Hen holding eye shut, acting listless


Jun 2, 2017
I have a six-year-old Rhode Island Red that has been acting sick the last few days. She's been holding her right eye shut, but it doesn't look particularly swollen or red, and there isn't any mucus or discharge that I can see. She's also been having a small amount of diarrhea, which is white and yellow. She's been moving around her run a little bit, but tends to stay in one spot most of the day. She's been acting listless and sort of cooing instead of making her regular noises. I don't think she's been going to her big waterer, which is on the ground, because she's been sitting on the shelf above it and might not be able to get down. I put some water in front of her and she drank it pretty enthusiastically. She has food up there, too, and think I remember seeing her eat some of it earlier, though not a lot. Her comb looks pale and a little droopier than it did before. She seems uncoordinated (possibly just because of the eye) and hasn't been jumping up to her regular roost at night.

She's the oldest hen we have. We lost her sisters one by one over the years and for a little while she was our only chicken. About four months ago, we bought seven new chicks and two ducklings and expanded the coop's outdoor run to include a bigger yard and a duck pond, all enclosed with wire. The new chicks are almost full grown and we tried introducing them to the old hen, Henrietta, but she was aggressive, so we isolated her to her original run, though she can still see and hear the other birds. We added two new even younger chicks to the flock as well about two weeks ago, after keeping them on our back porch since they were a few days old. The increase in bird poop has attracted a lot of flies and we just put out traps to try and control that. There have also been a ton of mosquitos, which is pretty normal for southern Florida in the summer time (it's also been really hot). None of the other birds seem sick at all.

I've been really worried about her, but she doesn't seem to have gotten worse since she first started acting sick. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated, since there isn't an avian vet in the area. I'm also worried she might spread whatever she has to the younger birds.
You are describing they typical mannerisms of a sick chicken. She more than likely has nothing wrong with her eye. More than likely there's something internally wrong with her and she will continue to not eat and drink much until she finally passes. Generally I give them a week or so to see if they improve, if they don't I will cull them to end their suffering. Sometimes they improve, but most don't.

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