Cataract Treatment


8 Years
Aug 23, 2011
I have a hen that is old (maybe 2 years - I got her from a friend so am not 100% certain of the age) with cataracts in both eyes. (Not Marek's disease.) The bird is having a real hard time seeing and gets picked on by the next bird up in the pecking order. :-( I need to know if there are any viable treatments for cataracts in chickens. I understand that eye drops with N-acetylcarnosine may work for humans and dogs, but I don't know if anyone has tried them in chickens. I have also heard that vitamin E should be given in the water, but it is a fat soluble vitamin, not water soluble.

I would like to know if any of you in the group has had experience treating cataracts in chickens, and if so, what those treatments were and how well did they work. Thank you for your help in this.

Hi Peter, I've seen only a couple of cases of cataracts in chickens. Cataracts can be removed from chickens eyes but is only done if the bird is not eating or able to drink. I actually haven't seen any body have this done for there chickens because of the costs. I also don't believe acetylcarnosine has ever been used. Cataracts can be common in different types of avians. It seem that the Brahma chicken is known for this.
Is your hen Brahma or Brahma cross? Check with a local Avian Vet and ask if they have ever used Acetylcarnosine. Also 2 years old is not considered old for a chicken. Chickens can live happily for 10-12 years. As long as your hen is eating and drinking she can live a very comfortable life having cataracts. Just don't change her living situation, don't change where she eats or drinks water. Also it would be helpful to have her in with just one other chicken so she could have a buddie. It is hard for her to defend her self from others (like you stated) her eye condition over time may get worse. I would let her be as comfortable as possible and its nice that you are caring for her.
Thank you for the information. I'll ask the vet to see if this is used in chickens. If I do wind up using it, it will only be in one eye, just in case. The chicken with the cataracts is a Brown Leghorn. Is this bird a result of a Brahma cross? She is in a group of 6 hens of various breeds. Isolating her is not practical, but I've only seen her picked on 1 time. I am hoping it does not happen again. Thanks again for your input.

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