Chicken with eyes stuck shut


Mar 10, 2018
I have been keeping chickens for about ten years now. They have always been exceptionally healthy. But it has been a long cold winter here in NH, so tjhey are more cooped up than usual. About a month ago, I noticed that one of my chickens has her eyes stuck shut. I have cleaned them several times with a warm wash cloth, and her eyes will be open, but then a couple days pass, and they're shut again. I tried neosporin after washing them, but they gunksup again after a few days. Yester -day I picked her up to try again, and noticed her face smells like yeast. What should I do? None of the other chickens have anything similar. She is eating and drinking, but with eyes closed, she does not jump up on her perch. I'm worried about her!
Hi @carlasdrew :frow Welcome to BYC!

Can you post some photos of your chicken?
How old is she?
Have you added new birds within the last 30days?
How much ventilation do you have in the coop?

Does your chicken have any other symptoms like coughing, sneezing, runny nose, etc.? The eyes are gunking up - is it like a clear discharge or are the eyes filled with a thick(er) pus? General eye care would be what you are doing - warm compress/saline flush to loosen and remove the discharge. Neosporin can be used, but if it is not effective, you may want to use an ophthalmic ointment like Terramycin or you can order Ciprofloxacin eye drops online - apply either a couple of times a day after you have cleaned the eyes.

You also mention that her face smells yeasty - is the odor coming from the eye discharge or from her breath. Have you checked to make sure that her crop is emptying completely overnight? You may also want to look inside her beak for any plaques or lesions.
Thank you so much for all these questions and ideas. I am not alone in my chicken world!
SInce I have 12 chickens, I really don't know which poop is hers. What I do see looks pretty normal- clumps of greyish white poop- no different than the others. The pus doens't look that thick, but I think it is a yellowish. I actually took her in the shower the other day, rinsed her well, put ointment on her eyes again, and kept her on my porch one night to just rest and dry in a slightly warmer place. She looks better, but eyes gunked right back up by next day, back in the coop.I don't know what actually smells- her head, but could be eyes, mouth... I called a vet in town yesterday and she's going to look at her today for me. I'll post what she says. I have not added new birds since last year, and the windows in my coop are pretty loose, so there is a slight breeze that gets through. Do you mean actual ventilation, like with a fan, or just air getting in and out? I do see alot of cob webs on the ceiling, but I do clean the ground of the coop about every 2 -3 weeks. I do feed them table scraps along with regular chicken feed- I'm sure I'm doing something that must have caused this! Just not sure what.
Thanks and I'll keep you posted.
Do you mean actual ventilation, like with a fan, or just air getting in and out?

I'm glad you have a vet that will check her over, that is always best.

I don't think you have done anything to cause this! You have had chickens for 10yrs, no problems. Eye infections can be from a scratch/peck to the eye, illness or even getting some debris or food in the eye.

As for ventilation - I am asking how much air flow you have moving through the coop - sometimes if a coop is shut up too tightly in cool/cold weather, ammonia from droppings build up and can cause eye and respiratory symptoms. Vents along the roofline work very well for cold weather months.

Please do let us know what the vet says.

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