Blind Chick

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by FaithAnn, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. FaithAnn

    FaithAnn Songster

    Jun 7, 2009
    Mobile, Alabama
    I had a chick hatch with no eyes yesterday. They never developed at all. I decided to wait and see how it does before I cull it, I wanted to give it a chance. It seems very healthy, but I haven't seen it eat or drink by itself. It will drink when we dip his beak in water, but won't dip his head down himself to drink. He hasn't eaten at all.

    I know I will probably have to cull it, and I am not against that if it is best, but I wanted to see if anyone had any experience with a blind chick and could maybe provide tips on how to teach it to eat and drink. It is just hard not to give it a chance because other than the lack of eyes, it is a strong healthy BO chick.
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    This question comes up fairly frequently.

    Cull it.
  3. MaineChick

    MaineChick In the Brooder

    Nov 30, 2008
    I've got a Buff OrpingtonXSpeckled Sussex about 10 weeks old that's blind, (has eyes but they are sort of sunken in) and I'm not sure she hears very well either. All the other chickens free range - I mean free, we've got 75 acres with no fencing if they are so inclined - but Helen can't join them. She lives in an 8X4 pen with a ramp up to a 2X4 coop, and unless I pick her up and put her in the lower part on the grass she'd stay in the coop all day. The older chickens will kill her if they get at her since she can't see to get away and doesn't know what's happening so when they start pecking at her she just runs and screams, randomly bashing into things. Her age-mates tolerate her just fine but certainly don't look out for her. She doesn't seem to care that she is alone during the day - I'm not sure if she has neurological damage as well as the blindness or not. When stressed she moves to the left in tiny circles. At some point the other little ones will be integrated into the flock and sleep in the big coop at night, leaving Helen by herself all the time.

    She learned to eat and drink slowly, after about a week. We'd put her on a table with a water container right in front of her and push her head down into it. She'd drink, but wouldn't seek it out on her own. We continued to show her and after several days of 7 or 8 sessions of showing, she learned what the waterer was for and began to drink on her own. Same thing with food, repeat 10,000 times and she may get it. She has learned to identify things with her feet, like her food container. Use the exact same container all the time. My DH says anything else is like moving the furniture around in a blind person's house, not fair! And yes, keep them in the same place all the time. Helen has learned to try new treats, but they must be cut up fine and placed in her little plastic treat container. When you push that against her chest, she'll dip her beak in to see if it's good, at least most of the time.

    She is, and will always be, a high maintenance chicken. I am still considering culling her when I dispense with the extra roosters.

    Good luck with your decision!
  4. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger 10 Years

    Well it is a hard decision. If you are willing to try, and also willing to make extra arrangements that a blind chicken would need, then try this. Eyes may be gone but it may have hearing. Mix up a mash of wet chicken starter then sprinkle reg on the side.. place in a shallow bowel in the same spot in a small box with 1 other calm chick. peck with your finger and make a tapping sound were the food is, then place chick there and drip his beak in. Keep repeating, also with shallow water. The mash will also help keep it hydrated until it learns to find the water........ You could also put small jingle bells etc. in the bowl so when the other chick got in and hit the bells, it makes noise and blind chick might know where to look...... but, If for any reason it will not eat or drink on it's own soon, then I would cull it.....
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  5. oliviad51

    oliviad51 Songster

    Jul 23, 2009
    North Carolina
    If this was me , I wouldn't cull it quite yet. I would put it in a small area and keep the food and water in the same place and every few times a day, dip its beak in water and help it eat, and maybe once you do that a few times, it will start to find the food and water itself.

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