We found Matilda neglected and scared, hiding under a shed on a property where many chickens had already been killed. The poor little hen would have heard everything that happened when her friends were fed to the owner’s dogs and all she could do was hide.
As I reached my arms under the shed I was surprised when she didn’t try to run away. I pulled her to me and promised as I always do, ‘You will be safe now little one.’
When I got Matilda home she was very reluctant to come out of her straw filled carrier and she would not eat or drink. I spent some time observing her, chatting to her and gave her some water by syringe. As I watched her head movements I realised that it was no wonder Matilda was so scared, she was blind!
Once I realised this everything made sense. I was able to help Matilda find her food by tapping the bowl and her water by splashing my fingers in it. She would peck a few times around the bowl, but would eventually find it. The blindness also explained why Matilda was hiding. She was terrified of the outside world with all the scary noises.
At first I sat Matilda on my lap and held her food right in front of her. She seemed to gain confidence and began to chat away to me. Later, it became clear that she gained comfort from my voice and would follow me around the house, so I now make a habit of chatting to her as I do my chores.
The avian vet has confirmed that Matilda is blind with only some light sensitivity in one eye. But the exciting news is that we have an amazing chance to give Matilda the gift of sight in her left eye. If she has her cataract removed she will be able to see. Her right eye is too far gone, but even sight in one eye would improve her quality of life. We need to raise $3000 for the surgery and so far we are about half way. If you would like to contribute to Matilda’ surgery we would be so grateful for any donation.
Matilda has gained so much confidence since arriving at NSW Hen Rescue HQ that she seems like a different hen. She knows her way around the house. She loves dust bathing on the carpet beneath my desk and she chats away all day. She likes to spend short amounts of time in an enclosure outside as long as I am nearby to talk to her. She has even made great friends with Pepper the quail. So whilst I know Matilda will enjoy quality of life no matter what, I would love to give her the gift of sight that she so deserves. After everything she has been through this little cuddle chicken deserves to see how wonderful her new surroundings are.