Advice for silkie chick eye issues needed

Kay Crowe

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 3, 2013
Northern Virginia
My flock consists of four two-year old hens that roam the backyard, 10 seven-week old "tweens" in the pen, and four three-week olds in the brooder by night/front yard pen by day.

I brought the four home - a Buckeye, a Jersey Giant, two silkies - and spent a good amount of time dealing with pasty butt. On the fourth day I noticed one silkie had a solidly crusted left eye. My six year old son had developed pink eye the day before so I just cleaned the bird's eye regularly like my son's with a warm, damp compress and added tetracycline that I had on hand to the water.

It slowly started to clear up. The poor little thing put up with enough cleaning to be able to open it but no more than that. The fuzzy feathers around its eye remained crusted, lending it the appearance of a cyborg. The eye itself remained clear, just brown goo in the corners. Still, it got better, bit by bit.

Then we had to leave town for a few days. My petless friend was kind enough to squeeze in three visits a day to feed the dogs (two with food change induced diarrhea), the cat (has feline herpes and more eye goop. Yay!), two fish tanks, three age groups of chickens, and oh, just for fun, the idiot dog will jump the fence and tear around town until the police are called on him... again. The chick could wait.

We got back and, sure enough, the eye was crusted shut again. Sigh. I started the whole treatment over.

Things were looking up until this afternoon. I was moving them back inside from an exhausting day of navigating tall grass when I noticed bubbles in the front corner of the eye instead of crust or goop. It looked like tiny soap bubbles. Crap.

I searched the forum. Pretty much everything I read was about birds with WAY worse symptoms than my chick. It isn't wheezing. No nasal discharge. Eats. Drinks. Poops. Active. Intent on perching on the branch in the brooder (and screaming in frustration when it would fall off. In fairness all four were playing the jumping-perching-bumping-falling-screaming game. After half an hour I couldn't take it and covered them with a blanket and dark.). The other three chicks are visually fine.

Unfortunately the eye bubbles pointed towards respiratory infection and culling them all. Facing my first kill tomorrow (one of the hens is fading. She hasn't laid in six weeks. She just---another posting perhaps :() I would rather it be only one and not five.

Does anyone have further suggestions or experience with a similar issue? I will keep them separate from the hens and tweens for a month after all symptoms clear.

Thank you.

***Morning edit*** This morning the foam is gone and there is a tiny amount of crud on the lower lid only. This is the best the chick has looked lately.
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