Chicken Won’t Open Eyes: 10 Question Answered

Robert Blaylock

Updated on:

Chicken with closed eye

Why does my chicken close its eyes, how can I open my chicken’s eyes? How long does it take for chickens to open their eyes? Here are a few questions commonly asked by poultry farmers and chicken owners who can’t help but worry over their chicken’s closed eyes.

Interestingly, we shall be answering the questions above via this post. So, pay attention as we hit the ground running.


Why My Chicken Won’t Open Eyes?

Chickens won’t open their eyes if they feel some discomfort in the eyes region due to some health challenges and other factors we will unveil later in the post.

When it comes to your chicken not opening it eye the culprit could be either bacteria, warm in the eyes, pus buildup, wound or rather dirt abrasions. If nothing is done at this point or if treatment is not quickly administered the situation will continue to get worse by the day.

When the situation is caused by bacteria infection ; with the right and perfect eye drop for this type of problem, you will quickly put your chicken right back on track. You can just walk down the pharmacy and get an eye drop which are for conjunctivitis

Some reasons why your chicken won’t open eyes

There are could be several reasons why your chicken won’t open its eyes. Whenever your chicken couldn’t open it’s eyes are Some possible reasons :

  • Your chicken might have Injury or trauma: you should check for injury on the eye or head because an injury on the head or around the eyes suffered by your chicken could make it difficult for your to open it eyes.
  • Infection: the possible reason your chicken can’t open it’s eyes might be because of an infection. So you should check for an infection around the eye area ; is there any swellings or any inflammation? All this could be the culprit.
  • Parasites: do you know that Parasites can causes irritation and inflammation most especially around the eyes of your chicken? Parasites such as mites and lice are capable of inflicting harm to your chicken eyes and When this happens your chicken will find it difficult to open it eyes.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: another important aspect you have to look into is the diet or the feed nutritional content, you have to check if the regular feeds actually contain vitamin A because lack of vitamin A, can actually lead to eye problems.
  • Disease: there are several diseases out there that can infect your chicken and get them temporarily blind except they are treated quickly with the right drugs. Some of this diseases you should watch out for are Marek’s disease or avian influenza.

Note: this are just a few of issues that can make your chicken close its eyes. We advise you to also read along as we have listed some known bacterias that you should watch out for.

It is important to be in close contact with your veterinarian or a poultry specialist as they are well grounded when it comes to handling this issue

Can I use eye drops on my chicken?

Eye drop meant for human should not be use on your chicken because they are not designed for chickens as they can be toxic. It is recommended you speak first to your veterinary doctor for best treatment plan after the root cause of the problem has been diagnosed.

Although there are special ointment that are used to treat eye infection that is caused by broad spectrum disease in chicken, one of this ointment is Terramycin Ophthalmic Ointment.

Procedure for applying eyes drop on your chicken eyes

You have to apply this to the eye of your chicken at least 2 times per days in four days to get the best results or rather follow the prescription Written at the back of the pack.

Note : Before you apply the eye drop you have to make use of a clean soft tissue paper to clean residue off the chicken eye ; please do not use same tissue paper to clean both eyes,

with this you will be sure that you are not contaminating one eye that is badly infected with another.
Also do not use soap or disinfectants to wash the eyes.

You have to separate the infected birds from the healthy ones through out the course of this treatment so that the infection don’t pass through to other healthy birds.

If you suspect that there is warm in the eyes of your chicken that made the chicken not to be able to open it’s eyes then you have to remove the warm. Just watch this video below to see how to get this done. On the other hand if it is pus you will have to squeeze it out as well.

Why your chicken won’t open it eyes :

Your chicken wont be able to open it eye due to several problems which we are going to list below:

  • Coryza
  • Dust
  • Fight with other chicken
  • Poor management
  • Light intensity
  • Parasites
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Fungus
  • Bacteria
  • Marek’s

Understanding Coryza:

Coryza has been a global problem or catastrophy and also huge challenge to farmers across the globe and its not that easy to combat but if you want to get this problem solved or removed from your farm then you should practice good management in your farm.

If you suspect that any of your bird has been infected, its best you quickly isolate it from the rest to prevent other from being infected.

What is the best antibiotic for coryza?

