My Hens have diarrhea?

Why do my hens have diarrhea?

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Chicken Diarrhea
by: sharon

A simple question, but no simple answer.

What do they eat? Have you changed their diet recently or given something new they are not used to? Did you feed them antibiotics? Are they acting sick? What do you usually feed them? How old are they? Are they all at a healthy weight? Did you add any new chickens to the flock that might have brought in an illness? Are they suffering from slow crop or sour crop?

Canned pumpkin (not pie filling) is an excellent food for regulating their digestion. If they are constipated, it will get things moving. If they have diarrhea, it can help slow things down.

If you have been feeding them extra greens, fruits and veggies, stop for a few days and see if that helps.

Never feed spoiled chicken feed, human or pet foods to chickens. They will eat just about anything. Moldy foods, high fat foods, too much sugar, rancid spoiled foods, highly refined processed foods, anything they are not used to or is toxic can affect their digestion.

Diarrhea can be caused by diseases or illnesses, or something that the chickens ate or drank. Too much protein in the diet can cause diarrhea.

Always make sure water containers get scrubbed out regularly. You shouldn't use soaps or disinfectants, just scrub all surfaces well and rinse well. Algae generally won't hurt them, but little bits of food can wash out of their beaks when they drink, or droppings can sit in the water and turn water sour or spread a bacterial infection. Keep water containers at neck height, so chickens are less likely to kick debris into containers and keep water clean.

Chickens rely on a healthy balance of good bacteria for good digestion. Bacteria in the crop, plus good water and some grit, help dissolve and digest their food. Too much or unusual bacteria, or not enough bacteria disrupts normal digestion, which can result in diarrhea.

Greenish white diarrhea is usually just from a higher than usual intake of fruits and veggies. Foamy yellow diarrhea can be a sign of internal illnesses. A rusty brown diarrhea can be a sign of coccidiosis - which may need medication. You would need to take a sample to a vet for a diagnosis, but can often buy medication for it at a feed store.

From their beak to their tail feathers, there are many chicken health issues that could cause diarrhea. Since it sounds like you are saying the whole flock is affected, I would guess it's something they ate or drank or an illness that is spreading through your flock.

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