Blind Chicken

by Marsha
(LaPine, Oregon)

Question

We have a 1 year old blind chicken that is developing seizures. The other five of the flock are healthy.

Is there reason to avoid eating her eggs? Is there danger of transmission? The others are perfectly healthy and will chase her and peck at her so we keep her in a separate pen during the day but in the coop at night.

Her eyes look normal and she looks normal other than being slow due to her blindness. She has an occasional seizure which lasts less than 30 seconds.

These are called Britt Reds similar to Rhode Islands. The blind one is nearly white with red edges on feathers. The others are all red. This is our first flock we have raised for egg laying.

We also have three pet Bantam roosters housed separately. We think she has always been blind but may have had some sight when she was younger.

She seems to navigate well which is why we are not certain if she is completely blind. The seizures are just noticed within the last week.

Might you recognize symptoms such as these?
I appreciate any help

Answer
I don’t know of a specific disease that might have caused this blindness and seizures, but it’s possible the two problems are related.

Just as with humans, blindness and seizure disorder can have many causes in chickens. Some are born with conditions, some develop these early or late in life.

Injury, deficiencies, toxins, illness, and/or genetic codes could be to blame.

You would really need a medical professional, familiar with poultry, to give you an accurate diagnosis.

It sounds like this hen is healthy in all other aspects, but to set your mind at ease about eating her eggs and why this is happening, a trip to a veterinarian would be in order.

Your other chickens recognize that something is wrong with her. It’s their nature to challenge the weak in a flock.

It may seem cruel behavior, but it’s for the survival of the flock and their way of telling you and her they don’t want her around.

Her disabilities are a potential invitation to predators and the flock may increase in aggressiveness towards her.

If she gets a clean bill of health, you might pair her up with the gentlest of your bachelor bantams and let her live out her life with a companion.

Roosters are good at calling hens to food, and if he accepts her as his mate, he will probably treat her well.

Often the kindest thing for a disabled chicken is humane euthanasia, but when they are pets, that can be a real hard decision to make.

You may want to supplement her diet with a conditioning feed and vitamin and mineral supplements.

I would be concerned that her blindness might make it hard for her to get adequate nutrition. Some vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause blindness and seizure disorder.

Her being a drastically different color than the others might be a sign these problems were genetically inherited, if they all have the same parents. I hope this helps.

Return to Raising Chickens Home Page

Comments for Blind Chicken

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Sudden blindness
by: Joe

I've been snooping around these pages trying to find a symptom close to the one encountered by one of my 3 month old Barred Rocks.
I raised 8 chickens from Easter time, 2 Barred Rocks, 2 RIR's and 4 Auracaunas mixed with my 2 yr old Sexlinks, Americauna, and Silver laced.
They shared the same coop at night but flock seperately, free range during the day.
Suddenly last week I noticed one of the Barred Rocks was not traveling with the rest. 5 days ago I brought her out to seperate and noticed she had been pecked on the back of her head but no apparent damage to the eyes. It only took me one day to realize she was blind. I still have her in my basement making sure she is still eating and drinking. she also seems to be losing feathers freely(more than normal)
I was wondering if there may be a reason or a chance she may regain enough sight to function with her flock.
I still have her on grower/finisher

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Chicken Eye Questions.

Custom Search