Erythromycin and oxytetracycline should be your first line of defence to get this problem to a tolerable level. There are other drugs such as fluoroquinolones, macrolides that are used by expert to fight this infectious disease

What is Mycoplasma in poultry

Mycoplasma has always been problem to farmers and if left untreated it could cause considerable damage to livestock. Remember that this disease is very infectious and it will be worse if there are other pathogens like infectious bronchitis or E. coli already on ground or your chicken has nutritional deficiency or even there is increase in the level of dust in the environment. All this could compound this problem.

Signs that your chicken has Mycoplasma :

  • foamy eyes,
  • nasal discharge,
  • sneezing,
  • gasping in chickens,
  • swollen eyelids and sinuses,
  • reduced egg production and
  • turkeys and pheasants,
  • swollen sinuses in waterfowl.


To treat this disease you need a licensed antibiotics such as Tylan Soluble which is considered to be amongst the best treatment you could ever think of most especially when your chicken is young . But the problem with this antibiotics is that it has been noticed to be less effective in older chicken unless treatment is administered at the early stage of this disease.

List of causes Why Won’t Chicken Open Her Eye?

Many factors are responsible for your chicken’s closed eyes; they include bacterial infections, Respiratory infections, Nutritional deficiencies Nervous system disorders Developmental disorders, Genetic problems, etc.

Cataracts, yellow plaques beneath the eye lids, conjunctivitis dull eyes expression, cancerous tumors, and runny discharges can affect your chicken’s eyes and overall well-being if not treated early.

Viral diseases like Avian Pox also have all it takes to prevent your chicken from opening its eyes. It is a communicable disease that can spread from one chicken to another if not properly and timely cured.

Blistery lesions remain a significant cause of sight impairment in chickens which will eventually prevent them from seeing well. Severe cases often lead to death if the chicken lacks proper and urgent attention.

Marek’s Disease is a viral infection capable of causing blindness as it affects the Iris. This type of disease encourages tumors growth in the iris, leading to pain and eye closeness.

Injuries, pathogens, and debris are also causative factors you should consider if your chicken can’t open its eyes.

Another reason why your chicken doesn’t open its eyes could be that other chickens have jabbed it in the eyes when fighting. Though it rarely occurs, it’s possible your chicken was overpowered by a gang of ‘deadly’ chickens.

How Long Does It Take For A Chick To Open Its Eyes?

When your chicken eye is closed due to bacteria infection with the perfect eyes drop your chicken eyes should be open with few days i.e from 4th day from when you first administered the treatment.

On the other hand :

A chick should open its eyes a few minutes after hatching itself from the shell. However, she will be wet and unable to move around until after an hour.

The chick should be up and running after three hours. She will be active and smart, examining the new environment.

Chicken with closed eye

What Causes A Chicken’s Eye To Swell Shut?

It is believed that over 180 diseases can affect chickens exposed to all kinds of weather conditions and unhealthy habitats.

This is to tell you that numerous factors or diseases can lead to chicken’s swollen eyes, including Infectious Coryza.

Caused and transmitted by dirty litter and overcrowding, Infectious Coryza is a transmittable disease that easily passes from old to young chickens.

It affects the respiratory tracts, thereby causing swollen eyes, sneezing, raspy throat, and loss of appetite. It also forces the infected chicken to remain in a hunched position.

Apart from swollen eyes, the infectious Coryza also forces your chicken to close its eyes until it’s cured. This means your chicken won’t see anything if it is infected with a deadly infection.

Mycoplasma is another disease capable of causing a chicken eye to swell shut. There are 17 species of mycoplasma infection and each has its respective effects on chickens.

Mycoplasma gallisepticum causes sinuses, foamy eyes, nasal discharge, and swollen eyelids. It equally reduces egg production in chickens and turkeys.

Mycoplasma synoviae causes swollen and painful joints, deformed eggshells, and a poor functional respiratory system.

What Disease Causes Chicken’s Eyes To Close?

The diseases responsible for closed chicken eyes include Marek’s disease and viral diseases like Avian Pox.

How Do You Treat An Eye Infection In Chickens?

The first way to treat an eye infection in chickens includes isolating the infected ones to prevent others from contaminating the same infection.

