Every now and then a chick hatches without eyes, an infection that caused blindness in the embryo, or poor development of eyes or eyelids due to nutrition. Some breeds or hybrids are more susceptible than others. In some cases improvement happens, or eyelids can be assisted in being opened.
In a recent run of 50 pullets, our friends ended up with a blind Buff Orpington chick. We saved her from the gallows, and named her Helen. I know, not very politically correct, but people are way too sensitive and I could honestly not care any less.
Anyway, Helen stayed in our brooder box with food in one corner, water in another, and lamp over the middle. She became accustomed to the location of her food and water, and would excitedly announce every time she found them. However, at two and a half weeks Helen started to chirped loudly and incessantly. All her needs were met, and it became apparent that she was calling for other chicks. Given the opportunity to socialize, our hens weren’t sure what to think of Helen. They were too old to adopt her into the flock, and already had a close bound and pecking order.
Helen would calm down, if held and handled. But this was not a long term solution. Helen needed buddies.
Randomly, during a business banking meeting to sign some documents, I discussed Helen with my banker. She said she had experience with blind chicks, raises 150 chickens year to year, is used to getting blind chickens paired with ‘seeing eye buddies’ and would be happy to adopt her. Helen was adopted, and was introduced to two chicks her own age. Helen will not be the loneliest chicken ever, and from the sound of it, will live a full chicken lifetime as an egg layer.