We've recently been noticing our 3 and a half year old Buff orpington, Fluffy, displaying strange behaviour. She will stand out, alone, in the far corner of the pasture as the sun goes down, just standing there as though she's confused and doesn't know where the coop is, while the rest of the chickens go inside. When approached, she shows no sign of noticing us until we make a noise, such as stepping on crunching snow, and then she starts to panic until we talk to her and she calms down. She doesn't mind us picking her up as long as we talk to her first, as if she's not sure what is approaching her and is afraid it's a predator. I watched her trying to eat and she pecked the wall several times before finally finding the food, as if she couldn't see exactly where it was even though she knew the general location. She is still able to perch and when she does walk she's very slow and cautious. None of the other chickens hang around her any more.
Her eyes look clear but hardly react to any movement, although she is able to notice large shapes or at the very least recognize the location of food and water if it's close to her.
What can we do for her, if anything, to help her? She's the favourite of my younger sister who dotes on her (which is why she has a name since most of the others don't), and we would only cull her if she is suffering or cannot enjoy life. Which does raise the question of whether or not a blind/mostly blind chicken 'can' enjoy or at least have a quality life. And lastly, what special precautions should we take to make sure she's safe? The other chickens and roosters don't pick on her or mate with her any more, so she has a relatively peaceful time on the farm. Naturally since she can't see predators it would be best to keep her inside a 'run', but we aren't set up for an outdoor enclosure with a roof to keep her safe from the predators, and we don't close the coop doors in winter because there are too many hens to be cooped up all day and they'll attack each other.
Any tips? If anyone has had any blind hens, how did you help them and how long did they live?