Hen Seems to have gone BLIND Overnight!? will she recover?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mrs Kap, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Mrs Kap

    Mrs Kap New Egg

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    Jan 5, 2017
    I became a member today because every time I had a question about my chickens, the most helpful info I received came from reading threads from this Amazing Forum! I am hopeful for some good helpful info in getting my hen Tweddle all better!
    Day before yesterday I was doin chores, My Wynadotte chicken (about 9 months old) was having trouble keeping her head and neck still. Star Gazing symptoms? The other 5 hens are perfectly healthy. Tweedle, the sick one, I put her in the heated garage in a large playpen type cage. I had to feed her with a dropper. I mixed pureed kale ( i froze my kale from the garden a few months back. Read that kale is high in vitamin E & thats the closest I had to vitamin E in the house) mixed with honey, coconut oil and silver-biotics. She drank from the dropper (not easily). When done she tried cleaning herself. She doesn't realize she's not even touching her feathers half of the time!
    This morning she was still alive. She looks totally fine- Except I realized what her problem is, she can't see! She tries to peck the ground to eat her food, but she's always about an inch away from touching the food! I fed her puree kale, milk, powderd oatmeal (i ground it up) mixed with honey and silver-biotics with a spoon. She ate the whole thing, about a cup. It took about an hr! She wants to eat so bad, shes hungry- but she can't figure out where or how to. Same with the water. I read all the other threads of overnight chicken blindness. So frustrated there still seems to be no absolute answer. It's the dead of winter now. No poisonous plants, they don't free range. She's warm in the heated garage- and her eyes are clear, not dilated and look absolutely normal. I am so disheartened and feel helpless in getting her better, especially since I don't know what to protect them from. AnyOne Have any ideas ? Please Help
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Pictures are always helpful of her eyes or her body. I would place her in a pen or crate near her feed and water (poultry vitamins recommended in water.) Does she have any changes in her eyes, such as color or pupil size or shape? This time of year there seem to be a lot of cases of possible Mareks disease that show up in birds born in the past spring, and hopefully it is not something like that, but just want to mention it. Was she vaccinated for Mareks? Mareks has 4 main types of symptoms, and a bird may have 1 or more of those signs. They include weakness in one or both legs or wings, skin lesions, tumors, wry or twisted neck, and eye changes. There are many other causes of blindness in chickens, such as infections, cataracts, vitamin A or E deficiency, injuries, avian encephalomyelitis (AE,) and Mareks. Below are a couple of links to read about Mareks, just in case, and another on wry neck:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    https://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
    http://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/Crookneck/Crookneck.html

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    ocular Mareks disease in eye on right

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    Mareks in eyes on left and right, normal eye in middle

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    previous AE causing cataract in eye on left
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  3. Mrs Kap

    Mrs Kap New Egg

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    I thank you so very much for all the information! I would have to assume it must be a case of Mareks.. Such a shame to have to loose her to this. I am shocked at how sudden it struck her! There is no way I can continue to hand feed her. She has no clue of her surroundings. When I try to help her eat now, she just starts pecking aimlessly at the air. Definitely not even able to function whatsoever. So, I didn't want her to suffer and starve to death- my husband had to put her down. I am very sad, but at the same time grateful I learned what the problem was.
    I am concerned about the vitamin E deficiency. I thought their food had everything in it they needed? Do I have to suppliment vitamin E to the feed for the rest of my 6 chickens from now on to prevent Mareks? Or- is this Mareks something that is a random / not common disease that happens in small homestead flocks?
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    If you have not disposed of the body, you can get a necropsy to look for Mareks. The body should be refrigerated, not frozen, in a plastic bag. It is good to know for sure since it can remain in your environment for years, affecting other chickens. Feed is supposed to contain a balanced diet, but vitamin E can be leeched out of feed if it has been on the shelf for awhile or old. That might be a problem if there is a small flock using 50 pound bags, or if feed is not dated.
     

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