Precious..the blind Barred Rock hen

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
606
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Southern Minnesota
Precious had a dust bath after laying her egg today. She sang her egg song, then went outside to enjoy her bath time. She is one happy chicken! She continues to do well, and I would say that I don't think she is at the bottom of the pecking order. She is wary of Gwyneth, probably due to the trauma she inflicted quite awhile ago, but that has really toned down a lot. She even roosted next to Gwyneth again last night.

Here is a video I captured of Precious in her dust bath. She is on the left hand side...the one bathing. :)
 

BY Bob

Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres
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Jan 1, 2016
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Precious had a dust bath after laying her egg today. She sang her egg song, then went outside to enjoy her bath time. She is one happy chicken! She continues to do well, and I would say that I don't think she is at the bottom of the pecking order. She is wary of Gwyneth, probably due to the trauma she inflicted quite awhile ago, but that has really toned down a lot. She even roosted next to Gwyneth again last night.

Here is a video I captured of Precious in her dust bath. She is on the left hand side...the one bathing. :)
Just lovely. I'm so glad she is doing so well. Please keep the updates coming. I'm attached to her now. 🥰
 
Sep 13, 2019
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I have one particular Barred Rock hen named Precious. She is, we think, mostly blind. We got her from TSC with 3 other Rocks, one of which we named Paris, but is probably Perry. Everything was going well, but after a few days, I started noticing something was not right with Precious. She wasn't quite as active as the others, and often was found standing in a corner, staring at a wall. I also noticed that she walked very slowly, and would often walk into things. Through more observation, and some vision testing, it became obvious that she, at the very least, sees very poorly. We have observed her eating and drinking from the feeder and waterer, so she does not require any personal attention to help her eat. In fact, she is gaining weight just as quickly as the others in our new brooder. Her brooder mates consist of three other Barred Rocks, two RIR, and two Buff Orpingtons.

Precious is now 19 days old, and continues to grow. She is getting along with everyone, but doesn't always participate in all of their crazy antics in the brooder. The others are extremely active, flying everywhere, chasing each other, scratching through the bedding..etc. Precious can often be found near them, trying to be part of the activities, but often failing because she just can't see what they are doing. She does scratch in the bedding, she does manage to get into the little pan I setup for them with dirt for dust bathing, and I have seen her dust bathe in there herself.

I'm sharing this story, because I want to document her life. As a family, we decided against culling her, just because of her vision issues. She is precious in more than just a name. She deserves a chance at a good life, and that is something we want to give her.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, as we take this journey in caring for a special needs chicken. But, we are excited for her, as she is managing to do things.

Here she is as of a week ago. I will get an update picture in the next day or so.
View attachment 2134645
Aww, how sweet! :love
I had a white EE rooster who was blind in one eye, but he was the sweetest thing ever, under no circumstance are you to ever let harm come to her.
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
606
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Southern Minnesota
Been awhile since I last updated this post about Precious. She continues to do well, and is thriving with her flock. If anything, she is NOT at the bottom of the pecking order. In fact, I believe one Orpington, and two other Barred Rocks are actually below her in the order. She's got spunk. Today, she was having a nice dust bath, and one of the other Barred Rocks, Kiev, tried to take her spot. Precious jumped up out of her bath, and wailed on Kiev. Kiev went running, to get away from Precious' fury. It was funny to watch. Don't mess with Precious. Some things, like a perfect dust bath, are just worth defending.

I have found a few broken eggs here and there, which I believe are due to Precious stepping on them when she goes into the nest. She can't see where she is stepping, and occasionally cracks one. It's a small price to pay for her happiness.

She has learned to stay out of the night time roost rumble. She just perches on the edge of the poop board, where she is left alone while the others duke it out for prime roosting real estate.

The new heated fount waterer seems to be working out well. As mentioned before, Precious is unable to drink from a nipple waterer, which added some complication to this years watering over winter. My preference would be the proven, heated nipple waterer I have used for two winters now, but I had to move to the heated fount because of Precious. Hopefully they won't dunk their wattles in it too much, or they are all going to have smaller wattles next year!

Here is a photo I got of her today, up on the roost.
IMG_1591.jpeg
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
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Southern Minnesota
November update on Precious.

