Bleeding from rear

by Heather
(New Zealand)

Question
A one year old White Shaver (or Leghorn) has dried blood in the feathers below her vent and bleeding from rear.

There are three hens of the same age/breed in her chicken tractor. A couple of weeks ago, for several consecutive days, there was blood on one of the eggs laid.

All three hens continue to lay. They have mites and have received treatment for it several times.

We are in NZ where the soil is known to be deficient in many nutrients and minerals. We feed them layer pellets, oyster grit, wheat and comfrey.

They have fresh grass daily.
Does any one have any suggestions?

Answer
Sometimes there is some blood when a hen lays an egg.

A small amount might be normal when a pullet starts laying, or hen restarts laying after a break.

An excessive amount of blood, that appears day after day, could be from her oviduct or possibly some blood in her droppings.

Blood in the oviduct might be from her producing larger than her normal sized eggs, or straining to lay. She may have been injured or possibly new “blood feathers” have been disturbed by pecking from other chickens.

Sometimes mites can irritate feather follicles causing a hen to bite at herself, like a dog might bite at a flea.

Blood feathers are the spiny looking beginnings of new feathers. The shaft of the feather is filled with little blood vessels that supply nutrients for feather growth.

Once the feather is done growing, the blood supply retracts and the shaft of the feather becomes mostly hollow and dry.

Blood in droppings can indicate irritation in her intestinal tract, which can be caused by excess bacteria, possibly Cocciodisis.

You might want to get a stool sample checked by your vet to rule out intestinal problems.

Most antibiotics instruct ceasing to use the hen’s eggs for human consumption for a period of time after treatment; so I like to be sure antibiotics are definitely required before treating any hens.

If you believe the soil is deficient in minerals, you might want to find an appropriate mineral and vitamin supplement for your hens and give it regularly.

Providing a calcium supplement is important for laying hens, and can aid with laying issues. Calcium provides strength to muscles as well as to egg shells.

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