How to Treat Chickens With an Eye Infection

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Items you will need

  • Soft cloth

  • Avian antibiotic such as Erythromycin, Terramycin or Baytril

  • Graduated plastic syringe

  • Towel

Tip

  • Many antibiotics are prescription-only. Talk to your vet before medicating your birds. Always use the full course of medication--discontinuing antibiotics early can lead to medication-resistant bacteria.

Tip

  • Keep your chicken coop clean to reduce the chances of an infection spreading. Store medication according to package instructions to prevent spoilage. Provide the same level of care for your chickens as you would for a dog or cat. Avoid administering antibiotics in the water--sick birds often drink less.

According to the University of Florida, chickens rarely get eye problems. When your chickens do suffer from an eye infection, though, their ability to get through their day to day lives is seriously impaired. Birds rely on their sight to find food and water, compete for social position and find nesting sites. Some types of chicken eye infection can progress to become very serious.

Examine the affected chicken. What appears to be an eye infection could actually be an injury from another chicken, or a side effect of other conditions, like a respiratory infection. Look for additional signs of illness or injury. You may need to take the chicken to the vet.

Clean the affected area. If the eye is leaking discharge or has become soiled, use a soft, damp cloth to clean the area around it. Be gentle--the eyes are very delicate. Do not use soap or disinfectants, which can cause pain and eye damage.

Prepare a dose of medication. Fill a plastic syringe (without a needle) with an avian antibiotic according to the package instructions, or the instructions given to you by your vet. Take care not to overdose--some medications can cause toxic reactions in high dosages. Push the plunger down a little, so that the medication is right at the tip of the syringe, ready to be administered.

Choose a quiet, familiar place. Sit with the chicken for a few minutes before administering the medication. Wrap the chicken in a towel or restrain it under your arm. Hold its head in one hand.

Place the syringe at the left side of the chicken's beak, pointing toward the throat. Your bird may automatically open its mouth, or it may need to be forced. Put the tip of the syringe into the mouth and press the plunger in one smooth motion, to administer the antibiotic. Clean your chicken's face if necessary and repeat dosing according to your vet or medication's instructions. Monitor the chicken to make sure the infection clears up.

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Author

G.D. Palmer is a freelance writer and illustrator living in Milwaukee, Wis. She has been producing print and Web content for various organizations since 1998 and has been freelancing full-time since 2007. Palmer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and studio art from Beloit College in Beloit, Wis.