This is my little Sebright/Polish/Sicilian Buttercup cross Clementina, she has a problem with swelling around both eyes and also an inflammation of the third eyelid. In the case of any eye problems and I've had a few over the year, particularly with Sebrights, I have followed a combination of foodstuffs and homeopathic and herbal medicines which have proved a most effective combination.
Here she is again after a few of days of treatment.
As you can see her whole demeanor has changed. Apart from the swelling around the eyes, which had almost completely gone after the first 48 hours of treatment, her comb, always a good indication of health, had also returned to normal. She still has inflammation, particularly of the left eyelid, but I am now going on to treat this with compresses.
Assessment and observation
As with all health problems with my flock, the first thing I do is to have a look at the bird as a whole and see what is going on in her surroundings. I must say with Clementina because she is such a vivacious creature, it took me a fair few days before I noticed anything was wrong. We have a lot of nettles in our garden both to eat and as a food plant for caterpillars, so at first, I presumed she had been stung and that this was just a passing problem. She had no obvious other symptoms but I did notice she was being chased by one of my young cockerels, Pip, so presumed stress was part of the equation. I know this from my own experience, as the only time I contracted conjunctivitis, was during my exam finals and I treated it successfully with the same herb I always use on the poultry, viz., Euphrasia officinalis, common name, Eyebright. I also presumed if she was being pursued that she was spending a good time up trees and less time foraging and eating and she would already have been in the vicious circle of stress induced nutrient depletion, which would cause her more stress. So the first thing was to remove her from the flock momentarily and up her quota of the A and E vitamins, which have a direct influence on the health of the eyes. I also gave her some virgin organic coconut oil, which is a great support for the immune system.
In France, where we live, homeopathy (and herbal medicine) co-exist alongside allopathic treatments and are often available in high street chemist's shops. However, they are also readily available online and some laboratories also have them as certified organic. I have found the 'pillule' the easiest form of euphrasia to give to poultry. The required dose of 3 pellets or pillules is fed into the top of the container and then these can be poured directly into the beak.This process is important as homeopathy has very specific rules about its delivery to the patient as handling the pillules contaminates them with oils from the skin and renders them ineffective. This is because homeopathic pill>s do not have a protective covering and thus even a slight contact with the fingers can cause the pills to begin to dissolve onto the skin thus altering the dosage. For the same reason if you drop the pills onto the floor or table, for example, they will be compromised, so throw them away Similarly you should not be giving any strong additional medicine, such as essential oils, at the same time.
The suggested potency of 5ch for poultry and the dosage of 3 pillules 3 times per day, were suggested to me by a friend who is an organic farmer and also shadowed an organic vet as part of her training. In the case of a really bad infection, I have followed my sister's advice (also an organic farmer) and given 6 doses of 3 pillules in one day. The reason being, that within 48 hours i.e. six treatments, the patient should be responding well to treatment and looking much better. Therefore by the sixth dose you will know if you are on the right track, something really important in an advanced case. Also in advanced cases you can ignore the usual advice to give homeopathy outside mealtimes, the usual protocol is half an hour before or after food.
If you are giving treatment on your own, then my tip is to clamp the bird firmly but gently with your knees, this gives you both hands free to open the beak and pour in the pillules.
Another tip, if you are giving homeopathic medicine for the first time and/or to a nervous subject then buy more than one tube of pillules! Homeopathic medicine is not expensive, we a talking a couple of euros or a few dollars here and with the first two or three treatments you are possibly going to end up with a few pillules rolling around on the floor. I gave my first homeopathic treatment to Sneezy my Sebright when she had conjunctivitis, eight years ago but as you will see in the film, I can still waste a couple of pellets.
Once I am sure, by using the 6 doses rule-of-thumb that I have the correct treatment, I continue with it until the symptoms have cleared.
This is an interesting and quite common problem with chickens and often in the Winter months. Coryza or catarrh is not actually an illness it is a symptom, or a sign that the body is ridding itself of toxins. Often these may be moulds, dust or even draughts, anything in fact which can irritate the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract. On rare occasions this can also be caused by bacteria, which can take hold of a flock if your birds have impaired immune systems. However, because chickens do not possess either hands or handkerchiefs, the running nose often seen with coryza can become blocked and lead to secondary symptoms and infection. In the case of this leading to eye problems, I have found euphrasia officinalis most effective in dealing with it. With regards to prevention, if your bird is exhibiting signs of coryza, then it is most important that the nose keeps flowing, I use a herbal inhalation for this, which I will be posting on shortly but in the meantime here is the film I made on how to prepare it. It is suitable for both adults, children and birds as it fills the whole room with fragrant steam rather than needs the patient to position themselves directly over the source. I did not find when I used it that it in any way impaired the efficacy of the euphrasia officinalis pillules.
There is also a second film in which I share how I use it to treat my poultry, which can be found: here
So here is Clemetina looking a whole lot better but with still a little swelling in the left third eyelid. So I am now going on to treat this topically, which I will deal with in the next post. I will also be posting the film I made too. I always feel that hens know so much more about how to treat themselves than we do. Last night I let her into the outbuilding, where we keep all the vegetable and fruit crates, which we get from our local organic shop. The first thing she did was jump onto one of the crates and start consuming leaves of swiss chard!
Follow this link for Part Two which shows how to make the herbal and flower infusions and how I made organic compresses and eye baths to soothe and treat Clementina's eyes:
Thanks for dropping by and please feel free to comment, ask questions and/or add your own experience of homeopathy.
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© 2013 Sue Cross