Feather loss and caked poop around vent: need help identifying cause (pics)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jtlionne, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. jtlionne

    jtlionne New Egg

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    Dec 8, 2013
    Hi folks,

    A month ago my 8 month old Copper Maran hen had nodules of dry poop on her vent and was losing feathers in the neck area. I added apple cider vinegar to her drinking water, bathed her vent in warm water and sprayed with mite spray twice, even though I can't see any mites or lice on her neck or vent. There's been no improvement in the feather loss dept., but her butt is almost all better and she's active and still laying eggs.

    Today I noticed a lot of feathers in the coop from my barred rock hen, who seems to have developed the same symptoms: caked poop on vent and has lost a lot of tail and vent feathers (but no neck feathers). When I picked up the Barred Rock to examine the broken feather stems around her vent and check for pests, a clump of feathers came off in my hands. I'm enclosing a couple of pics and would greatly appreciate any help identifying the problem. Is this vent gleet? It's been raining in my normally dry state (NM) and it could be that they ate some mouldy feed (feeders have since been cleaned, emptied, refilled, and placed in dry place under the coop). If it is vent gleet, though, why on earth would my maran be losing neck feathers? (I've read that losing vent feathers is common with gleet).

    A little more info:
    Hens are eating organic feed, getting fresh veggie scraps, drinking fresh water with no vitamins or supplements.
    I have 8 hens, all purchased as chicks in the Spring, so am ruling out molt, especially given the poopy butt symptoms. (The other 6 are currently unaffected).
    I haven't observed any feather-pecking behavior.

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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    My experience has been that some hens have very fluffy rear ends and if they have any loose stools the poo gets stuck on feathers. Sometimes it can be vent gleet, which is actually a fungal infection, but some chickens just get messy bottoms. I would take scissors and trim off the dried poo and extra feathers, then clean up the bottom and look for any bare spots with redness or white/yellow patches around the vent which would be a sign of gleet. For gleet I would put some antifungal cream such as Nustock or Miconazole on the vent area, and give probiotics or yogurt. Feather loss around the neck could be a result of feather picking or a juvenile molt. Make sure they are getting enough protein in the diet (18-20%) and lots of room with things to climb on and explore.
     
  3. jtlionne

    jtlionne New Egg

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    Dec 8, 2013
    Thanks, Eggcessive: I appreciate the reply. I didn't know they could have a molt at 8 mos, so perhaps this is what it is. They're on 18 % feed and I just got them a protein supplement of mealworms. I'll try the yoghurt, too, and have another go at cleaning them in a couple of days when the temperature here goes above freezing. They certainly aren't behaving like they're ill, which is a good sign.
     

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