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Chicken has dirty rear end - how to clean?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KyloRenChicken7, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. KyloRenChicken7

    KyloRenChicken7 Just Hatched

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    Hopefully this is the correct forum as no other category seemed to fit this! (health related but not an emergency, disease or injury)

    One of my chickens has a dirty rear and excrement is clumped on her feathers. It is more than usual to the point where I feel something should be done (and it may be uncomfortable to have that weight there for her!). Wiping it away wouldn't help too much as the dirty feathers would still be there. For the most part I am concerned about those dirty feathers staying there and perhaps causing health issues later on, or infection.

    I considered cutting away the dirty feathers, however I am worried that this would expose the skin underneath and make the situation worse! Thoughts on this are appreciated... thank you!! [​IMG]
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Some trimming can be done, otherwise a butt bath with warm water is in order. If you trim don't trim too much to expose the skin, just trim the poop off.
     
  3. nursejenn

    nursejenn Out Of The Brooder

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    I would soak in warm water and Epsom salt then maybe trim a little after wards. Put a towel over her to calm her if you need to. I find that the bathroom sink is perfect size.
     
  4. KyloRenChicken7

    KyloRenChicken7 Just Hatched

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    Thanks for the quick replies!! It would probably be easier to trim the feathers since this hen has an attitude and would not appreciate a bath too much![​IMG]

    Good advice on not exposing the skin. She's a Naked-Neck Turken so she can't afford to expose much more [​IMG]
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Definitely take a good look and trim off any large clumps....make sure it is not packed against her skin.
    She should preen off a bit off 'dirty feathers'....but if it gets big clumps and packed against her skin it could indeed cause infection and/or fly strike.
    It might be hard to handle her at first if she's not used to it, be calm and firm, hold the wings to the body.
    I usually do this at night with a head light and towel over their head, having another set of hand would really help.
    Most birds that need a butt soak, usually settle down in the warm water pretty gratefully once they know they can't get away.
    I'd rather do a dry trim tho, that poopy water stinks big time.
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There may be an underlying problem that is causing her feathers to get caked in poop. I've certainly seen it happen more often with birds that have a swollen abdomen due to ascites or internal laying as it changes the angle of the body at the rear and instead of poop falling clear of the vent, it gets caught on in the feathers below the vent and cakes solid. Some people seem to suggest that a worm infestation can also be a cause, so it might be worth having a worm egg count done. Here in the UK you can send a sample of poop off to a lab or have it done at the vets. The former is probably cheaper than having the vets do it, if that service is available where you are. It costs about £10-12 here and sometimes you even get next day results via text if your postal system is good.

    If you are going for a trim, I would recommend caking her skin and feather stumps with oil or grease afterwards.... I use emulsifying ointment but petroleum jelly or similar will do just as well.... to stop more poop from sticking to the skin and feather shafts and also protect the skin.... I needed to do some major trimming in winter when a bath was not practical and a good slather of grease onto her near naked bottom each day prevented frost bite and recaking.

    That said, I have been surprised at how hens take to a bath in warm water once they get over the panic and apparently they love a warm blow dry afterwards. I've only ever done it in a large trug outside rather than take them in the house so they are at ease in a place they know, rather than being anxious about a strange environment. I also make a tent over the top of the trug with a broom shank and a towel so that it's quite dark and they seem to relax very quickly. I don't ever leave them unattended though in case they start to drown. After 10 mins of soaking, I give their vent area a gentle rub to loosen up the gunk and then leave them for a further 5 mins and repeat. Usually by then, most if not all the poop is dissolved off and the bird can be dried.

    Good luck with your girl and I hope there is no underlying health cause and it's just simply a poopy bot.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  7. KyloRenChicken7

    KyloRenChicken7 Just Hatched

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    Update - Trimmed feathers with little resistance! It looks much better down there now and I'm sure it's more comfortable for the hen herself! Thanks all for the replies!

    At first I thought there may be underlying health problems as a cause for her dirty butt, however she is/has been behaving like her normal happy self! We'll watch her and see how this goes. So far it is much cleaner and nothing is getting caught.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Every once in while they get a little 'loose'....maybe from too much fruit, or eater when it's really hot...once it starts sticking it can build up fast.
    Glad you go her cleared up easily.
     

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