment - Nutritherapy

It is of tantamount importance to get B2 riboflavin into the bird's body as quickly and easily as possible and for this reason I am looking at foods that are both high in the vitamin and highly palatable to the bird.

A foreword about yeast flakes

cure riboflavin deficiency in poultry
Several people have asked me what I mean by yeast flakes as there is some confusion over a product called something along the lines of; 'fortified yeast flakes'. This is sold as a health supplement for vegans and is often, though not always, fortified with a synthetic cheap form of the B12 vitamin known as cyanocobalamin. Personally I would not under any circumstances be feeding this to a bird. You can tell from the prefix what this cobalamin contains but apart from that, any synthetic vitamin needs to be converted by the body to the natural form, to my mind this is not only pointless but also puts additional strain on a weakened chick. Furthermore, the bird's system can not convert synthetics in totality. Thus the bird will be left with chemical residues, which may be impossible to detox or cause an additional load to the bird's system to remove. It is also interesting to note that one of the richest sources for cyanocobalamin is activated sewage sludge. So when I mention yeast flakes as a treatment for riboflavin deficiency, I mean just that; flakes of yeast, which I buy from a bulk dispenser in my local organic shop. If you can't get pure organic yeast flakes, then with any other 'yeast flakes' I would check the packet for ingredients and additives.

As an alternative to yeast flakes the other highest form of B2, is in raw beef liver, organic beef liver is not pricey and the amount you need is very small. I always keep some in the freezer, ready to use in an emergency, although we eat it anyway. I would never advise using non-organic offal, the liver is effectively part of the body's waste disposal system, all pesticide and other toxic residues, not only pass through it but can be stored therein.

Other useful sources of B2 are;
  • oily fish, such as mackerel
  • hard boiled egg
  • invertebrates (so having a compost heap is a great source)
  • raw milk cheeses, such as Camembert
  • Kale
  • almonds
  • sesame seeds

cure curled toe paralysis in poultry with nutrition

If one of your chicks exhibits riboflavin deficiency and you have had all your hatching eggs from the same source, it is a good idea to give them all some extra B complex rich foods, chances are they may all be deficient.


Administering yeast flakes 

Although yeast flakes have quite a strong smell and thus taste, most birds seem to love them but there is always an exception. Another thing to take into consideration is, that when you are feeling weak or ill, it is often easier to drink rather than eat. Yeast flakes are water soluble, so mixing them with a liquid (including the highly nutritious organic raw virgin coconut oil) and getting the bird to sip it from a spoon may be easier (with one or two exceptions, as you will see in the film).  My technique for getting a bird to drink is to introduce the tip of its beak to the liquid and to stroke the back of its head.

The Gourmet Fly

I have rarely found a quail chick who will not go crazy for a fly, so coating it in yeast flakes, like a breaded fish can sometimes be a useful ruse for a chick who turns its beak up at the raw flakes.

Covering all Contingencies

As with all deficiencies they tend to come in multiples and many leg and foot problems can also be traced to deficiencies in;


This is something that is needed in very small amounts but without it the bird can become crippled and die. The very best way to get selenium into a bird is the Brazil nut and as selenium is toxic in large amounts and as the recommended allowance for Brazil nuts is around three per day for a human, the dosage for a quail chick is tiny. I usually just take one or two fine gratings from the end of the nut and add it to my yeast flakes.

You can also get selenium as a transdermal spray! I have found this an ideal delivery to treat the small chicks belonging to my neighbours and friends, the former have no bond with me, so it is quick and a lot less stressful for them.

Cobalamin - Vitamin B12 - the DNA Big Hitter

B12 deficiency is in epidemic proportions in the human population and  amongst poultry and other livestock. The symptoms are so various that in any form of weakness in a bird, I would always be wanting to supplement this. It can only be found in animal protein, and only good quality to boot;
  • Invertebrate wild protein from the compost heap is the tops but if this is not an option then 
  • raw beef liver, 
  • fish, 
  • shellfish,
  • egg.  

Folate - Vitamin B9

This vitamin works in synergy with B12, so it is necessary to feed both and here again, do not be confused with folic acid which is a synthetic vitamin and which actually depletes B12. The media, dictionaries, the internet and even health professionals use folate and folic acid as if they are the same, they are not! Folate can be found in a variety of leafy vegetables/vegetation;
  • broccoli
  • turnip greens
  • moss
  • meadow pasture
  • cauliflower
  • bok choi
  • lettuce

The Inuit, who traditionally have no access to fresh vegetables, do not have folate deficiency, which is a great illustration of the maxim that you are not only what you eat but what you eat eats. Caribou, which form a major part of the Inuit diet, live on sphagnum moss, which is a great source of folate, so by consuming the liver, where it is stored, the Inuit make up their requirement.

