Silkie hen with the runs

Question
Silkie hen with the runs: Young (I think) white Silky hen; introduced into 16-chicken flock in October.

Is in a pen with the other birds; she is the only Silky. She has medium-to-dark brown feces around her vent. Otherwise seems fine. Just noticed these symptoms this week.

No medications yet given. Is this serious? I also have what I believe is a 2 week old Rhode Island Red rooster. He has had runny bowel movements and now he looks as if one of his legs is bothering him. Any Ideas on what it could be?

Answer
I would suggest removing both from other chicks and chickens until diarrhea clears up. This could be a contagious virus or bacterial infection.

The dark color can be blood from the Silky’s intestinal tract, parasites are possible. It would be good to get a sample of their feces to the vet for testing.

The diarrhea could be related to something they ate, or something other poultry can pick up on their feet, clean their feet, then they have it too.

The cockerel with the leg bothering him could be showing signs of Marek’s Disease. There are 3 forms and one affects the nerves.

This disease is contagious. I’m not saying that’s what he has, but it’s possible. It’s also possible his foot got caught somewhere in the brooder and he strained a muscle getting free.

With the health of other chickens and chicks to be concerned for, a trip to the vet with feces samples may give you the answers you need.

I would suggest giving the Silky a nice warm bath to remove feces. Dry with a blow dryer on low (they usually love it).

It’s possible for her to reinfect herself when grooming her dirty rear. You might want to trim the feathers a little to help you keep her clean while she gets better. She will probably need an antibiotic to get rid of this.

Hopefully it hasn’t spread. Once she is out of the chicken area, it would be good to look for any fresh droppings the same color as you saw on the Silky. She could have brought this in or gotten it from one of your chickens.

You might want to clean the coop and area she has been in. Diluted bleach usually kills intestinal disease virus and bacteria.

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