Has any one else had this problem?- A 1 yr old silky hen gone blind

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chic Chick, May 25, 2010.

  1. Chic Chick

    Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2008
    East Central Alberta
    I have my red silkies (7) out in a 1/2 covered tractor now for the past month and they free range during the day so they are not cooped up with lots of litter and amonia. Now I see one of the hens has cloudy eyes and when I motion she does not react so I'm pretty sure she's totally blind. Since I've noticed this I've been putting her to the water and food twice a day but I fear she's wasting away from not eating enough....I always find her in a nest box
    Any hints to what happenned to her eyes? They are clouded over, white like cataracts. There is no discharge, pus or bubbles and her crest is not too big to be poking her eyes either, or anything like that. She looks normal in every other way.
    Has anyone ever heard of a disease like this affecting silkies? I was going to butcher her and give her to a chinese woman here, but I'm thinking twice about that now in case it's something seriously bad.

    I also have a coop with close to 100 chicks and then another coop with my standard size layers and some blue silkies. I don't want to risk them all getting whatever this is if it's contagious.

    Has anyone gone through this before? Or does anyone know what caused this?
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  2. Chic Chick

    Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East Central Alberta
    Wow! page 5 and no help yet! [​IMG]
    Somebody!..... ANYBODY !!.... have experience with a chicken going blind?
    I can't find any info and I'm wondering if it's a genetic problem with silkies?
     
  3. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Marek's Disease can cause blindness. Given the size of your flock, I'd invest in an avain vet to get a proper diagnoses. If it is Marek's, you're going to want to know ASAP so you can deal with it.
     
  4. FlashPointFarm

    FlashPointFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is your coop well ventilated? I had a friend that had heated his coop over the winter, without enough ventilation. Enough bacteria built up in his building, causing bronchitis. He ventilated better and problem solved. Some of his birds went blind.
     
  5. FlashPointFarm

    FlashPointFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Reading your post better, sorry about that! If no other chicks are affected, I'd think it was isolated. Possibly genetic. Sounds like you're watching your birds closely. I'm going to bet it's just isolated to that one chick?
     
  6. BetsyOK

    BetsyOK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have several fairly recently-acquired youngsters from a highly reputable breeder. When checking eye color recently, I discovered 3 out of a group of four appear to have cataracts--two of them in BOTH eyes. Checking a large number of my other birds, I found one more with a cataract in one eye. He is at least 2 years old, but his cataract is only in one eye and is smaller--he's also from the same breeder. My silkies that I've hatched and raised are mostly from that breeder's lines and none have cataracts.

    I've researched it, and possible causes are: Mareks; a disease primarily of the respiratory tract (can't remember the name) that can be passed from the mother through the egg; buildup of ammonia; and continuous lighting. Knowing this breeder well, and my own conditions, the only thing that might fit is continuous lighting. Both diseases have other, fairly obvious symptoms. Many of us use light bulbs as heat sources in our brooders, and at least one brand of incubator uses a light bulb. Having read a couple of years ago that sleep deprivation is a possible cause of scoliosis (this in a study of chickens, relating it to humans) led me to decide to brood mine with the black reptile lights so they sleep at night rather than be up and eating at all hours.

    There are a couple of products for dogs that are suppposed to cure cataracts, but they are somewhat expensive and require putting drops in the eyes twice a day for up to a year. A bit of research on "cataracts in poultry" or "cataracts in dogs" should give you more information, or at least confirmation of what I've listed here.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
  7. Chic Chick

    Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2008
    East Central Alberta
    Thanks for all the information!
    Betsy you brought up a good point with the lights, I do use them all winter. And I usually clean the coop often in winter but I tried the deep litter method also and I found it pretty powerful after a few months. So it could be either that affected her. The other 35 that I wintered over have no problems or symptoms.
    Flash Point Farm - they are breeding flocks and over a year old and have been in a tractor for a month or two now, but I did have some ammonia buildup back in the winter.
    Thanks Motherjean but the two livestock vets out here know very little about chickens, and I will not drive for 4 hours to take in a $20.00 chicken. This is my only one out of 100+ chickens/chicks that is blind so it's not an epidemic [​IMG] I will read up on Mereks disease.
    I did an autopsy on her today and did not find anything out of the ordinary with her organs.
     

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