..and now if you'd like to, sit back and watch the film

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful then think about sharing it using the icons below and please feel free to ask questions, comment or share your own experiences of treating your flock.

Thanks for dropping by and all the best,


Identification of riboflavin deficiency in purchased quail and hatching eggs

Quail have a high basal metabolic rate and as such their problems with nutrition are dramatically and rapidly more

Emergency Treatment, Follow-ups and Keeping Calm

The great thing about this emergency treatment is that it is concocted from simple foodstuffs you probably have to hand in your kitchen more

© 2016 Sue Cross


  1. Hi Sue! I talked with you on google+ about Ferris and Jeanie, and although Jeanie passed away, Ferris is doing very well! He turned out to be a boy, and I will be getting some adult female quail for him to have as companions soon. He lives outside now in a chicken coop with a run, so he can scratch around. I do not have the time to let him have supervised free range all that often, but he loves it when I do. Thank you for all your advice,
    All the best,

    1. Hi Amelia, Aaww I'm sorry you lost Jeanie but it's great that Ferris is doing so well and also that you are able to free-range him now and again. I have had several conversations lately over this idea that Coturnix quail are monogamous, so maybe you will only need to get one female and he will pair off and they will start nesting? Mine have all come into lay but I am hoping to get some silver quail hatching eggs from the man who came to check the new EEC regulation sewage system - believe it or not! He turned out to be not only a quail keeper but one who raises them in a more natural way than most people here. Keep me posted on Ferris and re advice, you are very welcome. All the very best, Sue

  2. 12 years stroke (hemiplegia) survivour.
    I had the greatest shock of my life when i had a cardiac arrest 12 years ago and slumped into comma. I was in comma for a year and three months before i was able to open my eyes. I stuttered with speech and and i noticed i could not move the full right side of my body my hands and legs this was when the doctor told me i had stroke (hemiplegia). I was bedridden and kept in a wheel chair when i need to move for 10 years more and it became worse because i started having memory failure i hardly remember anything. The condition was debilitating and even my neurologist could not help me with his several therapy. My wife came in one day with a medicine she wanted me to start taking that i will be okay, i was reluctant because i had given up already and was waiting for my death day. she talked me into taking it telling me how much she love and cares about me and how she and the kids are gonna miss me. I took the medicine for 3 months as recommended and my condition improved i was able to walk and move those parts affected by the stroke and today i have fully recovered after 12 years of horror. Do not die because of ignorance you too can be well again. just contact him on for more information about his medicine. thanks for allowing me share my story.

  3. God have been very kind to me, despite the hard times he made me go through but now I give him all the praise for relieving my mum of her stroke through the help of an herbal doctor by name Uwadia Amenifo. Helen Smith is my name, and we live in England. My mum was diagnosed of stroke eight months ago, and she was in so many pains as she can’t even walk, go to rest room, or move her body. She even has to excrete in her body most times. I am her only child, and I so much love my mum because my dad died when I was 4 years old. So I grew up in the hands of only my mum without fatherly care. It happened that when she was diagnosed of stroke by our family doctor her condition was still good by then, but in just one month after her diagnoses, her condition became very worst that the doctor then said her stroke is acute and no longer partial. And that it will only take God’s intervention for her to be well again and for her to be able to retain the full use of her brain. So her ailment continues until God intervened before God’s intervention, I have carried her to so many churches for prayers and have traveled very far to look for a cure for her. I Travelled to America to see some doctors if they can help even if its surgery they can carry out on her provided she don’t die, because I really needed her around me. It was in America an Endocrinologist by name Jill Marie Abelseth MD from Albany, NY told me about an herbal doctor who she knows of, that have successfully cured stroke/ human parasites. So she advised me to contact the herbalist, so I contacted him, and explained to him what my mum is going through, so he counseled us and asked few questions about my mum which I told him. So he prepared the herbs, and shipped it to me in England. I gave my mum the herbs just as he has instructed, and just exactly as he said that his herbs will totally cure my mum. His herbs really worked perfectly well, and cured my mum. As I write this testimony my mum is totally cured of her stroke and she has started her normal business as usual. So I want all here to help me thank Doctor Uwadia Amenifo for his great help in helping me cure my mum of her stroke with his herbal medicine. Please if you know of anyone who have stroke or who have one disease or the other and his/her doctor says there’s no cure to that disease please I want that person to contact doctor Uwadia Amenifo, and give him a try. His contacts are Email ( his number is (+2349052015874), Thanks.