Pullet won't open eye

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by leetfreq925, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. leetfreq925

    leetfreq925 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2012
    Ipswich, MA
    I have a 20 week old pulley that has been super healthy up until a week ago. The past week she has not opened one eye and has been very lethargic - lays down in the middle of the yard a lot while everyone else is foraging. I've looked for other signs of infection- there is no discharge and her other eye remains normal. I am working on integrating her and her other pulley friend with my older hens. Should I be concerned or is this possibly just that she got pecked in the eye?
     
  2. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2013
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    Hi There,

    I'm a big fan of The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow. Picked up a used copy on Amazon. On page 161, it lists about 25 illnesses that can affect the eyes. It lists them by the most common age that the chicken can get the illness. In the back, there is a detailed description of each disease, including additional symptoms (like yours being lethargic), the cause of each, the incubation period, how to prevent it and treatment. Great book, covers hundreds of chicken illnesses and deals with how to keep them healthy (biosecurity, parasites, egg laying problems, etc.). Highly recommend it to anyone trying to keep their chickens healthy and help them when they do get sick.

    If you can be more specific about what the eye looks like, I can try to diagnose it. Can you catch her and get a good look at the eye? Maybe have someone help you. Wrap her in a towel so she can't flap her wings and if you have no one to help you, sit with her held nicely between your legs in the towel so both hands are free. See if you can get her eye open to look at it. See if it's cloudy, pecked at so it's injured, has something stuck in it, draining any fluid, watery, red or swollen... whatever.

    I'd also isolate her from the others as many of these illnesses are contagious. So, no, I wouldn't integrate her with the others. You may want to also consider isolating her from the one other pullet you have and or not integrating the currently healthy pullet in with the others until you get this figured out, in case the healthy one is a carrier or going to also get sick.

    Let us know,
    Guppy
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  3. leetfreq925

    leetfreq925 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like I need to get that book...
    I spent a lot of time with her this weekend. She, Sheldon, enjoys just sitting on my lap, so it's easy to get a look at her. First of all, she is doing much better. I only see her close her eye every so often and she definitely has a lot more energy back. Her eye isn't red, isn't tearing, there's no mucus around the eye or her nose. She is perfectly healthy but for the left eye, which now only closes now and again. If she got a concussion, could lack cause the lethargy and eye closing? she was escaping an adult chicken and flew (very impressively) to the top of the run, but misjudged how long it was and slammed into the end... does definitely seem like a physical issue vs. an infection.
    Sheldon and her pullet friend, Booker, are inseparable. Booker will cry at the top of her lungs if she is more than 2 feet from Sheldon. I have isolated the two of them from the other hens, but if I separate the two of them, PETA will be on my doorstep. Booker and all the other hens look perfectly healthy, in fact too healthy! ha!
    I'm hoping it was just a hit to the head and she is completely on the mend just trying to get her bearings again. I'm keeping a very very close eye on everyone, they all get a morning and evening inspection of eyes and nostrils and breathing to make sure there isn't a sign of infection.
    In the meantime, I have to get that book to help identify issues in the future. Thanks for your help, Guppy!
     
  4. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    My pleasure, glad to help. So many others here at BYC have helped me, it's the least I can do. So glad she's doing better. If you saw the possible injury, then that very well could be it. I can say that chickens (and birds in general) run into things in flight a lot, especially while escaping from something (each other, predators, whatever). It's possible she got a good bang on the head and that's the reason for her closed eye. But, that could also be a coincidence? It's so hard to say, isn't it? Anyway, you're doing all the right things, have her isolated with her buddy, keeping an eye on her, no strange discharges coming from her eye, etc. I'd say you've done and are doing all that you can.

    One thing that you made me think about is antibiotics. Others here might recommend having antibiotics on hand. I have Durmamycin (tetracycline) because I needed it awhile back for a respiratory infection and have what was left over. Each of us considers meds differently and how quickly we move from symptoms to administering meds. I am not anti-meds at all but I don't go there immediately. Mostly, because it's so hard to diagnose chicken illnesses as so many things have very similar symptoms. Antibiotics don't do a thing for illnesses caused by a virus, for example. But if it's caused by a bacteria, an antibiotic might help. There are problems dosing with antibiotics when they're not needed such as it can enable the bacteria to build resistance to the antibiotic, rendering stronger strains in the future. Antibiotics also kill bacteria in the chicken (or in people too for that matter) indiscriminately meaning it kills not only the bad bacteria causing illness but all the good bacteria inside the animal too. And so many bacteria are healthy/necessary and good. Bacteria sort of gets a bad rap when most of it's not bad and required for survival. But by killing off the good bacteria in an animal, it lowers their natural immunity and makes them more susceptible to other illnesses.

    Anyway... I scanned a few of the eye infections in this book and most are caused by a virus but a few are caused by bacteria. Your chicken sounds like she's on the up swing but if she takes a turn for the worst, and you have no real way of nailing down what illness she has, you could go the antibiotic route. Again, I'm not recommending for or against this, just stating that it's an option. Something for you to decide in your own way and maybe do more research on as you see fit.

    Hope this helps,
    Guppy
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  5. leetfreq925

    leetfreq925 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ipswich, MA
    Thanks, Guppy. I completely agree about the antibiotics. I didn't rush to put her on them because I didn't see any other symptoms and I really don't want to administer that stuff if I don't have to. When I really need it, it may not work. I do have a couple different kinds on hand, just in case, but I will need to really know that they need them. As of today, she is about 95%. her energy is 100%, but i have noticed she closes the eye every so often. but it should go away and she should be just fine until her next run in!
    thanks for your help and information.
     
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  6. kaylapohovich

    kaylapohovich New Egg

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    I have a 6 week old with the same symptoms right now. Just noticed it this morning. I am new to raising chickens. This is our first flock raised from day olds. We went from zero to 10 and of course i have reading everything there is to read about what to look out for when they get sick. My easter egger, Louise, is lethargic and has one eye shut at all times unless shes alerted by something and quickly shuts her eye again. Her other eye is fine. Neither eye shows signs of infection. No other signs of infection anywhere else either. Could it also be a concussion?
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017

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