Blind Chicken - not Marek's - cataracts? - Buff Orpington

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by pjsommer, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. pjsommer

    pjsommer New Egg

    Aug 8, 2012
    My very favorite and gentle Buff Orpington, Tish (I have 11 hens and a roo) has become blind. It's very disturbing - my chickens all get good layer feed (so, should not have an issue with lack of vitamin E), have a good clean & dry coop, get lots of free range time - about 6 hours a day in their pen - about 200 sq feet, and have been healthy. Nobody is staggering or having trouble walking, or anything like that. I obtained all my chickens except for two, back in February, so they're about 7 or 8 months old...their laying has decreased some over the last couple of weeks (from 6-7 eggs a day to about 3 eggs a day - one pretty regular Easter Egger hasn't laid in a couple of weeks at all), but we figure it's because they're getting ready for the winter and moulting season.

    Tish has always been the friendliest, most people-oriented chicken I have had...she'll follow me around the pen and roll on her side to be picked up - she's always been healthy....she has always walked up to my feet when it's time to go back in the coop and waits to be picked up as if she doesnt' feel like walking back - there's nothing wrong with's just her personality. She's GREAT!!!

    The other day I noticed that her pupils are cloudy - like cataracts...and she is unable to see. This seemed to come on suddently. There is no swelling, no crustiness, no problem wtih the iris like I have heard in Marek's, no nothing....she just can't see any more and it's definitely just in her pupils and is definitely looking just like a cataract in a dog or human & does not involve her irises at all. There is no evidence at all that she's been pecked or injured - no weepiness, no redness to the outside of the eye, and the hens all pretty much get along, unless there's competition for a choice dandelion leaf.

    Tish has been kind of keeping herself away from the rest of the flock and sometimes will stay in the coop instead of venturing outside; she is able to roost with no problem; none of the flock is picking on her or anything like that. We think she can see shadows, because we have a large door in the coop, and when it's open, she gravitates toward it, and she does come out of the coop every day; she will stand in the doorway sometimes and cluck a little concernedly - like she's going to lay an egg. She's always been pretty vocal. She's in good weight, as she can easily find her food and water when she's in her coop - she just sometimes misses out on scratch that she can't find when we toss it out there. The chickens all have ample grass and greens (and no we don't fertilize or put weedkiller out there & they rarely get kitchen scraps) & nobody else has gotten sick or is having any eye problems.

    We use good pine chip bedding for the chickens - we have gotten it from the same source since the chicks were just a day old - and like I said, nobody else is having any kind of a problem.

    I know this topic has been bantered about, but I'm just 'rechecking' - I hate that it had to happen to the most gentle, friendly, lovable chicken - she is actually very loving, which I NEVER in a million years thought a chicken could 'be.'

    Does anybody have any 'new' ideas? or can you give me a prognosis....for blind chickens - if they have a good, safe source of water and food easily accessible when they're cooped - can they survive well? I know dogs & horses can....

    Thanks for your input!


    (hen-mother to Rhodes, a RIR roo, Tish & Lydia (BO's), Candace & Hannah (Black Australorps), Bess & Emmy Lou (Gold & Silver Laced Wyandottes), Reba & Cleo (Easter Eggers), Victor/Victoria (an unknown straight run cross that turned out to be a hen - but Victor stuck as her name), Vash (Welsummer) & Speck (Speckled Sussex)
  2. Chicken World Mom

    Chicken World Mom Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 18, 2010
    Sorry about your girls blindness...[​IMG]I have a roo who is blind.His is from complications of wet pox in his eyes....However, he eats , drinks ,... and What I have found is that as long as I "show" him his food and water he does fine. Of course he is confined, but I do put him out in the yard and he seems to be learning to find his way by sound. Animals are just as resourceful as people in dealing with their handicaps...imho. I wish I could tell you why she is blind. My roo has one eye that was not really affected by the wet pox and you would think, to look at him , that he could see out of that eye fine.....I did shine a light in that eye and it seems to have that grayish cataract look..:(
  3. VelvettFog

    VelvettFog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2011
    Yakima, WA
    Hey PJ -- I have a Buff O that fits your exact description. She's a hatchery bird.
  4. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    please post a picture of her eyes
    .its hard to guess without a picture. Hope this helps. best wishes.

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