Mystery lower eyelid swell


6 Years
May 15, 2018
In the last year I've taken my ill chickens to a vet over an hour each way, but I swear I never get very helpful info. and never as helpful as what I find on this web site! So thank you to anyone who's able to read this.

Below are photos of my darling rooster. He lives with my 15 hens and came to me for free 2 years ago following a fight with another rooster at his first home. I believe he is 4 years old now and his left eye has always been a bit gray, possibly from that fight. I was never sure if he was blind in it, but sometimes it seems like he can see out of it. He has been eating, drinking and pooping fine, energy seems good, he still watches over his ladies and is a great guard for us.

In the past 6 months he's developed more of a swelling with the inner lower lid, which I think has been getting more and more agitated by the heat and the dust over the summer, and it does seem to itch and bother him (you can see the tan stripe on his feathers where he leans back and rubs his eye throughout the day). There have been times where for 7 days at a time I have flushed the eye with saline or veterycyn spray and then put terramycin eye ointment on it. That caused it to look a little less swollen and agitated but not to go away entirely, so I didn't keep it up. Terramycin never seems to do much when I use the eye ointment on my hens.

When I brought another hen to the vet for a extreme swollen eye issue, she was tested and diagnosed with coryza. Her swelling went down after 7 days of the prescribed Sulfatrim (.2 ml by mouth 2x per day). Plus terimycin eye ointment twice per day.

I also showed the vet a picture of this guy and she thought it was just a pecking injury, and did not believe it was coryza. All of my chickens are eating and drinking normally, and no one has any bubbles or dripping noses or eyes, just this guy now with the lower lid (and the original gal still has a swelling behind her eye which I now believe is hardened from the coryza that I'm just leaving there because the vet didn't know what to do with it).

So any random suggestions of what I should try? When I pull his lower lid back and out, it just appears to be a line of red inflammation, no foreign object or anything yellow in there. I have Theracyn for pink eye that I could try to spray on him twice a day indefinitely, and even a little ciprofloxacin ophthalmic solution. Then there's other options like Manuka honey or Tylan powder I could try to give him or the whole crew in case they've got asymptomatic coryza going on because I know it's easily spreadable and they've all been together the whole time (the others must have an immunity to it or something?). I do understand to keep my flock closed since they will all be carriers for life. I just want some suggestions for how to make this guy more comfortable...sometimes I battle between just letting my chickens alone like they want or picking them up to treat them with something like this eye spray or terramycin gel twice per day. Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

First one is from April 24, 2021 and the last ones are from recently (Aug 21, 2021)


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I'm not sure what else you can do but keep ointment in the eye.

If you do have Coryza in your flock, then it's possible it may be lasting damage. Hard to know.

Sulfatrim from the vet was the correct antibiotic to treat Coryza. Coryza generally requires sulfa medication. Tylosin/Tylan will treat symptoms of disease like Mycoplasma.
Thanks for your reply! The vet didn't give me sulfa for the whole flock (I think she wasn't worried since everyone else wasn't symptomatic -- or even when I showed her a picture of this guy). So I don't have access to the prescription med anymore. I do think you may be right though that it might just be lasting damage or lower eyelid swelling from the illness:-( I feel bad for the guy because maybe if I had treated it back in April it would have stayed a small bump instead of being his whole line of lower lid. I just hope it doesn't continue to progress.

Is there an ointment you'd recommend? I have MicrocynAH Opthalmic Pet Gel but that seems to make it a bit crusty when I put it on twice a day. The reviews are so good for that though, from what I read online with pets with similar issues. I also could just do eye drops, bag balm or the Manuka honey to give a protective coating.
Thank you so much for your responses Wyorp Rock, I appreciate it! I will try Neosporin and just continue to monitor his eye in hopes that it doesn't get worse. If it does I'll check in with the vet for some steroid eye drops.

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