by Ashley Macy
(Lovettsville, VA)

I have a blind chicken. She has white stuff covering her left eye and her right looks swollen. What should I do? Is there any medication for her?!??


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by: Sharon

It's very important to treat eye infections as soon as they are noticed. Infections left too long can cause temporary blindness, or lead to eye damage, and vision loss. Dried discharge from the eyes can glue eyes shut, which makes it very hard for a chicken to function.

Discharge from eyes can carry infectious bacteria, so try to use gloves & wash well when handling chickens like this. Isolating a chicken with an eye infection is a good idea.

Gently washing the eye area is important. An eyewash is good or warm water on a soft cloth or disposable paper towel. Moistening dried matter first is the best way to begin cleaning. A gently spray of water or eyewash left to sit a few minutes will help. It's good to have a bottle of eyewash handy when keeping chickens.

Once the eye and eye area are clean, inspect the lids and eyeballs for any damage or foreign particles. Flush as needed with plain water or eyewash.

Antibiotic eye ointments are often available at feed stores. If you can't get that right away, a triple antibiotic ointment meant for cuts will work. The petroleum in the ointment can help keep eyes from sealing shut as well as killing bacteria, if applied a few times a day in the eyes and around the eye. If only one eye is affected, treat both to prevent the infection from spreading.

It may be impossible to determine the cause of the eye infection. It could be a sign of another illness, or eye damage. Determining the cause is less important than treating symptoms and keeping the eyes clear so the chicken can eat, drink & heal.

A generally healthy chicken should get over this quickly with a little help. Watch for similar symptoms in other chickens in this flock and treat as needed.

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