Neighbors' New Puppy Bit Our Hen's Head - She May Be Blind


Aug 19, 2019
While our family was out of town, our neighbor's new (and very cute) puppy managed to get into our yard and ahold of one of our hens, a 1 and 1/2-year-old Ameraucana (ish), a week ago. Only for a second, but she did get two puncture wounds on either side of her head, lost a few feathers around the area, and had her eyes shut (especially the right eye) for several days afterward. She's now in the house on a little perch, taking water periodically from a syringe. She's not eaten since the incident. She laid one normal-sized egg the next day (62g), but none since.

We've treated the puncture wounds with iodine and Neosporin and they've healed up fine. Her right eye is fully open and seems undamaged. Her left eye is red around the periphery, and she holds it either partially opened or with the lower eyelid covering. We've treated the outside with cold compresses twice a day, lubricated with sterile eye drops, bacitracin ophthalmic ointment, and polymyxin B sulfate/trimehtoprim ophthalmic solution (on the 2nd day of treatment with the latter two). During these treatments, her nictitating membrane seems to function fine, and her right eye - though red-inflamed around the periphery - seems also undamaged, i.e. no observable damage to the corneal surface. There is no pus or clouding.

This morning we let her out into the yard to peck around as her general condition seemed much improved despite the fact that she has not taken food. When we put her down, she had some odd behavior. First, she stood in one place and moved her head slowly from one side to the other, kind of like someone watching a tennis match, but more like after you've been spun around with a blindfold and then told to focus. When she started to walk it was in circles. She did not peck at the ground. She was vocalizing softly. I moved my fingers in front of her eyes on both sides and got no response until I actually touched the feathers on her head when she would then flinch. She bumped into some milkweed that she obviously didn't see beforehand.

So, my question is: has anyone had a similar experience where the hen recovered sight after a similar trauma? I'm not averse to culling her and making a respectful soup, but I'd like to try to save her if I can.
So sorry about your hen. I haven’t had any experience with partially sighted or blind birds. We have a calf that is partially blind, and she gets along ok, but she has been that way since birth and is scheduled for slaughter next year at the latest (beef cattle and she has some other health issues as well). I suppose it depends on your flock and how she does with them. It may be kindest to cull her if she can’t rejoin them, or she may need to become more of a pet if you want to keep her.
After not eating anything for a week, she may be showing neurological symptoms, similar to wry neck, which can include running circles, walking backward, a twisted neck, or a rythmic back and forth motion of the neck. Of course it could also be from brain injury. She really needs to be tube fed right away if she is to live. There are numerous threads and videos of tube feeding here if you want to try it. She needs to be well hydrated before feeding food. But she may require a lot of care for awhile into the future to see if she will recover or not. As Kris has said, it might be kinder to put her down if she cannot fit back into her flock, and especially if she is not eating. I would offer some chopped scrambled egg, tuna or salmon, along with chicken feed made wet with water, and some also just dry food as well. Here is some tube feeding help:

Dogs carry bacteria in their mouth which is deadly to chickens...she needs antibiotics. Can you get her to see a vet?

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