About a month ago we adopted a blue ameraucana that had been dropped off at a localfeed store. I could see she wasn't in the best shape, but I didn't observe her for long because we'd stopped in right at closing time. Feeling confident/cocky in my chicken rehabbing abilities, and tempted by what I knew could be a beautiful bird, I took a chance with her. After getting her home, I realized she was in a lot worse condition than I'd realized. She was weak, lethargic, and had a bare spot on her back that I thought might have been from bullying. I assumed she'd been kept away from food and water. She could barely stand up, would let her wings hang down, and her head constantly drifted. I wasn't sure she'd last the night.
After observing her for a while, I realized that she may have been an Easter gift to someone who had no idea how to care for a chicken. I mean, they'd clipped all her feathers on both wings!! Once I realized she was eating her own feathers and going after her own preening gland —hence the bare spot— I got her on some good feed and started addressing her nutritional deficiencies. She's made most of a great recovery. She's grown her feathers back in and is looking much more like a hen should. She did have poultry lice, which I've been talking care of with DE baths. I'm not sure they are all gone, but we'll soon be there if not already. She's eating and drinking, put's herself on a low roost, and walks very short distances. So physically, she's doing quite well...but, she's still not acting quite like a hen should. She does move around her quarantine area (about 13.5' x 13.5), but she stays in one spot for long periods of time. She doesn't do much scratching. Lately, I've been finding her in the corner where the gate is, but when I open it for her, she shows no interest in coming out. In fact, she shows little interest in much at all.
Tonight, my mother-in-law wondered aloud if the hen might be blind. I admit the thought hadn't crossed my mind. She finds her food and water. She finds the roosting bar, though as many times I've found her on the ground at night. I could see a blind bird chancing to bump into a roosting bar and hopping up on it, and bumping into the fence until she gets stuck in a corner. But if she were blind, I would think I'd find her stuck in the other 3 corners of the pen; not just the one with the gate.
Have any of you dealt with a blind bird? What would you do to test the idea that she may be blind? I'm not sure yet that she is. But, I know I've got her nutrition straightened out pretty well, and I think I've got most of her parasite load down, if not gone. Any other ideas about why she's not acting quite right? I was going to start introducing her into my very small flock— once I know the lice are gone— hoping they might help show her how to act like a chicken.