She continues to do very well with the flock. Our cockerel, “Pari”, has taken a liking to her. He makes sure she gets first dibs at the feeder in the mornings. Of course, that privilege comes with some other “obligations” for Pari’s needs. She doesn’t seem to mind too much, and Pari’s affection for her also affords her some status in the flock. As I mentioned last month, Precious is not at the bottom of the pecking order.

There are some issues with her blindness. One is her roughness in the nests each day. When she finally figures which nesting box to use, she enters it, but is not very careful about where she is stepping. She is like a bull in a china shop while in the nest. She doesn’t obviously intend to break any eggs, but it happens. I’m actually surprised that I don’t find more broken eggs than I do. I usually find between 1 and 3 broken eggs each week. The downside of this is the unintentional feast this leaves for the others. I try to collect eggs often, because I don’t want the others to get a taste for eggs.

The other issue is fairly minor, and Precious has adapted in her own way. She can get up to the main roost, but doesn’t like the nighttime roosting rumble that takes place up there each night. She was often pushed off. But, she discovered that if she roosts on the poop board ledge, no one bothers her. It is about 8” lower than the main roost. So that is now where I find her each night....quiet and content...while the others rumble above her on the main roost.

The poop board ledge was only 1” wide, so this weekend I made a wider ledge (2 3/4”) for her. She seems to like it.

She still comes to me when I call her name, so that is always sweet.

Here is a picture of them all on the roost tonight. Precious is the one on the lower/front roost.
2FD631A8-1C34-4C39-9D9C-371DA8E5FA85.jpeg
 

black_cat

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November update on Precious.

She continues to do very well with the flock. Our cockerel, “Pari”, has taken a liking to her. He makes sure she gets first dibs at the feeder in the mornings. Of course, that privilege comes with some other “obligations” for Pari’s needs. She doesn’t seem to mind too much, and Pari’s affection for her also affords her some status in the flock. As I mentioned last month, Precious is not at the bottom of the pecking order.

There are some issues with her blindness. One is her roughness in the nests each day. When she finally figures which nesting box to use, she enters it, but is not very careful about where she is stepping. She is like a bull in a china shop while in the nest. She doesn’t obviously intend to break any eggs, but it happens. I’m actually surprised that I don’t find more broken eggs than I do. I usually find between 1 and 3 broken eggs each week. The downside of this is the unintentional feast this leaves for the others. I try to collect eggs often, because I don’t want the others to get a taste for eggs.

The other issue is fairly minor, and Precious has adapted in her own way. She can get up to the main roost, but doesn’t like the nighttime roosting rumble that takes place up there each night. She was often pushed off. But, she discovered that if she roosts on the poop board ledge, no one bothers her. It is about 8” lower than the main roost. So that is now where I find her each night....quiet and content...while the others rumble above her on the main roost.

The poop board ledge was only 1” wide, so this weekend I made a wider ledge (2 3/4”) for her. She seems to like it.

She still comes to me when I call her name, so that is always sweet.

Here is a picture of them all on the roost tonight. Precious is the one on the lower/front roost.
View attachment 2430276
She's doing so well!!! I'm so happy for her!!! Maybe you could consider roll away nesting boxes? They roll the eggs away from reach of clumsy/hungry hens.
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
606
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173
Southern Minnesota
She's doing so well!!! I'm so happy for her!!! Maybe you could consider roll away nesting boxes? They roll the eggs away from reach of clumsy/hungry hens.
Hmmm...that is actually a good idea. That might have to wait till spring though, as my existing boxes are external, and would require some extensive modification. It would be easier if I had made them taller.
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
606
1,147
173
Southern Minnesota
Precious is currently undergoing a partial molt. She seems a lot more agitated, isn’t eating as much, and is being picked on by others. I first noticed the molting a few days ago. In the morning, there were a lot of small under belly feathers all around where she roosted for the night. This happened for a few days. She’s not molting so much as to appear bare anywhere. I checked her over for mites or other possible issues, but she is clean. She does have a lot of pin feathers protruding from her skin. I’m guessing she is simply feeling a bit uneasy due to the partial molt.

I had changed their feed within the last 10 days...to pellets...and most of the chickens seemed fine with it. Precious, however, doesn’t seem to care for them. I switched them back to crumbles today. I wondered if the change of feed stressed Precious out and that may have triggered the molt.

As mentioned, it doesn’t appear to be a full blown molt.

I’m keeping an eye on her, and hoping this is nothing more than a temporary issue. She has not gone to roost with a full crop for about six days now. That has been my concern.
 

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