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Eye injury? Infection?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

My girl, Cornelia, has had an eye things going for a week now. At first it was just gooey and I could see the eye. She was really lethargic and limp. I hand fed her treats and water and she ate. The next morning she was more lively. I have been rinsing with saline and applying triple antibiotic ointment every day. She has been eating and drinking just fine. The swelling has gone down and I can press her eye open but now I can't see the eye. While the others were free ranging I took her out and let her roam in the big coop for some exercise. As soon as I did that the other hen came running in and pecked at her. So now Im not sure if it is an infection or injury. Any help or advice would be appreciated. Cornelia has not yet been accepted into the pecking order and get the poop end of the stick all the time. They wouldn't let her in the coop so she would sleep on the roof, then the other two decided they wanted to be where she was so now they sleep on the roof. I just don't know how to make them get along. I only have three chickens and I want more. Please help. I love these birds. Thank you!

post #2 of 8

Do you have any pictures?


If she was limp and lethargic, it sounds like either the eye is infected or she has something else going on. How is her breathing? Oftentimes respiratory infections will present with crusty, goopy eyes. It's important to rule anything respiratory out because that can be life threatening if not treated promptly.


It is possible that the other hens just pecked her eye and it got infected.  If that is the case, it sounds like you are doing exactly what you should be; Saline rinse and antibiotic ointment.  You can also try Vetericyn eye wash, a lot of people seem to think it helps speed of healing. I've used the non-eye wash version and every injury I have treated has healed great. Not sure if that is because of the vetericyn or chickens just have a great ability to heal from some pretty bad injuries.


I would keep her separated until she is completely healed. Chickens will peck at anything that is out of the ordinary on another chicken and won't stop.


As far as integrating her into the flock, did you get them all at the same time or did you get her after the other two? If you got them at the same time, it's weird that she hasn't been accepted, there may be something else that is causing them to reject her. Chickens seem to know when something is wrong with another chicken before we do.

If you got her later, you may just need to reintroduce her more slowly. If there is a way you can divide the run so that they can see each other but not peck each other, that would be best. Then at night you can put her on the roost with them, then in the morning separate them again.  For some reason, if chickens wake up with someone new, they just assume "well they didn't murder me in my sleep, maybe they aren't so bad".


Hope this helps get you started! Sometimes it's a long process to get someone integrated into the flock but eventually they will come to some kind of agreement and be ok with each other.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your help. She isn't haven't any trouble breathing and is still her lovable self when I hold her to clean eye and feathers (since she keeps rubbing her eye and scratching at it) It is only one eye- the other eye is perfect.  She seems so grateful when I clean it and apply the ointment. She is in her own pen where the others can see her but not peck at her. We got her later after we had the other two and my other hen is so mean to her. When they are together they chase her and don't include her. Finally, they were roosting together but then her eye started acting up. There isn't any pus coming out of it any more but it is a little wet. I keep rinsing and putting the ointment on it. How long does this usually take to clear up? She hasn't laid any eggs since we got her and she was a regular layer for her first owner. We got her because a fox killed the rest of his flock and he wanted to start over.

post #4 of 8

Yea, it just sounds like it got infected somehow. It's hard to say how long it will take to clear up. Are you able to take her to the vet? She may need antibiotics but I don't like to suggest those unless you have a definite diagnosis and know exactly what antibiotics to give. 

There is a good chance she will recover with the care you are giving her but just as good of a chance that she may just lose that eye. Even if she does lose the eye, she should be able to live a normal life.


If they got to the point where they were roosting together before, you should be able to get them back to that point. Having her visible to them will make it much easier when you do start to integrate them.  They may not ever include her but they should get along fine. I still have one hen that I got separately from everyone else and she is still a loner but they aren't mean to her at all.


As far as her not laying, they will stop laying for some time if they go through something traumatic or stressful. They won't start laying again until they are in a place where they feel comfortable. If a fox got all of her sisters, that was probably hard for her to process. Might be one of the things that is making it hard for her to integrate with your original hens. When birds sense tension, they tend to reject the individual projecting that tension (tension=fear=easy target for predators). That's why people who are nervous around parrots are usually the ones who get bit. Give them time and she will relax, and they will accept her.

post #5 of 8
Can you post a picture of the eye?

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

The first two are today.
this was the second night. So I know it's getting better slowly.
post #7 of 8

Can you post a picture with the eye lid open?



post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
She's not too happy when I try to open it. All you see inside is the third lid.
Here is a better one from today.
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