chicken with wet, stinky feathers on rear end


9 Years
Feb 25, 2010
I have 6 hens. One (black sexlink) seems to have a problem but doesn't look or act sick. Her feathers from her tail down to under her legs are wet and stick together. She also has started to have a strong smell. Her poop looks normal, not bloody or runny, but there is clear liquid dripping down her rear end. She eats, drinks and walks around. Her face has no signs of illness (like crusts or drainage). She also seems to have less feathers on her rear, although, maybe that's due to the feathers sticking together.
I separated her from the others. Not sure yet, if she has stopped laying eggs.
Any idea what this could be and how I should try to treat her?
I have never had a sick chicken so far in the one year I have had them. So feel a bit clueless.
Thank you for any help.
It's hard to say. She may have a broken egg stuck in her, or be egg bound. I'd soak her in a warm bath/sink for 15 minutes or so, get her all cleaned up and dried off (blow dry on low, most love it) and then take a really good look at her. Post pictures if you can too, because that will help. Are her comb and wattles still red and looking normal?

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Thank you for your tips Kittymomma. I will try to post some pictures. The hen has definitely been eating and drinking during the day. Poop is still not runny except for some clear liquid that comes out at the end. Face and combs look good. No egg today. I just wonder why the poop smells unusually strong. The feathers on her rear are usually soft and fluffy and you can't see the skin.The stuff on her legs is shredded paper that I put into her cage.




Hope the pictures work out. Sorry for the sideways ones. I am not very good at this.
I have a chicken that looks very similar to that, but I assumed that it was like adult pasty butt because i've heard of BRs having that and that's what she is. I separated her, too, because I think I have canibalism issues and I don't want them to be encouraged. same thing, eating, drinking, walking around. a little more docile than usual, but not weak or anything.
Thank you for your reply.
No egg today either, but she happily walked around the backyard, eats and drinks. Poops normally, but this clear liquid keeps dripping from her cloaca. She doesn't smell as bad today as yesterday, though. So I am hoping that whatever it is, it might be getting better. Anyone any idea what this liquid could be?
I have a silkie banty with the same problem. Feathers on he butt stay damp and really stinky all the time. She is fine otherwise. She has had this for most of her life. She is about a year old. I'm not sure if this stated when she started to lay, but she has had it for around 6 mos. It is just a clear to slightly milky fluid that costantly oozes from her vent. I do not believe this is pasty butt which my handbook also calls vent gleet. Her droppings appear normal. So far I have found no one who can tell me what this is or how to treat it. She does seem to have poor muscle tone as we occasionally have a small prolapse and one time a bad prolapse.
A somewhat recent issue of Backyard Poultry described this as vent gleet.
Not sure of the treatment, but that might help you find what to search for.
Hope she feels better soon!
The images in the Original Post are not of Vent Gleet.

From my experience and the description provided, I'd say that bird is "Egg Bound".
(or as I called it growing up, "she has a stuck egg")

I know I'm getting to this very late, but I figured late insight is better than no insight... for this is a "common" difficulty with hens and I'm sure some one else will appreciate help with their beloved hens or utility layers.

Normally the bird will overcome and lay eventually, but this is not always the case.

(This kind of situation will be reoccurring in any hen that has already had it once, but as hens don't typically lay more than a few years it's not too big a deal... just avoid breeding the hens that have this attribute and perhaps it will be bred out of your flock... though that has it's own weight of uncertainty to consider.)

1) wait and see (she may die, she may lay the egg)
2) bathe her in warm water, salty or not. (You can also use vegetable oil on her vent to lube things up; my mom used soap once.. that was odd.) Dry her with a hair dryer on low, after toweling dry as much as possible.
3) Very dangerously you can attempt to break and remove the egg yourself; this can lacerate her inside, some times, and she might heal just fine from the lacerations.
4) Cull (kill) the bird.

I understand that there are two uses of back yard birds; Utility and Companionship.
In my life I have had birds for both reasons, so I rarely have culled any of them, so you will need to weight the utility of each bird to it's worthwhile companionship and decide what is best for you and the bird; some people consider it a merciful thing to cull in this case.

Relevant Appendix:
What is my background?
I have been raising poultry since 1986, taking the years of 2004-2011 off; now I have 3 hens in my tiny back yard.
At the largest I had a flock of 54 hens, 14 rooster, 2 turkeys, 7 geese, and 1 drake.
I raised pure bred Large Standard Breed Rhode Island Red birds for 6 years before my 2 genetic strains died out; RIR pure bred had only 7 genetic strains/groups left in the USA (possibly the world) back in the 90's when I was breeding them. They commonly produce a variety of "mutant" offspring and the ones that fit the standard typically die from sickness with in 2 years of hatching.
I also studied Avian Sciences, as a hobby, from age 6-16 and was on a team of middle-high school aged people that won 1st in state and 1st in National "Avian Bowl" competitions in 1995 under the guidance of Dr. Francene Bradley (of UC Davis).

TLDR Appendix:
Since then I have forgotten most of that meaty detail, but I do remember bathing at least 10 different birds, over the years, for being egg bound, and breaking 3 different eggs in attempt to help clear the reproductive tract; all attempts were effective, though obviously quite painful to the hens.

Trivial Appendix:
The Oldest bird I had was a rooster named "Roasty Toasty", from my very first group of birds, who lived from 1986-1998, far surpassing what was considered "possible" according to poultry standards when I was learning about Avian diseases. One of his sisters of the same group died the year before that, 2 others the year before her. I had a very good track record at keeping my family of birds alive and laying, though the longest a bird ever laid was 6 years and she was a bantam who didn't lay too often by the end.
I used to wash my show birds every week, at one point, just with dry cleaning methods and vegetable oils on the skin. I decided that was excessive and moved to wash them in this way only in the month before shows, and with water the week prior.

Anyway... I hope this has been informative.
I have a hen I am pretty sure is egg bound right now, and I should probably get to helping her out soon.
Messy butt feathers are also sometimes due to worms. When my hens get messy butts I worm them with Safeguard and repeat it in 10 days.
When due to worms, it tends to affect multiple hens in the flock.

The Original Post describes an isolated incident that is not spreading to other birds, I'd say not to worm unless directed to by a veterinarian; the description fits the "stuck egg" situation.

(I do have experience with nematode infestation, and treatment, as well. Medicating for nematodes when it's not a nematode problem can weaken the birds immune system and allow nematodes in the ambient environment to build a resistance to worming agents. My advice is to ensure it's a worm infestation before worming.)

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