Young Hen Won't Open Eyes. Possible Fever?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Emily_VVV, May 6, 2018.

  1. Emily_VVV

    Emily_VVV Chirping

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    Hi all,

    I'm very new to chicken ownership so obviously I haven't seen this before, but my boyfriend is pretty experienced with chickens and he hasn't seen it either.

    Our hen (she's young, rhode island red, not sure about her exact age but definitely under 6 months. Still hasn't laid her first egg) isn't opening her eyes. She was fine all day yesterday and last night, and this morning my boyfriend pulled me out of bed saying she couldn't open her eyes.

    I soaked a q-tip in warm water and gently wet her eye just in case it was crusted shut, and upon realizing it wasn't, I gently opened her eyelid which didn't seem to cause her any pain and her eyes are bright and normal looking.

    She will drink without a fuss if we cup water in our hands and bring it to her beak, she'll eat a little but doesn't seem to care too much.

    She stayed inside while the others were let out this morning, and we put her in a plastic bin with a good towel "nest", and when my boyfriend opened the door to check on our other 3, she opened one eye, then closed it again shortly after. We put her outside in her bin and promptly moved her to be with our little flock bc she was calling for them :( The chickens all stayed near her, our youngest even hopped inside to be beside her, and she was even opening one eye and looking around, but when we went to check on her her feet and beak were super hot.

    We moved her inside and got her an ice pack (covered with a towel) to lay on inside her bin and have been alternating the cold when she goes back to normal temp so she doesn't get cold.

    I haven't seen her open the one eye since she came back inside, and my vet is closed today so I left a message and will hopefully get in ASAP tomorrow (preferably first thing in the morning... fingers crossed).

    Also, after opening the one eye, as soon as she closed it she would rub it on her wings so it's clearly irritated. I'm thinking maybe one of the others scratched her eye and it got infected because of dirty nails? The chickens were making some weird noises last night in their indoor enclosure, but upon checking on them nothing seemed out of the ordinary... they were cuddling per usual, in their usual corner.

    Good news is, she's not puffed up at all.

    I know I need to take her to the vet asap, but i was mostly wondering if there's anything I can give her to help the discomfort and also any tips on keeping her fever down. I feel so bad for my little sweetheart :( I just need her to make it through the night and I can get her taken care of!
     
  2. TheYLWFlock

    TheYLWFlock Songster

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  3. PollyGirl21

    PollyGirl21 Crowing

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    I had a chicken that got dirt into her eye as well, but her eye was all sunken and dull. We saved her eye by flushing it out with a saline solution. Within the next couple of days, she was well again. Not sure if this helps at all, but I just thought I would mention it :)
     
  4. Emily_VVV

    Emily_VVV Chirping

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    Thanks :) She almost definitely has an infection (at least i'm assuming that's why she feels hot), but flushing out any debris in her eye that might have caused it would probably make her feel better.
     
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

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    Can you post some photos of her?
    Photos of her poop?
    What do you mean by getting her back to a normal temperature? Have you taken her temperature-what is it?

    I would not add ice packs to a chicken that is sick.
    If you feel that something is irritating her eye, flush it with saline to see if anything comes out.

    Feel her abdomen for any bloat/swelling or feeling of fluid. How does her crop feel, is it full, hard, soft, squishy, empty, sour, etc.? Any lice/mites?

    How long have you had her? How long has she been outside at your property?

    A sick chicken needs to be kept fairly warm. Inside a house, she probably does not need any addition heat. Ideal inside temp is around 75F.
    Do what you can to get her hydrated. Once she is drinking, then offer some wet feed.

    Hopefully with photos and more information, we can offer better suggestions.
     
  6. Emily_VVV

    Emily_VVV Chirping

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    May 6, 2018
    Palmdale, CA

    I can't get pics right now but I'll describe.

    Her poop is the same as it has always been, mostly brown with a little bit of white in colour, and identical consistency to our healthy chickens.

