First off, I should point out that I'm a total beginner and just started raising chickens a month ago...so please forgive me in advance if I ask or say anything you find ridiculous in this thread.
We have a Production Red Layer hen...she is about 20 - 22 weeks old...she lives in a spacious coop but also has access to about 1/2 acre to free-range for at least 4+ hours a day.
She has been doing something strange since we got her (about a month ago), where she closes her eyes throughout the day and appears as if she's going to sleep. I have ignored it because otherwise she seems fine...social, scratches around, drinks/eats, etc. However, today I noticed a foamy/bubbly discharge in one eye, and she still hasn't started laying, whereas the other hen (Black Australorpe) started laying a week ago (same age). I'm not sure if that part has anything to do with it, but I think something may be wrong and I'm not sure what to do.
I was thinking of taking her to a vet, but for one, I need a recommendation for one in the Leesburg VA area that would treat a chicken (the one I lined up prior to getting chickens appears to now only do horses, and the others in the area seem to specialize only in dogs/cats). The other thing is that I don't even know if I'd be able to get her to a vet (or administer meds myself) because she is so flighty -- I can't get my hands on her for the life of me.
I have the option of trading her in for a similar chicken from the place I got her, but the family is so attached to her that I don't want to give up on her (but I'm afraid of keeping her around because I don't want whatever she has to spread to the other chicken and have a bigger problem on my hand). I also don't know if I want to pump her full of meds needlessly.
So, I guess my questions are:
1.) Do you know what this could be and if I need to worry about it (pictures attached)? The issue comes and goes throughout the day. I have gotten mixed information on the forums. Some say it is a serious issue that requires meds. Others say it is just irritation and will go away. She also does this thing where she looks like she is yawning a lot, which again I hve heard different opinions (normal just swallowing, or it could be worms and I need to look in her mouth, which I've been unable to do).
2.) Does anybody local to me know of a vet that could take a look (preferably coming here so that I don't have to try to catch her and box her up?
3.) If I need to isolate her, how do people do that? Do I need a separate coop with her own feeder, waterer, etc.?
4.) Any other suggestions?