Visual impairment or neck problem?


8 Years
Sep 6, 2011
Please help me work out what's wrong with my lovely Pekin bantam Agatha - she's such a great chicken and I really, really don't want to lose her!!

1) What type of bird, age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)
She is a 9-month-old Pekin bantam, about the same size as our other one. No obvious weight loss (breastbone feels much the same as always).

2) What is the behavior, exactly.
About a week ago I noticed when I hand fed her she was pecking slightly to the side of the food. If I held the food between my fingers she found it easily, though, and she was using her water bottle with no problems. On Saturday she was holding her head to one side (the right), looking over her shoulder a lot, and still pecking to the side of food, walking round in circles around treats on the ground. I put her food in a wider bowl to give her a better chance of getting it and her crop was full Saturday and Sunday nights. She can get up into and down from the coop easily and doesn't seem to have any trouble getting around. She is as lively and talkative as usual and seems fine in herself. Today she didn't seem to eat very much - I don't know whether this was because I kept fussing over her trying to give her treats (she tends to ignore the layers pellets if she sees the possibility of treats) or whether she just can't get to the food at all.

The neck thing is weird, I immediately thought wry neck/crook neck/whatever it's called but it doesn't look quite like that. When she runs towards me she runs straight but keeps her head to the side so her left eye is facing me, and when I offer her a treat she'll keep turning her head to the right to try to reach it until her head's turned almost the whole way round. It's as if she can't turn her head to the left. I can't feel anything wrong with her neck but I'm not sure what I'm looking for. Is she twisting her neck like that because she's trying to see out of one eye, or is the neck the problem?

3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
See above.

4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
No, her friend is fine.

5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
No. I thought it must be an eyesight thing but her eyes are clear and bright and her pupils are dilating and contracting.

6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
No idea :eek:(

7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
See question 2. She can't find treats at all, she seems to be able to find food if there's a lot of it in a big enough bowl but she always pecks at the edge.

8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
I've given her some Nettex Nutri-Drops as they contain vitamins.

10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
We don't have a specialist poultry vet we can get to easily so I'd rather treat it myself. If she needs a particular treatment from a vet I'm happy to go and see one once I have some idea what's wrong - the last two times I've taken chickens to vets I had to tell them what the condition was.

11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
She's in a coop with a run attached but free ranges in the garden (Finacard as bedding).

I'd be incredibly grateful for any I say, I would happily take her to a vet, but the ones I've seen before have been just as in the dark as I have... many thanks in advance.
I have a chick doing exactly that at the moment. She got beaten up pretty bad by the others. Maybe yours received a harsh peck to the eye too? I'm hoping it'll fix itself. Fingers crossed for your girl.
Thanks Time-Out. We've only got one other chicken and the two of them love each other so I don't think she's been pecked (though it could have been accidental).

Does anyone have any ideas? Please help!!

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