I think my silkie pullet is blind


11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
Wasilla, Alaska
Hi all,
I think I have a special needs chicken. This is one of my Cuckoo silkies that I thought may have neurological problems. I think she still might, but I also think there might more going on. She's now 11 wks. old and has had what seems like really severe vertigo when she shakes her head. She's like one of those bobble head dolls, her head will bob side to side after she shakes her head hard and sometimes loses her balance. A few times it was bad enough I thought she was having seizures.

In the last couple of weeks I've noticed that she doesn't scratch around for food like the other chicks. She eats and drinks just fine but the food and water is always in the same place and it's after the other chicks start eating. I usually find her in a corner with her head down or tucked unerneath her and she's just not as active as the others as far as moving around the pen. Tonight I had her out and decided to experiment a little. I put her down on the floor and it seemed that she really couldn't focus on anything. I waved my hand in front of her and she just stood there, didn't shy away, back off, or anything. She seems a little hesitant to move around and is very cautious and almost a little off balance when she does. When she did walk around, she literally ran into the cat and then one of the dogs. She seemed to wander around aimlessly until she heard my voice and then tried to come to me. I moved a couple of times to see what would happen. She seemed get a little panicky and started peeping when she couldn't find me. If I talked or whistled, she would try to focus on that and move in that direction.
I have had her out just about every night and she is very content to be held and petted. She grooms herself, peeps and trills, and will snuggle up to my neck and go to sleep.

Does it sound like she may be blind? Any advice appreciated.
How large is her crest? Crested breeds sometimes have difficulty seeing through their feathers. They also often have vaulted skulls, which are technically called a cerebral hernia, and can be subject to brain injury as a result of the brain extruding through the skull (hence the name cerebral hernia). The symptoms you describe like brain injury to me. A vet can prescribe metacam, which is an NSAID. Polyvisol and extra vitamin E can be helpful as well.

If the crest is impairing her vision, you can tape it into a pony tail atop her head (like Pebbles Flintstone). Pink hair tape works well.
Thanks Sonoran.
I'll give my vet a call and see if he can get me some metacam. I'll have to order the Polyvisol. She has a nice crest but not big enough to impair her vision yet.

AHappychick (roo can't walk forward) posted some videos of her Lavender roo she just got and whatever is going on with him is very similar to my girl.

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