Swollen Eyelid or Eye & Thin

Our laying hen Edwina seems to have an eye issue. When out and about in the yard, her lid will be partially closed over her one eye, most/all of the time. The lid appears 'thickened' or more prominent. If we pick her up, she closes this affected eye. She appears light in weight :(.

Can you tell us what might be wrong and what we can do to help her?

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Swollen Eyelid or Eye & Thin

Sorry to hear about Edwina's problems.

Body parts usually swell due to some kind of injury. Sometimes there's a foreign object in the area. I would examine the underside of the lid for a seed or speck of sand or a wound.

It's good to keep a squeeze bottle of sterile eyewash in your Chicken First Aid Kit. You don't want to go poking around in the eye to remove a particle unless absolutely necessary. Sometimes a good squirt will dislodge a particle. If you don't have eye wash water will do.

Not knowing how long the lid has seemed swollen, I might also guess that another chicken has pecked her eye for some reason. Edwina being underweight is a clue that maybe she is being bullied (if you have other chickens). Chickens can be brutal to any in the flock that aren't acting just right. A sick or weak chicken in the flock can attract predators, so the flock will bully the weak to drive them away. In an enclosed area a weak chicken has nowhere to go, so might lose weight if others don't let her eat.

This swelling could be the result of a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes usually feed at night and a sleeping chicken is the perfect target. Combs and eyelids have few or no feathers, so those are the most likely spots a chicken would get bit.

I'm concerned that Edwina is underweight. This tells me something more serious than the eye problem is going on. The first step is to make sure she has access to food. You might think she does, but if she is being bullied and kept from food, she doesn't. Sometimes rodents or other animals will get into food supplies and eat enough to deprive chickens.

Isolating a "sick" chicken from the flock protects that chicken and the flock from the possible spread of disease. An injured or weak chicken should also be isolated to allow them to rest, eat and drink peacefully. I have no idea if Edwina is actually sick, but something like not being able to see well, is a weakness.

By isolating Edwina from the flock (if there are others)and giving her constant access to food and water, you will soon find out if she is ill, and if she can gain weight, or if she has been bullied. If she is unable to gain weight, or has a poor appetite, then something more serious is going on. Could be so many different things.

How long has the eye been a problem? What do you feed her? Do you keep her with other chickens or animals? How long has she been underweight? How old is Edwina? Have you examined her eye ball and eye lid for any foreign object or wound? Is there any discharge from the eye? Is she laying? Is she acting unusual in any other way? Does she have abnormal droppings?

Starchy treats like bread, and sugary treats like a little fresh fruit daily, might help her gain some weight, along with all the chicken feed she wants to eat. Raw Apple cider vinegar in her water can help with digestion and detoxing. A bit of live culture yogurt can also help with digestion and good absorption of nutrients from the foods she eats. Vitamins can help too.

Often ruling out what the problem isn't, is the best way to find out what is wrong.

Hope Edwina feels better soon.

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