If you haven’t seen Disney’s “Moana”, I truly recommend it. It’s a fun story about courage and self discovery. Plus Moana, the main character, has an amazing side-kick named “Hei Hei.” Hei Hei means “chicken” in the Mauri language – which, if you’re a fan, you probably already know. The movie portrays him as an idiot – basically; a supposed symbol of the islanders. I don’t know if I buy that, but he is portrayed as doing some really stupid chicken stuff. I’m here to tell you that I have seen most of his silliness play out here on the farm. Currently, we have one chicken that actually has a Hei Hei eye. We’ve been calling her Pirate Chicken.
I don’t really want to post a photo of her because it’s rather disturbing to see. We think she must have been stung by either a scorpion or a centipede. One of her eyes is bulged out on the side, just like this image of Hei Hei. Her eye though is rather clouded over. We isolated her because when chickens see a weakness like that – they’ll peck until it’s dead. They’re just brutal like that. So, to give her some peace and space to get well (hopefully) we put her in the top brooder. She was definitely in some pain the first days. She wasn’t eating, then we thought she had gone blind because she was running into the walls of the brooder.
Eventually she began to perk up quite a bit and started eating and drinking. The she started popping her head up over the little wind shield barrier Sue has up whenever she heard us coming into the coop. She figured out that she would get food or treats whenever we came in. This morning I gave her a spoonful of greens, grains, larva – the breakfast of champions – and decided to talk to her while she ate. What I saw was understandable, but also sad, and a little funny. She was excited to see the greens and after I closed the door, she came over to peck at them. She hasn’t really got the hang of her new sight issues, so she kept pecking just to the right of the pile of greens.
Chickens have monovision – their left eye is far sighted and their right eye is near sighted. This happens during development while still in the egg. Pirate Chicken has lost her near sightedness, so, right now, she can’t easily focus on her food. They are used to using both eyes, for different tasks, simultaneously. They can use their right eye to follow food, while also keeping their left eye open to track predators. I’m pretty sure that, if she doesn’t regain her near sightedness, her left eye will eventually compensate for the loss. We’ll keep her separated until we see that she’s able to eat, navigate, and thrive with one eye. Hopefully the swelling will go down as well and she won’t be picked on too badly. (this illustration borrowed from: https://citygirlfarming.com/2016/06/14/what-do-your-chickens-see/)
When Pirate Chicken (maybe we can come up with a shorter name – “One Eye”?) is healed just a little more and her eye doesn’t look so gross, I’ll share a photo. We’ll also update you on her progress as we go along. Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!