Lethargic chicken w/cloudy eye - MG?

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In the Brooder
Jun 30, 2019

After spending hours researching what it could/could not be, I'm turning to the experts here for help.

Earlier this week, we had a 6 month old hen develop a cloudy, puffy eye and was very lethargic. However, she was still eating fine, drinking fine. No sneezing, no nasal discharge. No bloody poop. When pressing softly in the eye area, no worm looked to be surfacing. She's the lowest on the pecking order so I thought she may have gotten pecked in the eye. We separated her and have treated her with terramycin for the past 3 1/2 days. She responded well to treatment and her eye is now clear, just ever so slightly puffy (you wouldn't notice unless you you were looking intently), she is very active & seems to be her old self. We put her back with the rest of the girls today.

However, another hen just now has developed the same cloudy eye. She looked fine this morning (according to my daughter.) Her eye isn't as swollen as the first hen and the cloudy eye is the only symptom that I'm seeing right now. #2 hen is not as lethargic as #1 was. We separated #2 and I put terramycin on the cloudy eye. Based on a 2nd chicken developing the same thing, I'm thinking this is NOT from getting pecked and is some sort of virus.

As such, I've spent a considerable amount of time researching what it could be. We've had these hens since we got them as chicks in March. They're not new. We haven't been around any show chickens. The only other chickens we've been around were looking (and not touching) the baby chicks at TSC. The older hens have not exhibited any of these signs. Just oddly 2 of the 4 newer ones.

Could it just be a virus that only the younger ones picked up? Will #3 and #4 newer chicken get this?

I have read about MG but have doubts because there is no discharge. It doesn't seem to fit corzya either because the only main symptoms are the one cloudy eye and the lethargy. Just confused as to what it could be and what I should do.

Also, if MG is suspected, must I treat everyone with Tylan? And if so, I would prefer to add to their water. I do not feel comfortable at all giving all 13 injections.

And FYI - I did call around to local vets and no one seems to treat chickens. UGH.

As always, thanks in advance for the advice!!!
I would try to get 1 or 2 chickens tested for MG to get a diagnosis. You can call your state vet in many states for instructions on how to do that, or you can contact a national commercial lab where they seend you swabs to collect from the chickens’ throat and nasal secretions. Zoologix is one lab and there is another that some recommend here. The state vet may recommend a less expensive place.

Can you post any picture of the cloudy eyes? Are you just seeing the nictitating membrane possibly? MG can cause bubbles, foam, watery drainage, or pus in the eye, with swelling of the eyelids. A cloudy eye might be an eye infection, reaction to ammonia odor in coop, corneal abrasion from a peck, or a cataract.
Thanks for the response. I'm not seeing any bubbles, foam or watery discharge so that's why I have doubt about MG. This is chicken #1 a few days ago. Chicken #2's eye looks the same.

Chicken #1's eye did respond well to the terramycin. It is no longer cloudy and only slightly swollen. She does seem to have some vision issues that I'm hoping will resolve themselves in a few days once the eye is 100% cleared up.

Could they both coincidentally have been pecked? I'm not saying it's out of the question because I have one hen that is mean to the newer ones. If it was only one chicken I would have said highly probably, but #2 is not on the bottom of the pecking order so that's why I'm concerned.

Thanks again!


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UPDATE - younger chickens #1 and #2 are responding very well to terramycin. I witnessed one of the older hens go after chicken #1's eye so I removed her from the flock. I now strongly believe this chicken pecked both 1 & 2 in their eyes. Older chicken is in time out in a crate until we can figure out what to do with her. I'm hoping 10 days in rehab will work. If not, we will have to cull. I can't have her aggressively going after the young hens and trying to blind them.

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