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3 of my 4 chickens have diarrhea, not sure what to do

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CalicoPrairie, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. CalicoPrairie

    CalicoPrairie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2012
    Riverside County, CA
    I'm not sure what the cause is, either, but I did lose a hen a couple of weeks ago to salpingitis. I've tried some basic things, like giving milk kefir in hopes of balancing out their gut flora, but it seems like it's not just a gut flora issue. I've added ACV to their water, but I just discovered that I'm probably not putting enough in their 3 gallon waterer (I was only putting 2 tbsp). I'm considering putting some oregano oil (in a carrier oil) in their water as a natural antibiotic, but I'm leery because it's a pretty volatile oil and I'd hate to make a mistake and cause my girls to burn their mouths on the oil.

    I have had chickens for a few years, but just in the past year I've started having issues and I honestly don't know how to figure out what could be wrong. I have some sulmet from 3-4 years ago (it's probably expired) if I need to start something today. I could get other antibiotics this week to help if I need to. Our feed stores around here are closed on Sundays.

    A little more info, only one of my chickens (Carlota) is laying, and she is one that has diarrhea, but her eggs are nice and clean, so I'm guessing that it's not as bad but I have no real idea. Ethel keeps sitting in the nesting box, but never lays (could she be egg bound? Does that cause diarrhea?). My Carolyne has a pretty bad case of diarrhea, I'd say the worst of the 3. My 4th girl, Mrs. Trumble, isn't having diarrhea, but isn't laying, and she's been my best layer in the last year. It feels like I'm dealing with all different issues with all 4, so I'm kind of overwhelmed. If one of you kind experts could hold my hand so I could learn how to troubleshoot my girls' issues, that would be so great.

    Thanks so much.
     
  2. CalicoPrairie

    CalicoPrairie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2012
    Riverside County, CA
    I'm reading some other threads here and googling information, and I'm thinking I should add this information:

    We are having quite a warm February. We are in Southern California, and temps have been in the upper 70s and low to mid 80s for the past few weeks. This week, we'll probably hit 90 at least one day. It could be that the girls are drinking more, I suppose. I've noticed so much more watery poop around, though, that it's really concerned me. I've never seen this much before, even last summer.

    I've given them (every other day or so) our food scraps, including meat scraps. Could that be throwing off the nutritional balance in the laying feed? I usually feed them this: http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/natures-best-organic-16-egg-layer-pellets-40-lb, but since they stopped laying, I bought this feed, which they have been eating fine. Not sure if the watery poop/diarrhea has to do with this feed or not, but this is it: http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/dumor-poultry-layer-16-crumble?cm_vc=-10005

    I have been giving them milk kefir mixed with their crumble, about a pint for all 4 once per week. They eat it over a day. I have free choice oyster shell out, and I mix oyster shell into the milk kefir mixture, along with a handful of BOSS.

    Please someone tell me what I'm doing wrong, or how to troubleshoot what is going on. I'm at a loss here, and don't want to lose my girls over something that's obvious to someone more well versed than I.

    Thanks!
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Both of those feeds that you mentioned are for chickens laying, and have the same protein level and calcium. If you want to give a feed for non-layers, that would be Flock Raiser. It has 20% protein, but only 1/4 of the calcium, since only birds laying need the extra calcium. Your flock is close to the age of mine, and I think many can have laying problems or a little diarrhea here and there. I have found it's best to watch their behavior, such as not wanting to get off the roost in the morning, or standing alone hunched, for signs of sickness.
     
  4. CalicoPrairie

    CalicoPrairie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2012
    Riverside County, CA
    Thanks, it hadn't even occurred to me to put them on regular non-layer feed. Is that what most people do when their chickens are molting, or the days are short? Do you then switch back to layer feed once they start laying again? What about if one starts laying and the others don't? Do I then need to separate my one laying hen from the others and let them eat separately? I am not sure why it has never occurred to me to explore this.

    Do you think that feeding them the layer feed could be contributing to the diarrhea since the protein and calcium levels are different for what their bodies are doing right now?

