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Hen blind from grief or night light?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Digeena, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Digeena

    Digeena Hatching

    Mar 16, 2012
    I am relatively new to chickens... and loving it. We got 2 NHR last May; we don't know how old they are, but they were laying just fine. Over the year, we've dealt with red mites and lice (yuk.) Other than that, they seemed happy and healthy. They stopped laying in the late fall as the days grew shorter. About 3 weeks ago, I went out in the afternoon and found Cutie dead in her nesting box. I didn't know our local Extension would do autopsies, so for the sake of closure for my 8 and 5 year old daughters, we buried her that day. My husband put a light inside a bucket to provide Louise some warmth, as we assumed she'd be missing her buddy. The light was on all night, but it was more of a night light - it wasn't really bright. Since Cutie died, she has become sad, not coming out and eating or drinking. I started spending more time with her, encouraging her to eat and drink. I then noticed that it seemed like she couldn't see, missing her favorite sunflower seeds from my hand, not walking around, etc. As we spend more time with her, she seems to be coming out of her sadness, but still stepping tentatively when she does walk around. We stopped the light about a week ago. I didn't know whether she could have lost her sight due to grief or the light on all night? She has no unusual symptoms around her eyes, nor does she have any other bodily symptoms. We did get 4 week old chicks, who are not in with her permanently yet, although they have "interacted" a few times. Thank you in advance for sharing your experience with these wonderful creatures!
    Regina [​IMG]

  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    As far as I know, hens dont go blind from grief or a night light. Commercial operations have bright lights on all the time 24/7 for egg production purposes. I've had dogs die of grieving, I dont see why a chicken couldnt die of grieving...but blindness, I dont believe so.
    Have you noticed her scratching her head/eye area alot? Any discharge from her eyes? If so, I would suspect eyeworm. Any debris in her eyes? A saline flush would take care of that.
    Try putting a favorite treat in your hand in front of her and see if she goes after it. If she doesnt move towards it to eat it, she may very well be blind. In which case I'd suspect it to be a genetic problem. There is also ocular marek's disease that causes blindness. You can google it to read up on it if you wish. Good luck.
  3. ChicknThief

    ChicknThief Songster

    Jan 12, 2008
    Nor Cal
    Also bear in mind that chicken's are a "flocking" and social creature. She needs friends [​IMG]
  4. Digeena

    Digeena Hatching

    Mar 16, 2012
    Thanks for your reply... She is not scratching, nor does she have discharge... her eyes look as they always have. My 5 year-old says she has "sad eyes" due to her friend dying...[​IMG]If I put my hand in front of her with her favorite treat, she seems to know my hand is there, but it's as if she has to "feel" around with her beak to find it.

    ChickenThief - Thank you... Yeah, I don't think the outside cat will cut it for her... :) we now do have 3 5 week-old chicks we are introducing. She hasn't shown any interest to mother them, so we will have playdates until it's warm enough to put them in the coop with her.
  5. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Crowing

    Apr 13, 2011
    Fox Valley, IL
    My Coop
    yes, she needs friends, she will be mourning for a while.

    your 5 year old is right, look at her eyes and you'll see she is sad.

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