Chicken has diarrhea

by Mel
(AZ)

Questions
Chicken has diarrhea, sits in the coop by her self, pecks me when I get close to her tail feathers, and not laying eggs as before.

Answer
If she is sitting by herself in the nest, or has made a nest site she is probably broody, meaning she wants to sit on eggs and hatch them.

By pecking at you she’s probably trying to protect her nest, and tell you not to take her eggs. It’s common for hens to slow their laying and stop once they have completed a laying cycle and become broody. This is perfectly normal behavior for a broody hen.

Changes in droppings are also normal at this time. Hens don’t eat as they normally do and often drink more to stay hydrated.

To incubate her eggs she has to spend most of the day on the nest. Usually chickens pass droppings all day long, wherever they happen to be. When sitting on a nest for 21 days it would become a very unhealthy place for her and for new chicks to hatch if messy with droppings.

Droppings have a strong odor and could attract predators and flies that could endanger her and the chicks.

Broody hen droppings are often more runny than normal so they don’t become constipated. Sometimes they only leave the nest once or twice a day; passing stool when away from the nest.

Hens go through hormone fluctuations, which trigger their brain and body to go through changes throughout the year.

If you suspect something other than broodiness, it would be good to get her droppings tested by a vet familiar with chicken diseases.

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Chicken Has the Runs

by Lynn
(England)

Question
Chicken Has the Runs: My ex-bat which I have had for just over a year is drinking plenty of water, tucking into her Greek yogurt and pear.

I isolated her last night and brought her indoors to monitor her.

Her poo is runny, it was watery urine colored, but after a little yogurt and drinking it is a bit black tarry. She is very tired and listless.

I bathed the chickens in a lice, flea shampoo, and wormed them about 2 weeks ago. I have treated the coup and perch for red mite for the last month.

The hen free ranges, with a cockerel and seven other ex-bats, just coming in at night or if the weather is bad. I live in Leicestershire, England.

Anyone got any ideas?

Answer:
It could be something as simple as a reaction to the medications or it could be a sickness and something much more complicated. You did the right thing to separate and monitor her. I recommend that you continue to do this and look for any other symptoms.

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Chicken diarrhea

by Pam D
(Mill Spring NC)

Questions
Chicken diarrhea: My 2-year-old Rhode Island Red has been acting lethargic and has had green stools.

I have wormed her with Wazine, given her chick saver and she is only slightly better after 3 days.

Answer
Continue to give the chick saver and make sure she stays warm. Coax her to eat and drink as much as possible.

She should be separated from other chickens, incase what she has in contagious. Getting a sample of her stool to a vet would be best.

She may have an intestinal problem that could need an antibiotic. The vet can tell which antibiotic after the test, if there is a need. Green stools may just mean she isn’t eating enough.

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Whitish Pasty Diarrhea Hen

by Linda
(Pennsylvania)

Question:
Whitish Pasty Diarrhea Hen: My two year old Red Sex link hen has what looks like pasty butt -- whitish, cheese like diarrhea stuck to her butt.

She is not eating much, is listless, tail down and somewhat wobbly. I brought her in the house, thoroughly cleaned and dried her.

Her belly seems distended. My other four hens are all healthy. Could this be Visceral Gout?

I had given them some leftover milk and cream lately, and some rich desserts - which they loved. Too much calcium?

Since bringing her in the house, she has eaten some rolled oats and a few alfalfa sprouts. She still seems listless and has sat down. What now?

Answer:
Possibly the rich foods have got her digestive system out of balance. Too much dairy can be hard to digest, especially cream.

Calcium wouldn't be the problem, as that is something easy for chickens to process. A balanced chicken feed would be the best thing for her system, plus fruits and chopped vegetables could help.

Red Sex Link is a Production breed, that is often reaching the end of healthy life at about 2 years of age. She may be suffering from multiple issues related to internal systems no longer able to function properly.

A probiotic may help restore good digestion of balanced feed. Whole grains, like oats, would be hard on her system now, unless cooked. Sprouts are good, offering plant fibers.

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Wet feathers, messy vent area

by Harriet
(Buffalo,MO)

Question
Wet feathers, messy vent area: I just got 12 hens and 1 rooster and they have been in my coop one day.

I went out to check them and noticed one of them has very messy looking vent/bottom area. I have never had chickens before, and I am not sure if this is molting or a problem.

Answer
Thanks for writing and welcome to the wonderful world of Chickens!

What you have described is a sign of diarrhea. Molting is when they lose feathers and grow in new ones, most noticeable in the Fall.

It’s probably nothing to worry about, but do monitor this, in all your chickens, every day. Healthy poo is a good sign.

The diarrhea could just be stress related from the move. Chickens with dirty vent feathers aren’t processing their food properly.

That can be caused by poor nutrition, bacteria, parasites, disease, or just the stress of moving, possibly change in feed and water.

Since you are new at this I highly recommend reading all the articles on this site, starting with good nutrition.

There is much to learn, but doesn’t have to be all at once. Reading about disease and health problems, the health and behavior questions here, will help you get a well rounded Chicken Education BEFORE you run into problems.

Hopefully this is just stress related. You can bathe chickens to get poo off the feathers. If it’s not too thick the chicken will probably groom herself clean.


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