How to Treat Chicken with Foaming Eyes

Do you know animals can be stress, too? Even the dogs that usually happy, can show the sign of depressed. So are chicken. So often I see many people treat chicken without respect. They put many chicken in one cage until there’s almost no space for them to move around. There are people who bring chicken upside down, with their feet tied down, really awful. What they might not know is those chicken can be stressed out just like them. This stress can cause disease in chicken, including foaming eyes. So, how to treat chicken with foaming eyes mainly keep them in stress-free environment.

However, surely there are few more things that we can do to treat this disease. Before we go to the discussion about how to treat chicken with foaming eyes, we need to understand the underlying cause first. If we understand, it will get easier for us to do the first aid for the chicken, as well as consultation with the veterinarian later.

The Cause of Foaming Eyes

Usually, chicken’s eyes become watery and foamy because of respiratory problems. Just like common cold or influenza for us, human. And these respiratory problems in chicken are mostly caused by bacteria Mycoplasma Gallisepticum and Infectious Bronchitis Virus.

  • Mycoplasma Gallisepticum

Actually, there are many different kinds of Mycoplasma, but we’ll discuss the most common only, Mycoplasma gallisepticum. Even though it’s pretty common disease in chicken, it doesn’t mean Mycoplasma infection isn’t dangerous. In some cases, this disease can lead into death. Another main problem is Mycoplasma gallisepticum is very infectious, and the onset can be only for few days. And just like fowl cholera, once the chicken get infected, it stays forever in chicken. Even if they’re survived, they become carrier that can infect other chicken in other time.

The clinical sign of this bacteria infection include foamy eyes. The others are sneezing, gasping, nasal discharge, swollen eyelids and sinuses. Your chicken, which is raised for eggs, might present less eggs than before.

  • Infectious Bronchitis Virus

The other common infection that can cause foamy eyes is by Infectious Bronchitis Virus. Just like Mycoplasma gallisepticum, this virus is also very contagious that can affect chicken all ages and types. Usually, this coronavirus attact upper-respiratory tract, but in some cases, can also cause damage to the kidneys and reproductive system.

The clinical signs of this viral infection include gasping, sneezing, tracheal rales, lislessness, wet droppings, excessive water intake, and nasal discharge. Chicken will look depressed and lethargic and reluctant to move. Facial swelling, frothy conjunctivitis, and also excessive tearing of the eyes is observed also in this infection. As for the eggs, you can see misshapen rough soft-shelled eggs and the egg yolk will be watery.


In Ireland, there’s a rule that suggested farmers to cull the chicken which get infected by this bacteria and virus. It’s not surprising since the effect is really worrisome, can contaminate other flocks easily. However, this infections don’t seem to affect human.

I don’t know whether culling the chicken will be an option, though. Should we eradicate all the poor chicken while it’s very common? We might find that we must kill them all. It seems like not good enough solution for me. So, we need to know how to treat chicken with foaming eyes.

1. Clean the Eyes

Once you found out your chicken’s eyes get watery or foamy, the first thing you must do is cleaning them up. After you wash their eyes, you can remove foreign particles and also, you can reveal any damage for follow-up treatment.

2. Isolate the Infected Chicken

Whenever you encounter the contagious disease, the first thing you must do is isolating, like when you get rid of mites in rabbit at home. The same rule applies with these two infection. Since these bacteria and viruses are very contagious, isolate your chicken will be the best option. Of course, you need to set up the clean and stress-free environment in the isolated cage. You also need to make sure the place is warm and comfortable for your chicken, meanwhile you can call your veterinarian to do further treatment.

3. Antibiotics Treatment

Since Infectious Bronchitis Virus is a virus, it can’t really be treated by antibiotics. Some people might use antibiotics as supportive treatment for this viral infection, but admit it, antibiotics for bacteria. It means that it’s not suitable to treat viral infection.

In the other hand, Mycoplasma gallisepticum is bacterial infection, so you can use antibiotics treatment to cure this disease in chicken. Mostly, your veterinarian will prescribe Tylan, Baytril, or Callimycin to treat your infected chicken. Even though antibiotics will not really cure the disease, but it can reduce the incidence to toleranly low level.

What you need to consult your veterinarian is the use of Tylan Soluble. Yes, it has been licensed for treatment of Mycoplasma infection, but usually, Tylan Soluble is effective for young chicken, but seem less effective in older stock unless given the acute stage of the disease. Baytril Oral is not really good for laying hens, so you better avoid the use of this antibiotics for them.  There’s also denagard for antibiotic treatment for this infection, but it can inhibit the development of growing chicken, so it’s only suitable for adult chicken.

4. Providing Comfortable Environment

Do you know that your immune system is actually lowered if you’re stress? That’s also true for animals. And as I mentioned earlier, chicken tend to be stress in uncomfortable environment, too. The cause of chicken’s stress include extreme temperatures and humidity (it’s also true for other animals, such as dairy cows, so you need to know how to take care of them in extreme temperature, like winter), high stocking density, being transported to the new place.

Overcrowding can also cause stress in chicken, and of course, this overcrowding make the infection much easier to spread.

You need to watch for their food, too. Sometimes, ordinary food for poultry shop contain pesticides, herbicides, and anti fungal. Some of them contain antibiotics also, that can lower chicken’s immune system. The best food is the organic ones. And when you feed them, adding fresh crushed garlic and/or apple cider vinegar can boost up their immune system. Adding apple cider vinegar into your chicken’s water also works well.

5. Vaccination

For the viral infection, vaccination is the best way to spread the contamination among chicken’s flock. Especially, because there’s no medical treatment that is really effective to kill viruses. Sometimes, all we can do is to depend upon the antibody to kill them. And to make chicken’s immune system better, vaccination is the best way. Of course, vaccination can also reduce the possibility of bacterial infection, so it works both way, whether for Infectious Bronchitis Virus or Mycoplasma Gallisepticum.

You need to remember that early and aggressive treatment can avoid death in your chicken because of this respiratory problem. So, you need to learn carefully how to treat chicken with foaming eyes.