Cleaning the eyes with saline solution; washing discharge with a damp cloth, or applying a quality tested-and-trusted antibiotic to the affected eyes are other ways to treat eye infections in chicken.

You should contact a veterinarian for advice on the healing options suitable for your chicken. Meanwhile, practicing strict biosecurity and ensuring clean and dust-free poultry facilities will prevent Marek’s disease and other infections.

Chicken With Swollen Head And Eyes Treatment

Swollen Head Syndrome (SHS) is a deadly and complicated infection caused by avian pneumovirus (APV) and E. coli.

Its early symptoms include sneezing, coughing, and conjunctivitis before leading to a swollen face, profuse tear secretion, and reddened conjunctivas.

Though there is no specific swollen head syndrome solution, antibiotic therapy will play a significant role in tackling the infection’s bacterial component.

In short, antibiotic therapy is the best treatment for chickens with swollen heads and eyes treatment.

Can Humans Get Coryza From Chickens?

Before answering the question, you must know that some chickens are asymptomatic Coryza’s carrier. They are infected but won’t show any clinical signs; which means you have a higher chance of eating infected chicken.

However, the good thing is that Humans can’t get Coryza from chickens because the infection doesn’t possess any zootomic threat to human lives.

You can’t get infectious Coryza if you eat infected chickens or touch them. Nonetheless, it does not mean you should eat weak or unhealthy chickens

How Do You Stop Coryza In Chickens?

Diagnosing Coryza in chickens includes isolating suspected ones from other chickens. Then, deploy Polymerase chain reaction testing to confirm if the isolated chicken is infected or not.

You can prevent Coryza infection using stock coryza-free birds. Culling will control the disease while Bacterin will reduce its severity.

Vaccinating chicks with erythromycin, dihydrostreptomycin, streptomycin, sulfonamides, tylosin, or fluoroquinolones antibiotics are also good options.

Why are my chickens eyes watering?

This issue of your chicken eyes getting watery wont be unconnected from an infection caused by Mycoplasma gallisepticum which symptoms has to do with foamy eyes, nasal discharge and most often sneezing. When this disease strike there is every likelihood that your chicken wont feed very well and this will result in weight lose.

Can you cure Mycoplasma in chickens?

Mycoplasma is an infectious disease that has no cure, its best when you noticed it you quickly isolate the chickens that have been infected while placing them with antibiotics to allow them recover fast.
When a chicken get infected they might die after some time or might survive it while they leave with it for the rest of their life.

You might as “How do i treat Mycoplasma in my chickens naturally?” they say prevention is the best way to go in every situation, Well its best you start from the beginning when they are not yet infected by trying out Live attenuated vaccines another way to go which we recommend is to make sure that your chicken feeds contains natural antibacterial and antiviral herbs this will go a long way to prevent an outbreak.

Some of the natural antiviral herbs include oregano, echinacea
astragalus,lemon balm, thyme and garlic.

Other well known antibiotics that has proven to work tetracyclines, erythromycin and tylosin will help when there is an outbreak

How Do I Know If My Chicken Is Dying?

Though some chickens die very fast and unexpectedly, many show signs and symptoms to tell their owners something is wrong. They act strangely before giving up the ghost. Below are some of the attitudes to expect from your dying chicken.

  • They isolate themselves from the rest. You will always see them at the corner of the poultry in a weak and lethargic manner.
  • Dying hens possess soiled vents while some chickens will lose interest in food and water.
  • They will become very light in weight, especially if the sickness has been long.
  • They will lose their instinct and the urgency to run out of red/emergency zones.
  • They will close their eyes while tucking their head tightly underwings.
  • They pass out yellow watery poop.
  • Their comb will change to either blue or grey which signifies a blood flow, lung, or heart problem.
  • Their face will look pale.


Prevention is better than cure; don’t wait for infection to invade your poultry farm before caring for your chickens and hens.

Ensure a clean and healthy environment; clean poultry facilities. Feed them regularly; pay close attention to them to discover any slight change in their behavior and liveliness; sanitize the feeding and drinking plates daily, and provide vaccinate them when necessary.

Don’t hesitate to call a qualified veterinarian to check your chickens as soon as you discover an unusual occurrence on the farm. Doing these won’t only improve your chicken’s health, but will equally enhance their productivity.