Suddenly blind chicken -- what to do?


12 Years
May 7, 2007
fingerlakes, ny
I have a two and a half year old Easter Egger who seems to be blind in one eye, or maybe somewhat both. She had been acting odd and standoffish for several weeks, occasionally refusing to come into the hen house at night (they freerange during the day on 3 acres and stay close to home). And then about a week ago, she started moving erratically around and banging into things. I noticed one of her pupils was misshapen, though the other seems okay and reacts to light. I separated her out and she was very lethargic and refusing to eat or drink for several days; I was pretty sure she was going to die. However, she's perked up. I've been bringing her special yogurt dishes and helping her drink her water. She has trouble finding it, will dart her head around kind of awkwardly, but then when she finds it, eats well.

She doesn't seem to have too many other symptoms -- her poop is greenish in a liquidy white matrix (maybe from not eating much until yesterday), and she walks sort of crouched close to the ground. She cranes her neck around to look at me (I think) so she might not be totally blind. She's been making the usual sweet chicken noises so I don't think she's suffering. Haven't had an egg from her in a couple of months -- figured she was moulting along with everyone else.

I have two questions: What do you think could be the problem, exactly -- vitamin deficiency? (She is a lower chicken in the hierarchy, so she might not have been getting as much layer pellet as the others, but there are a lot of berries and bugs outside) A disease?

And two.... what should I do? Okay, I should probably cull her. But she is sweet and not suffering so I'd rather not. Do you think she could ever fit back into the henhouse culture again?? And can this kind of blindness ever be reversed?
Hi PattyCakes... I realize you posted this almost a year ago, but I was sad to see you never got a reply. I'm going through a similar situation with my easter egger hen, but she's only 5 months old and I think only partly blind (one eye, I think). Right now we're keeping her in a cage in our house because she's our only chicken (the others ended up finding homes after we hatched mostly roosters), but we can't keep her inside forever.

What ended up happening with your hen? I'm curious to know since mine may follow the same path.

I'm also curious to know if a single half blind hen can be kept outside through the winter or if we're doomed to having a hen in our house for the next several months. It's not that bad, but her cage really starts to smell after a couple days, plus she can't be happy being cooped up in there all the time.

I actually bought a chicken diaper online and tried it on her but it was too big. Then I got to thinking that I don't really want a chicken wandering all around our house anyway. There are just too many things she could get into trouble with... electric cords, flying around and knocking things off shelves... not a good thing. While she's quite blind, she still does this crazy jumpy little flying maneuver sometimes. It's so erratic that we never know where she's going to end up.

Thanks in advance for responding, and I hope you made out well with your blind chicken.


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