Hens with persistent diarrhoea


9 Years
Feb 4, 2010
Glasgow, Scotland
I have four Shavers about 6-7 months old and three Black Rocks about 4-5 months old. Some of the Shavers have been laying since Xmas, but I'm not sure which ones. The Black Rocks are just starting to lay now but again I'm not sure which ones, because they're free range and they like to lay in the straw shed and not in their nesting boxes. I'm working on getting them to lay earlier in the morning but only just got electricity - and a light - into their coop this week. But that's not the main problem...

When I got them at Xmas, most of them had diarrhoea. They came from a local hatchery and they hadn't ever been outside before I got them. I assumed they just hadn't been getting the best of care, and that the move must have stressed them out a bit, and I thought it would clear up in time. They had mites and I treated that with topical Ivermectin, once a week for three weeks. They've been mite free for about six weeks now. I don't know if any of them had worms, but just over a week ago I wormed them all with Vermex, for three consecutive days as directed.

They get layers pellets and layers mash, hanging cabbages to peck at, poultry spice on their pellets, vitamins in their water and just this week I've started giving them a daily treat of half a can of cat food mashed up with oatmeal, which they just go wild for. They are out free ranging on the farm every day, and they probably help themselves to the cows' silage, the calves' barley crunch mix and the horses' haylage. And whatever else they can get their greedy little beaks on! I don't give them grit because the yard is full of it and they can help themselves when they're out and about through the day. The eggs that I've had so far have been big, hard shelled and a nice shape, but the yolks are still a little pale.

Over the last month and a half they've mostly started to look a lot better, but two of the Shavers and one of the Black Rocks still have diarrhoea. Very runny mid brown colour. They look healthy apart from that, so what could the reason be for it? What should I be doing that I haven't thought of?
Sounds like you're doing everything right.. I would think that the ivermectin also took care of their worms if they had some. The only thing I can suggest is maybe treating for cooci with corrid or sulmet. I have used verm-x in the past and it is not a treatment only possible preventive which I have had no luck with. Chickens EAT anything and everything and will acquire parasites that need to be treated correctly.
They are living a much better life now! If they seem healthy, I would just watch and wait, but perhaps have some Corid on hand just in case one begins to look "chilled" and lethargic. If I remember right, sometimes worming can give them diarrhea for a while, but should pass. They've had a lot of changes/treatment, so a break would probably be good. Not sure what "poultry spice" is-- are you pre-seasoning them for barbeque later?
I would probably cut out any vitamins etc.. in the water, most of these are intended for temporary treatment. Anything that might have sugars in it could be loosening up the stools. But overall, sounds like you're doing great!

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