    I haven't seen them looking droopy in the tail or wings, or hiding, or any other telltale signs of illness, just the super poopy feathers around the butt (not necessarily on the outside, but more when I part the feathers. Last week, I clipped all of the "diarrhea sisters'" feathers around their vents and this week, they are wet and clumpy again around that area.

    Here are a few photos of them (and their nesting boxes and poop) if you don't mind clicking over. Perhaps I'm missing something that y'all might see. I only have one poop picture because I had cleaned up the rest this morning.

    http://s63.photobucket.com/user/WeatheredsPics/slideshow/Animals/Chickens Diarrhea
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,038
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    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    You can switch to Flock Layer 20% feed while they are not laying as long as you put out crushed oyster shell for the ones who start laying again. Some use Flock Raiser all of the time since they have chicks, young birds, and roosters. Many don't change the feed, but increase the protein a bit with high protein treats or some 24% game bird feed. I usually don't switch feed since my birds all molt at different times. I doubt if the calcium has caused the diarrhea. In humans it can cause constipation, LOL. I tried looking at the photos, but they were too small.
     
  6. CalicoPrairie

    CalicoPrairie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2012
    Riverside County, CA
    Oh, too small? I'm sorry! Did it not play a slideshow? Let me see if I can let you see them any bigger. Thanks for looking, by the way. :)

    I think I can get the Flock Raiser feed from the local Tractor Supply. I looked into it and it said it was 20%, like you said, which is great as I'm always looking to boost protein lately in hopes that my girls will start laying again (not sure where I got the idea that would help?). I have oyster shell out there, so that's no problem at all, even if I don't switch back to layer feed.

    http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h.../Chickens Diarrhea larger photos/IMG_0216.jpg

    Ok, I'm not sure that did the trick, but let me know if it didn't.
     
  7. CalicoPrairie

    CalicoPrairie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2012
    Riverside County, CA
    On another forum, I'm getting advice to treat for coccidia. I can totally do that if need be, but would coccidia only manifest itself with diarrhea? I have been reading on and off what those symptoms are and my girls aren't showing anymore symptoms besides diarrhea, and the diarrhea doesn't seem to have any blood in it or anything, so I've got reservations.
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    The photobucket still doesn't work for me--it now says it doesn't exist. How old are your chickens? Coccidia usually affect younger birds, but they can sometimes be a problem if birds are exposed to new dirt, since there are over 9 strains in chickens. Most birds build up a resistance to cocci in their home soil unless they have an immunity problem. Corid is the best treatment. A fecal float by your vet can rule it out. Blood is only present in some strains, and others can cause mucous and yellow green diarrhea. If they don't appear ill, are eating and drinking normally, it may not be too serious.
     
  9. CalicoPrairie

    CalicoPrairie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2012
    Riverside County, CA
    I'm sorry. I'll post a few pics here in the thread.

    See, what you just said is why I ruled it out, but now I'm thinking again about it since people have been quick to mention it. My birds are all over 3 years old, closer to 4 and maybe 5 for some. They used to only live in the large coop that was here when we moved in, but about 6-8 months ago, we made a new run for them on the property. I don't know if the previous owners ever let them out of the coop. My chickens used to free range in my garden daily at our old place.

    My vet doesn't do anything having to do with any other animal but cats and dogs (I just asked last week), so perhaps I just need to treat them. I don't know that I'm seeing mucous, but I have seen some green watery diarrhea. Not sure about yellow, will check that today. They are eating and drinking normally, nobody is hiding, everyone is doing their thing. It's just weird.
     
  10. CalicoPrairie

    CalicoPrairie Out Of The Brooder

    38
    2
    26
    May 21, 2012
    Riverside County, CA
    I'm not sure these will show you much more than that they don't look sick (tails down, wings droopy, comb color, etc). The black ones are very hard to catch, but I can try to do that and get photos of their backsides and vents and post them here.


    Carolyne (left)
    [​IMG]

    Carlota
    [​IMG]

    Ethel
    [​IMG]

    Probably normal poop, but here it is anyway
    [​IMG]
     

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