Is 14-week-old Going Blind??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NewOldMotherHen, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. NewOldMotherHen

    NewOldMotherHen Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 23, 2011
    Shenandoah Valley
    Out of ten 14-week-old youngsters there is one that seems to be having trouble seeing. I didn't pay much attention to the first instance. I have an automatic door which I can see from my pantry window. One early morning I noticed that all the chickens had left the chicken house except one. She was on the top perch walking back and forth trying to find the next lower perch. Back and forth she paced. Finally she flew off the roost and hit the window that has hardware cloth. (I put strips of short pieces of silver tape on the wire so hopefully the chickens would know it was not an open window). Not thinking anymore about it, last night I looked out my pantry window to make sure the door had closed (will never totally trust it), and there was the same chicken pacing around the chicken yard looking for the opening to the chicken house. The other chickens were already safely inside on the roost and she was all alone outside pacing and searching. It was almost time for the automatic door to close. I went outside and picked her up. I know she couldn't see because she allowed me to pick her up. I took her inside the chicken house and placed her on the roost. I know that chickens cannot see in the dark but these two incidences have been low-light--not dark. And it was not dark enough to affect the other chickens. Is this one chicken going to be eventually blind. Is there anything I can feed her or do to improve her low-light vision? or anything to prevent it from getting worse?
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Unfortunately, if she is going blind, there's not much you can do. You can give her a lower roost that she will have an easier time finding and getting off of. I haven't had a blind hen, but a friend of mine does.
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    I've never had a fully blind chicken, but I currently have one that's blind in one eye. She has a hard time picking up food, it usually takes her a few tries. Her head also hobbles from side-to-side like she's looking around constantly. I had to separate her because she wasn't getting enough food, so you may want to watch for that. I also keep her food and water in the same place all the time so she doesn't have to search for it. Good luck, I hope you can figure out what's going on with her!
  4. AccentOnHakes

    AccentOnHakes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2009
    What breed is it? If it's a Polish or Silkie, could it need a trim?

    Otherwise, I'm guessing you need a house chicken.
  5. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think you should examine her to see why she's going blind. Is there anything obviously wrong with her? Until you are sure she has no contagious diseases, I would sperate her. Besides, a blind chicken will need to be kept in a safe pen. She can't see predators or hazards, or easily defend herself from other hens, etc. Her eye (eyes) are not cloudy, are they? She's at the age where they are vulnerable to mareks. (Not trying to scare you)
  6. NewOldMotherHen

    NewOldMotherHen Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 23, 2011
    Shenandoah Valley
    Fortunately I have not witnessed another episode since I posted. Her eyes look normal. She was vaccinated for Marek's. I have a fenced-in chicken yard so she is always either in the chicken house or in the yard. The chickenhouse was converted from a smokehouse and has a ladder-style roost that ranges from very low perch all the way to the ceiling so she could have a low perch but of course they all get up on the top perch. If she continues to have trouble seeing to get off the top perch in the mornings I suppose that I could put a light on a timer to come on the same time the auto-door opens.

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