It is sometimes easy to forget that hens have ears too…
Hens’ ears are very well disguised and hidden under a flat of dense feathering. If you gently lift up the ear flap you should see a clean dark round hole. If the ear becomes infected this hole may be full of a yellow waxy substance.
Ear infections can cause loss of balance, staggering and a ‘drunken’ appearance. This is probably one of the most undiagnosed problems with the unsteadiness being attributed to a stroke or neurological problem. It is easy to cure but will require antibiotics from your vet.
The most amazing thing about hens is their ability to regenerate the tiny hair cells in their cochlea (inner ear). This is something that humans are not able to do and is the major cause of deafness in people. One day perhaps the humble hen could lead the way in curing deafness.
If you would like to ask Gaynor a hen health question please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Hen Central on 01884 860084. To support our Advice Line we ask for a nominal donation to help fund this service, so that we can continue to help your hens.