Keeping a Blind Chicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lala4578, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. wittman

    wittman In the Brooder

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    Hi, I have a blind chick and I was wondering if you'd be able to help me out. I had a hen start hatching chicks about 4 days ago, and she hatched 11 within the first day and a half, but later that day another chick started hatching. This concerned me because I knew she was going to get off of the nest soon and start teaching her babies how to forage, so I checked on the chick often to make sure she was drying properly. Right from the start I knew something was wrong with this chick, because she wasn't opening her eyes and her head would twitch, almost like she was going to peck at something on her foot, but her head would move in circles repeatedly. Her eyes appear to me like they're sunk in. This sounds to me like she has mental problems that I can't really help, but I figured there might be hope for her. Earlier today I set her in a shallow water dish to see if she would attempt to drink, and she basically got her beak a little wet from me putting her in, and she put her head up and swallowed for a minute. I don't know what I'm going to do at this point, because it breaks my heart to see a chick that can't help herself and gets left behind by her mother, but I don't know if I could bring myself to cull her. I know she'll die of dehydration if I don't do something soon though, and I want to make sure she's not suffering :(
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
  2. Hi, I dont know if your post was meant for me or not but I will answer anyway,lol

    If it were me I would just see how she does. I had to remove Chicken Little from her Mama because she couldnt keep up with the rest of the clutch. I made a mama heat pad brooder for her and I rotated her other siblings in and out. A few days with Chicken Little and then back to mama, then I would take another two and put them in with her. I had to put her in the cave sometimes but other times she would put herself to bed. My reasoning behind this was I was hoping the other chicks would teach her things and she could hear them. My Chicken Little was attacked about a week old and that is how she lost her sight. She also looks up and around, kind of in circles. I didnt have the heart to cull her.
    Just wait and see if your baby learns to drink and eat. Just keep showing her.
    It takes a lot of time but its worth the effort.
    Let me know if you have any more questions.
    Marie
     
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  3. wittman

    wittman In the Brooder

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    Thank you. I've been checking on my little girl with her mama every 45 minutes or so to see if she's stuck somewhere and can't find her way back to the group, and normally if mama isn't currently sitting I'll take the chick inside to see if I can get her to drink. She gets a little freaked out when she gets her feet wet, so I haven't tried using a dropper yet, I've only been getting her beak wet, which makes her try to swallow.
     
  4. ForrestGump

    ForrestGump Chirping

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    I agree that the chick either needs to be in with the mom, or it needs to be in a brooder with at least one other chick for a friend. I'd use a dropper or syringe to drip water on her beak. It wouldn't be a bad idea to get some vitamins to mix in with the water.

    The other thing you can do is put some moist chick starter or scrambled eggs or something easy to eat in a shallow plastic or metal dish. Tap on the dish with your fingernail so the chick can hear you "pecking". Even a blind chick can hear when others are eating and it can offer encouragement for it to start trying on its own.
     
  5. Good advice,
    I always tap on her bowl and water fountain to let her know where it is. In the beginning I dipped her beak in the water and then tapped on the side of the plastic fountain type water bowl. She will learn.....
     
  6. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Songster

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    Oct 8, 2010
    Hey, I am having similar difficulties with my 5 week old blind Serama chick. She still has not learned to eat on her own.. I can't even fathom putting a water dish in her cage because I'm not sure she'd know not to drown in it.. or get soaking wet. I think it just takes time though. It seems to me that the disadvantage for these chicks is that their disability requires so much more time and effort than the normal sight-blessed chick, in order to learn how to thrive. I'm hoping too that in time, my little blind chick will be able to eat on her own.

    Currently I feed her every few hours with a needle less syringe filled with Kay Tee hand rearing baby bird formula that you mix with water. She is super skinny but hanging in there. She doesn't seem to want to take a lot of food in- she won't let me feed her too much, she pulls away, so I stop. I feed her until her crop is very large and then give it rest for few hours, or until she starts 'scream-peeping' (crying). Its been very challenging, but I look forward to a time when she might be able to eat on her own.

    Would be curious to start a thread for all blind chicken owners to share their experiences.. I've been enjoying this one and others here at BYC... and of course VERY VERY thankful to hear about anything y'all have to share about the topic. Its so helpful.. and encouraging.

    Thank you to all!
     
  7. ForrestGump

    ForrestGump Chirping

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    It seems at 5 weeks your chick should have learned to eat by now. You should start putting piece of food in her mouth so she/he learns how to swallow larger food on its own. Pieces of corn work well, split peas, small pieces of cantaloupe or hard boiled egg. The chick needs to figure out how to survive on its own. You can do it!
     
  8. lala4578

    lala4578 Chirping

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    Sep 14, 2013
    @Bocktobery 10
    I agree about the significance of using auditory cues. When my blind hen hears others pecking at pellets, or the more acute sound of them pecking at a dish I am having them 'clean up' for me, she perks up and tries to find her way towards the sound. If I rattle a container of 'treats' like oats or cracked corn, she excitedly makes a bee-line towards the sound. I have to make sure when I do that, that nothing is in her way that she would run into!

    I have not had a blind baby chick yet but if I did I would try guiding her to the feed area by tapping it with your nail, like @ForrestGump described, and keeping the water next to it.

    Keep an eye on the others for any 'picking on' behavior, to make sure your blind one doesn't get hurt.

    Let us know what you find works and doesn't work. Best of luck!
     
  9. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Songster

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    Oct 8, 2010
    lala and Forest, thank you for your kind replies..

    Yeah, I agree that something is not right and that she needs to learn to eat on her own and that she should have figured it out by now. Everything I am trying is not helping. She just stands there sometimes. I think she has no idea what she is supposed to do. She does peck- but she will peck at the walls, or peck at the terry cloth I have down for her. There is food scattered, but she doesn't seem to know what is food and what is not. Lately, she has been pecking at the walls. She seems to love it when she is outside of the cage, but it becomes impossible to control where she goes- and that can be dangerous.

    Oh, I should say that I do not have her with the other chicks. I had to separate her during the first few days of life. She was just doing the same thing of standing there- and getting run over, even by mamma hen. It became dangerous for her to leave her with the others. She is separated from them and lives in her own cage. I think honestly she is very lonely. I have to leave her between feedings and I don't have much time for her, but when she hears my voice or me walking in the room she perks up and spins in circles.

    The tapping does seem to arouse interest in her, but she makes no effort to peck or scratch or anything (no where near where I am tapping) .. nothing shows me that she can eat by herself. Unfortunately. She can even step on a glob of wet food and keep walking- it doesn't phase her or pique her curiosity. Maybe she has no sense of smell as well?

    If I don't feed her, she sits and cries. I've thought about getting another chick to put in there with her, but I'm not sure how this would go... perhaps I better give it a try. ?
     
  10. minibantam

    minibantam Hatching

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    Aug 23, 2016
    Amazing story! I have a chicken which was born with only one working eye.
     

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