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One eyed chicken - Nipple Waterers

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

So I've been successfully using the horizontal nipple waterers for a couple of years now and really enjoy them.  

 

Recently we purchased 15 chicks from the feed store and it took a few days for me to notice that one came home with us with only 1 eye.    She seems healthy otherwise.. A little clumsy at times, but able to stick her face in the food or water dish.   

 

But it wasn't until last night that I started setting up the nipple-waterer-trainer (Mayo jar with horizontal nipple) that it dawned on me that this was going to be a real problem for her.    The reason she can eat/drink now is because there is a big plate of food - if she misses the exact spot she was aiming for, it doesn't matter - she still gets some food/water.

 

When I try and hold treats out for her, she always misses the mark.  

 

 

Anyone have any ideas on how to solve?   I'm not willing to give up nipple waterers because they save a ton of time and mess.

Would like to keep this chicken (she's very friendly), but if I can't make this work, I can donate to someone who uses a traditional "bowl of food/water" approach.

post #2 of 3

I usually "train" any newbies that haven't been exposed to the horizontal nipples to make sure they at least understand where the water comes from before releasing them into the general public.

 

I would try multiple "training" sessions with the one eyed girl to see if she gets it.  Practice makes perfect, and I would guess she'll pick it up after a bit.  If nothing else, she might "piggyback" on the others and catch the waste drops that most of them ignore and let hit the ground.  We have a couple of birds that piggyback exclusively, even though they have the strength to actuate the nipple. 

 

Maybe isolate her with a very small nipple waterer for a day or so.  If the level goes down, you'd know shes drinking.

 

I would never discount a chickens ability to get food and water.  If there's a will, there's a way.

 

Good luck.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Over the last week I've been trying to teach her to use the nipples. So far we've had no luck at all. Still can't hit the broad side of a barn.

Last night I noticed her sitting and giving an unhappy peep. She was a bit lethargic and didn't attempt to get away when picking her up.
I then realized that the regular water dish was empty -

The other chicks were happily pecking away at the nipples. She had no way to get water.

I felt really awful to put her through that. I filled her dish, which she drank from hungrily for a few minutes.
She's back to 'normal' and not lethargic or being unhappy...

That being said - "Normal" chicken stuff is about as much as my schedule can handle at the moment,
so I think it best I find her a good home with someone who uses regular waterers and feeders.
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