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Blindness

Occasionally ducks can either hatch blind or without eyes, or can go blind as a result of disease or injury to one or both eyes. Like with people, blindness can make things more challenging, however there are many blind ducks which are able to live happy, healthy lives. Ducks that are born with or acquire disabilities should not be so quickly cast aside---as there are many people who have kept and continued to care for ducks with blindness who have found it to be an extremely rewarding and worthwhile experience.

Symptoms

Change in eye color
Misshaped or unequally shaped pupils
Limited to little reaction to external stimuli
Inability to recognize food or water when right in front of them
Consistent quacking if newly hatched duckling

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam

Treatment

MethodMethod Summary
Management changesDo not let blind ducks free range where they are at a great risk of predator attacks, as they will be easy prey without their eyesight.

Keep birds confined within a limited area that effectively excludes predators from accessing the ducks.

Monitor the flock social hierarchy daily to ensure that the blind duck does not get picked on by the other birds. There have been many incidences where blind ducks find companions which stay by their side and defend them, but in other cases they may not.

Keep an eye on the blind duck's rate of weight gain or whether they lose any weight, which may result if they are having trouble getting to the food prior to the other chickens' eating it all.
Supportive care

Prevention

  • Make sure to promptly and appropriately treat ducks with early signs of respiratory illness, as many can often lead to chronic sinusitis and later blindness.
  • Be wary when mixing roosters with ducks. There have been many incidences where aggressive roosters have pecking the eyes out of ducks living with them.

References

    Risk Factors

    • Eye injuries or infections
    • Aggressive roosters