...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


one-eyed Willa

A little while ago, I noticed that Willa had one of her eyes closed.
This sometimes happens in the chicken world, if someone gets pecked near their eye,
it just needs some rest to heal up.  

We've had hens keep an eye closed for a day or two, and then back to normal.

Willa's eye wasn't getting any better.
So, Bootsy decided it was time for another chicken rehab.
Into the house Willa went for her rehab adventure.

We never know what chicken rehab is going to look like.
We've gone from a steamy shower stall for Dommy's weak lungs
to a clear plastic tote bin for Brahmie on the kitchen counter so she can listen to NPR,
to the little rabbit hutch for Specky and her cough,
to now, Willa wandering around the family room.

Yes, we know, we have definitely passed over into the 
Crazy Chicken Lady territory.

Willa was really checking out the couch, 
which must have felt interesting under her feet.

The whole time she was exploring I was thinking about poo: 
(oh no, what if she poos on this or that...
oh and ugh!)

But Willa was actually quite a polite house guest,
are rarely made any messes on her explorations through the house.

Bootsy ordered (yes, they actually make them!) chicken diapers
for any future home-based rehabs we might need to implement.
But they didn't come in time for Willa.
Willa stayed in the house for about 3 days.

 She was very, very quiet.
And very curious.

 We kept applying calendula washes and other things to her eye to try to help.
She didn't like them one bit, of course, 
and then spent lots of time trying to preen her neck,
where the washes would inevitably dribble,
even though I held a towel around her very carefully.

 When she was a baby chick, Willa was the obvious weakling.
Slower to mature, and there was a time we thought she might not make it.
Her legs were weaker and she couldn't keep up, but she tried!
Now that she's full grown, Willa has established herself in the flock
and she's just a little bit sassy. 
Not so sassy that it gets her in trouble, like it did for Dommy,
but just sassy enough to make her way as happily as she can in the world.
 We were hopeful that her eye would heal, but it hasn't.
She kept it closed for so long.
We kept researching what could be wrong...
(FYI, there's a thing called eye worms that I encourage you NOT to look at images of.)
 Thank goodness Willa did not have those!

We called our wonderful vet, who, upon checking,
thought her eyeball might have been gone.   
And gross. 
But the verdict was still out.

 Willa adapted very quickly to only using her one good eye.

 She has to turn her head around a whole lot more,
so that she can take the scope of her surroundings,
but she does it like a champ.

When she went back out to the coop, she kept her eye closed and just got on with life.  
We tried antibiotic ointment, and in about a week's time, 
she started keeping her eye open a little bit more, 
but what was in there didn't look very good.

Now the swelling has gone down, and she's keeping it open most of the time 
except for when she's tired, she's more likely to close her bad eye.

Her eyeball is still there, and it doesn't look that bad anymore, 
but it doesn't look like it can see much of anything either. 

 Like we told our dog who had to have a leg amputated --
the other one was a spare, but now he has to be very careful with his remaining legs,
just like she has to be very careful with her remaining eye.
There are no more spare parts...!


Within the first hour of returning to the coop,
she immediately had a stand-off  and instigated a fight with Ernesta.

My theory is maybe Ernesta is the one who pecked her in the eye in the first place,
and it was a retaliation.  

Bootsy thinks chickens don't think that much about revenge.
She's probably right. 

At any rate, Willa established rank over Ernesta.

Little Ms. Sassypants is strutting her one-eyed stuff,
foraging like a fiend 
and smartly, sticking close to Emmaline (our accidental rooster) for extra protection.

Update:  Yesterday, Willa and Brahmie (our 5-year-old hen with partial paralysis) 
had a serious stand-off, and I mean the longest stare-down stand-off 
that I have ever seen out there in the coop.

It was one of those moments suspended in time, 
where they were both staring each other down
 (Willa with her one eye, head cocked, of course).
Brahmie ultimately broke the long moment of staring silence 
with one ferocious peck, 
and just like that, it was over, all sorted out.

Willa might top Ernesta, but Brahmie tops Willa.
Oh, these crazy chickens.  

I'm glad our Special Needs girls don't let their disabilities keep their spirits down!