Poor eyesight

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rickovo, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. Rickovo

    Rickovo In the Brooder


    I’ve got a hen (a Cotswold Legbar about 1.5 yo) that appears to have poor eyesight. She seems to struggle to see grain or food generally, knows its there but then moves in to peck it and then hesitates. She's not eating very well.
    I'm going to have a good look at her eyes in detail tomorrow but there doesn’t seem to be anything obvious (swollen, discharge etc.)
    Going to try some sweet potato tomorrow for a Vit A boost. Glasses would look cute but as she has no ears they would fly off at the first peck :)
    Has anyone had a similar situation?


  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Eye disorders in chickens can be from vitamin A or E deficiencies, eye infections, cataracts, past AE (avian encephalomyelits,) some cases of Mareks disease, and eye injuries. It helps to look at both eyes, make sure the black pupil is round and equal in size, the color is the same normal color in both eyes, there is no cloudiness in the lens, there is no injury inside or outside, and that there is no drainage or foreign body(such as dirt or seed pods) stuck in the eye. Pictures often help. Make sure that food and water are within reach since blindness can cause weight loss.
  3. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Crowing

    Oct 24, 2009
    I used to have a blind Bantam chicken. She lived many years and had a good life. If you make some modifications they adapt really well.

    I changed the feeder to an open deep dog bowl.. because she had difficulty using the normal chicken feeder. Same with her water container. Leave them in the same place all the time so she learns where they are. She had to make several pecking into the air attempts before finding the food.

    She could never see to eat treats or mealworms... so I would make a special call for her and put these things on top of her chicken feed in the feeder and she would get some by dunking her head into the food.

    She was fine to free range in the garden.. because she learned to follow one of the roosters about by putting her head into his tail!!! If she got left behind she would make a distressed noise the her rooter friend would come running back to collect her. It was very cute to see.

    She would also latch onto my foot if I got close to her.. pushing her head onto my ankle and climbing onto my foot... so I had to be careful not to step back on her by accident.

    She did not have a disease of deficiency. I think she was either born like that or had some head injury as a chick.

    The nicest thing was that the other hens never picked on her as she was the roosters special friend. The allowed her to stumble through them... and into the food pot. Never seen any of them peck at her... even the mean hen.

  4. Rickovo

    Rickovo In the Brooder

    Thanks Eggsessive - I’m going to have a very close look at her eyes this morning (with my own glasses on) and post a picture if there is anything to note.
    I do wonder if it is like the situation that you have had jak. She got off to a bad start at the breeder and was in a run with the bantams though the other CLBs were in with the big girls. She has always pecked my trouser leg and has a funny habit of getting very close, seemingly affectionate, but then freaking out and running away if you try to pick her up.
    Anyway she has always been a slightly fragile and timid oddball!
    The apparent semi-blindness has only developed in the past few weeks.

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