Tuesday 26 March 2013

Bubbly Eyes in Chickens

Bubbly Eyes in Chickens

Don't ignore frothy, bubbly eyes in chickens.  Bubbly eyes are something I had only seen in one of my hens and it was for 48 hours in my biggest, porkiest and most sturdy hen, Jewel.  She woke up last Winter with a bubbly, swollen eye.  Panic, drama, Vet visit, medication.  Next morning - back to normal.  

In January I had three hens in five days with bubbly, swollen eyes.  This was due to Fowl Pox and ILT virus.  Angie had swollen, gooey eyes for days and I firmly believe that gentle cleaning really helped to get her eyesight back in order.  

Cleaning Bubbly Eyes

You'll need three things;  
1. Make up remover pads - the snazzy, more expensive type that don't fall apart and leave fibres and fluff behind. 80 pads cost about $3.50.  
2. Bottle of saline solution for eyes.  I got this at the chemist for $5 for a big bottle.  
3. Bottle of fake tears.  The kind you can get from the chemist for people with really dry, irritated eyes.  I got a bottle for $7 that should last for days and days.  

You'll need to keep the hen still.  I find it easiest to wrap the girls in an old, clean towel so that just her head is poking out, whilst at the same time allowing her to maintain a standing position.  

Take a fresh, clean make up pad and squirt on enough saline solution so that it is quite damp, almost dripping and therefore soft, gentle and squishy on the hen's eyeball.  Gently, calming and slowly, wipe any dirt or infected build up away from the hen's eyes and off and away from her face altogether.  Do not press firmly on the eye at any point. 

Throw out the make up pad once used.  Only wipe the eye with the clean and fresh area of the make up pad - do not continue to wipe over the eye once the pad is soiled or dirtied.  Be prepared to use 3 or 4 pads for each clean.  Once the eye is clean, place 1 or 2 drops of the fake tears solution in the eye.  I did this 2 to 3 times a days for each hen.  Each clean should take about 5 minutes to complete - gets easier and quicker as you practice more.  

You'll know that the eyes need another clean when the eye is either stuck closed from a build up of infectious material or wet, matted and clearly preventing the hen from being able to see from that particular eye.

Most of all - take your hen to your bird knowledgeable Vet for a professional diagnosis.  She may need anti biotics, anti inflammatories or other medications.  Your hen's health and comfort is completely in the hands of her owner - do unto your hen as any normal and responsible person would do to their dog or cat please. 

Hen's have hissy fits too

I had a funny moment cleaning Alice's eyes in this bout of illness.  I had the bottle of fake tears, ready to add a couple of drops to Alice's eyes after yet another cleaning and she lashed out and grabbed the bottle by the nozzle, pulled it away from me and hissed like a snake.  She clearly hated the process however her eyes went from wonky, shedding, frothing and blinded to clear and bright and beautiful after about 5 days of 2 to 3 times daily of careful cleaning.  

Baby Alice - at the end of her fowl pox and eyes in tact

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