Two cases of eye ulcer in a year. What am I doing wrong?


Oct 28, 2019
Lake Wales, Florida (Central Florida)
Two separate Easter eggers had an eye ulcer this year. The meds seemed to help but I’m trying to figure out the cause.

I know I’ll get asked so... Meds were Metacam .5 mg/ml cipeofloxacin 5 ml eye drops and smz tmp 240 mg/5ml. She said she would need to remove the eye but after 3 days on the meds there is great improvement so I doubt that is needed.

My coop is open air w a roof, screened sides (screen, 1/4 inch hardware mesh and cattle panels) so nothing but air can really move in and out. I live in central Florida. There are 20 laying hens and it is 28x12 broken into three rooms with inside doors always open unless I have babies or meaties. The floor is deep litter organic hemp. It does not get wet inside at all. I don’t ever smell ammonia so don’t think that is the issue. I rake the hemp around about one time per week. There are three separate perching areas so the poop is not really concentrated in one place. They only go in the coop from dark to dawn. The nesting boxes are on my front porch so they really don’t spend time in the coop except to sleep. We have decent weather and even in rain, they don’t go into the coop. They stay under the eaves or on my porches. The rest of the time, they are in my acre size fenced yard.

I wonder if my feeding is causing this. Maybe they are getting too much or too little of something. I put out a quart of new country organic whole layer feed. It is 18 percent protein. They never eat it all and never eat the peas until they sprout. I also spread a quart of BOSS on my sidewalk and another quart of new country organically scratch along 200 feet of fence line. Since the scratch is only 7 percent protein, I spread a 2 cups of little farmer dried bugs (50 percent protein) along with it. They have access to water, water w “mother” added, dried crushed egg shells and oyster shells.

They spend the rest of the day eating worms out of two compost piles, working over the pumpkin patches, eating frogs and tadpoles from a natural spring and eating lizards, tomatoes and anything else they feel like eating in the yard. They pretty much eat all day long and always seem to have full crops. I assume this is normal.

The acre is 3/4 compost/mulch gardens to dig in and 1/4 grass and weeds to eat. In the evening they get a food processed cabbage with my leftovers and more scratch and bugs if it is cold. I never give them sweets or pasta/rice, carb items. Our Leftovers I give to them are generally food processed vegis and meat.

I do have rose bushes, raspberry bushes and citrus trees w thorns. I suppose that could be the culprit but it seems unlikely to me.

I see typical behaviors like a slight peck on the head when one girl wants to get in the hole another is digging but no real bullying. It’s hard to bully when they are so spread out and food is everywhere. I see the queen RR “mount” others but none of them seem to mind and she is not rough about it. I can’t imaging it is from a chicken fight. Right now they are molting but they never have feathers pulled or fights like that.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. I worry I’m giving too much scratch but figured w the added protein maybe it isn’t terrible. A quart for 20 chickens doesn’t seem like a lot but maybe it’s too much. Are EEs prone to this? So far, the barred rocks, buff Orpingtons, and RRs haven’t ever had it.

My first chicken now has a mostly/likely blind grey eye after my mom debriding the hardened white lens off the eye. At least this one seems like she will recover easier than that.


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Ammonia odors in the coop from droppings can cause eye ulcers, but I think that since your coop is open air and has good air circulation, it must be scratches or pecks to the eye. Is there any debris they can get into their eyes? Two cases is not really a sign of something wrong in your flock. I had a polish chicken who suffered a bad peck and was blind there after. A good balanced diet should prevent any vitamin D or E deficiency which can cause eye problems as well. Chickens really don’t need all of the extras, but just a good balanced chicken feed that has all they need. Your chickens may lose the sight in the one eye, but they should be able to live a fairly good life.

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