    I don't have a means to take her temperature, but a.) we handle our chickens very frequently (touching, petting, holding) so I'm basing it off of how she usually feels and b.) I took away the pack when she was still decently warm, but not uncomfortably hot to the touch (my hands were sweating when i was holding her and her feet were on them). But I'll make sure nobody puts the pack in her bin and we keep her warm, even when she gets hot like that. We (boyfriend and roommates) were really worried about her overheating.

    Her crop felt full this morning, according to the bf, but as of right now it's empty (she has eaten little bits throughout the day via hand feeding, but it's not enough to make an impact on how her crop feels). Aside from feeling empty, everything else about it appears to be normal. No mites or lice that we can see.

    No fluid retention, bloat, or swelling that can be seen or felt.

    We've had her for... a little over a month. Feels like it's been a lot longer (maybe 2), but the pictures on my phone from around the time we got them are dated early march.

    She has been outside for a few weeks. She goes out with the other 3 chickens around... 9am or so, and they all come inside at sundown to sleep in their indoor enclosure.

    The wet feed is a great suggestion. I have a lot of experience in syringe feeding a variety of pets; would you recommend that? Or should I try to avoid that if I can?

    Note: There's no discharge around her eyes, nose, or mouth. There's some redness on the featherless skin near her eyes, but none on the lid, and it's faded somewhat throughout the day. I'll try and get pictures up soon.
     
  7. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

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    Chickens can feel "hot" to us. A normal body temperature for a chicken ranges around 105-107F.

    I would try to encourage her to eat/drink on her own if possible, but tube feeding is an option if needed.

    A chicken that is keeping their eyes closed, but has no obvious injury/discharge from the eye is usually sick from something else.

    She is 6mo old and never laid an egg. Reproductive problems comes to mind.

    She is still fairly "new" to her home/ground, so Coccidiosis also comes to mind.

    Sometimes it's a process of elimination of symptoms. Seeing a vet that is well versed in treating poultry is your best option.

    I am going to assume since she won't open her eyes, you might say that she is lethargic. Can she stand on her own? Does she have any problems walking-do her legs support her?

    Some symptoms you may see with a Coccidiosis overload is lethargy, going off feed, loose stools with mucous or blood, loss of balance, huddling/having a puffed up appearance.
    Treatment is with Corid which can be found at most feed stores.
     
    micstrachan and Emily_VVV like this.
  8. Emily_VVV

    Emily_VVV Chirping

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    She was a baby when we got her, just had gotten some real feathers on her wings. We're estimating her at about 3 months old (and that's pushing it a bit).

    Update: She LOVED the wet mash we made out of her feed! Instead of just kinda munching on it she actually got very excited and ate like she normally does. In fact, she got so excited she tried very hard to open her left eye. Great suggestion!

    She's opening her right eye periodically, and just now opened her left eye a smidge-- it looked watery. Not like a discharge per se, but more like if you got dust in your eye kind of teary, nothing oozing out though when she blinks, the eye just looks particularly wet.

    I didn't have saline on-hand and the store is closed right now, but i took some distilled water and flushed both of her eyes as best I could. Nothing came out that I could see, but she blinked quite a bit and actually held BOTH eyes fully open for a short while.

    Her legs support her, and she seems to be okay walking, if not a little unsure due to the closed eyes. When I finished flushing her eyes and she opened them both, she immediately perked up, stood and stretched her neck out to see outside of the sink.
     
    micstrachan likes this.
  9. Emily_VVV

    Emily_VVV Chirping

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    Update: She can definitely stand okay and earlier in the day while I was at work, my roommates saw hop onto the rim of her bin and perch for a good amount of time.
     
  10. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

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    Thank you for clarifying her age.

    I would get some saline and flush the eyes very well. You can put some Terramycin or Vetericyn eye gel in the eyes if they seem to be irritated.

    If she was excited over the food, that's good. Try to keep her hydrated and eating. Hopefully she had some bedding or a scratch to the eye and was just not drinking/eating well and got dehydrated.

    Keep us posted.
     
    micstrachan likes this.

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