Rooster completely blind. Need help!

chicken vet girl

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Jun 30, 2018
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I have a rooster that has been completely blind for 10 weeks. August 29, I found him getting beat up by roosters. He was acting odd, refusing to walk, and not eating or drinking. The other roosters had bitten/scratched his right eyelid. 2 days later, he had a film on his right eye. I immediately started using terramycin in both eyes. The same day, I discovered that if I tapped his beak with bread he would start pecking around for it. I was able to hand-feed/water him using this method. The following day I noticed that his pupils did not change size at any time. They (his pupils) are enlarged and do not get smaller with light. I started suspecting he was blind in both eyes, which would explain his odd behavior. I also started giving him cod liver oil and vitamin E. He started learning to eat on his own and after about 2 weeks I stopped hand-feeding him. His food and water bowls are always in the exact same place, so that he knows here to find them. He now lives in his own little coop, but is lonely.

Here is the thread from when he was first injured: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rooster-wont-walk-not-eating-or-drinking.1269781/

Is there anything anyone can recommend to help him? Is his optic nerve damaged?

Here are some pictures I took Sept. 10 of his eyes.
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Eggcessive

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Sorry that your rooster is still blind and not doing well. Has he ever been able to regain use of his legs? If he has Mareks, that can cause tumors on the optic nerve, but usually, there will be a grey dull color to the eye. He might do well if he had a meeker or lower pecking order hen in his pen with him to keep him company. I would think about his quality of life, especially if he still cannot walk, and consider putting him down if he is not happy. But you can make a chicken sling to get him upright, and keep him in a wire crate near the other chickens for company. If you decide put him down, I would get a necropsy and testing for Mareks by your state vet.
 

chicken vet girl

Chirping
Jun 30, 2018
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I do not believe it is Mareks. He is able to walk around. He lives almost completely normal. He seems to be somewhat happy, (except for being lonely) and he crows whenever around other chickens. His "quality of life" is certainly not in question and euthanization is not an option. I have put a companion hen with him, but now she is unhappy. I am hoping that he can make a full recovery and return to the flock.

His only issue is complete blindness. Why do you think he has Mareks?
 

Eggcessive

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In your first thread, you had said that he wasn’t walking, and with his blindness, that was a possibility. Perhaps try him with another hen or rotate the hens with him, so they don’t get bored or lonely. But if you still have other roosters, he would probably get hurt if let out, unless you let him out to roam by himself. It can be possible to have a completely blind chicken, but difficult to manage with other roosters. Since his blindness has gone on for some time, it is probably permanent.
 

chicken vet girl

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Jun 30, 2018
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Is it possible this is the optic nerve? Will dexamethasone help? Is there anything you can recommend?

Thank you so much for trying to help!
 

Eggcessive

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I am not a vet, so the prednisolone would be up to you. It may or may not help. You might want to consult a vet, since it is a prescription drug. Steroids have side effects, such as lowered immunity to infections, high blood pressure, and in humans they can cause ulcers and diabetes.
 

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