Since one of the hens had red mite, she has had a lump/scab on her left eye. The vet prescriber eye cream to reduce itching and inflammation and this worked almost immediately. I applied it for 5 days and the eye seemed to be on the mend. However, now a week later the eye seemed to be getting worse and so I started applying the cream again. Searches on Internet didn’t come up with any results so I submitted a question to an online vet and here is his reply:
” I suspect that she may have scratched or rubbed her eyelid in an effort to scratch the irritated area produced by the mites. Mites alone will not cause lumps in eyelids.
Birds often try to scratch itching eyes with their claws and often damage to the eye and surrounding tissue is the result. The lid will most likely have to heal on its own, and scar tissue build-up in the lid may produce a permanent bump in the lid. I would recommend stopping with the ointment since whatever good it is going to do has already been done, and the ointment itself can be irritating to birds, causing them to scratch at the ointment itself, and possibly causing even greater damage to the eye and surrounding tissues. See how she does over the next few days, stopping the ointment may allow the lid to heal faster as she may not bother it as much. If the problem should continue, any veterinarian, even one who mostly treats dogs and cats can probably help your hen, since eyes don’t vary much between species, and the treatments are very similar.”
So, it looks as though I’ll just have to keep an eye on her. This photo was taken on 6th January 2011. According to the online vet, the reason why the eye got better and then worse could be that she had developed an allergy to one of the ingredients in the cream which was why he recommended stopping to see if it got better by itself. Fingers crossed.
On Monday 20th December 2011, I noticed that one of the chickens’ eyes was weeping with a bubbly fluid. I thought that perhaps she had just got something in it so bathed it with a chamomile and saline solution. However, by the next day it had got a lot worse and the eye had totally gummed up. I tried bathing it again and added a couple of drops of eye allergy drops to the liquid to calm the itching and it did seem to be slightly better – even to the point of opening.
The next day, the had shut again and looking at it more closely I could see some very small whitish/yellowish things which looked like mites near the eye. After a couple of phone calls, I found a shop with veterinary products. When I arrived, the owner wasn’t there and his wife and son had been left in charge of the shop. The phone was passed from one to the other and eventually they hit on the product for the job – a product called Arpón although the man on the other end of the phone couldn’t understand why I would want to spend more than the cost of a new chicken. The explanation “She’s a foreigner” seemed to work. 5ml of the product is diluted in 1 litre of water and this is then sprayed on all the surfaces of the chicken coop and directly on the chicken. As I didn’t want any of the others to catch them, I sprayed each chicken thoroughly including the infected eye.
Speaking to the vet the next day, she diagnosed the problem as dermanyssus gallinae (ácaros rojos or red mite) and recommended applying an eye cream called OFTALMOLOSA CUSÍ (prednisona-neomicina) twice a day. A couple of hours after the first application, the chicken was able to open its eye again and I continued to apply it for the next 4 days. It is now nine days after the first problem and the eye looks a lot better although it will remain to be seen whether she makes a full recovery.
Red mite feed on chickens at night while they rest and turn red as they become engorged on blood. During the day they hide in cracks in wood where they reproduce and lay eggs.
This is also known as “prolapsed vent” or “blowout”.
Although we had three chickens, we would only ever get two eggs. Originally, one of the chickens was missing quite a few of her tail feathers and possibly this should have been a sign that something was not quite right.
There were two ways of looking at the problem: either only two were laying or they were taking it in turns and laying two eggs between the three of them.
There were only two days when we got a full house of three eggs and on another time the egg was smeared with blood. About a week later, I noticed that one of the chickens looked as though she had been turned inside out and a blood-red sac was hanging from her. We contacted littlehenrescue who have an excellent hotline manned by experts offering help and advice. Unfortunately, our prolapse was further complicated by the fact that it contained an egg. They recommended taking the chicken to a vet so that a muscle relaxant could be administered but I forgot to say that I lived in Spain. Luckily, Jess the New Zealand workawayer was with us at the time who had worked with chickens before and had more experience of what to do although she had never had to deal with such a situation before.Again, Internet proved a godsend and we found a video of how to treat the prolapse. Jess removed the egg which came out surprisingly intact. We tried holding the chicken in a bucket of warm, salted water to relax her muscles but that didn’t work so Jess went ahead and removed the egg manually before smearing the prolapse with honey and haemorrhoid cream and holding it back inside for about 5-10 minutes before applying a type of nappy. For a demonstration of the nappy technique, see littlehenrescue.
We put the nappy on and left her in a covered cage until the next day. Two days later she died.