On a grown hen, the technical term for that condition is "poopy butt".
I don't know why some hens get it and some don't. I like to remove it, because it's totally unappealing. I have soaked and washed butts to get it off, I have clipped it off with scissors... I recently read that if you slather oil or vaseline on it and leave it overnight, it will come off more easily. I'll be trying that in the future, should the need arise. I've also read that you can sprinkle corn starch on the butt feathers of hens who are prone to poopy butt, and it will help to prevent it. I'm not sure if that's true or not.
It won't necessarily come back. I have noticed that some hens are prone to it, whereas others aren't. For example, I have a Blue Andalusian who drinks a LOT of water, and her poop is often watery. So she tends to get poopy butt. But it's not a chronic, ongoing thing. It's occasional. I get it cleaned up, and she's fine for a while.
Probiotics is a good idea, though. Or maybe some yogurt with active cultures for a treat. You could also try oatmeal, which seems to make the poop have a better consistency. And then again, maybe it's not caused by the consistency of the poop at all, but more by the kind of feathers the bird has. I'm not sure.
Yes, it can dirty the eggs. I've never noticed that it dirtied the nestbox in general.
Just go ahead and get it cleaned up, and see how it pans out. Not fun for anybody involved, I admit! It doesn't look like scissors is the way to go on your hen. Give the oil/vaseline a try, and let us know how it works for you. I'm curious.
So how does one go about cleaning that. I must sound pretty green
Are you sure a good shaving wouldn't prevent more accumulation?
Its freezing outside. im still waiting for the hose to warm up So I can water them,
YUCK! Soooo not looking forward to this. Ive done alot of stuff because I still have very young kids but this tops it off
I guess it will have to be the basement laundry sink ugh!
I like the idea of the oatmeal. her poop is pretty runny. Im not too sure on the yogurt thing though. seems like it could get pretty messy. they are cooped up sometimes till noon if its still frozen out
I'm not actually SURE that you shouldn't try to cut it away. It looks pretty close to the skin though.
I've put them in a tub of warm water and used my gloved hand to try and wash it off with liquid soap. It can be hard to get loose, that's why the vaseline soak would be great if it loosened it up overnight. If that were the case, maybe you could even get most of it off with paper towels. I'm not sure about that. Never tried it. It had not occurred to me that it would be really cold where you are. (Duh)
Whatever you decide to do, I'm sure you'll do fine. Just do the best you can. It is a yucky job, but as you say, you're a mother, so you've probably seen it all!
(The things we do to keep our chickens looking pretty!)
On of my girls was always like this also. I thought she was just a dirty pooper, so I would give her a bath every couple of months. And I trimmed the feathers - which left her with a bare butt. It looked so itchy and uncomfortable - plus just yucky.
I ultimately ended up discovering "gleet" and treated her for that - not knowing for sure if she had it or not. Low and behold she now has a clean hinder! I gave her yogurt for her gut health and then bought vagisil for yeast infection and applied that to her vent area for several days (externally - I didn't have it in me to try and put it internal). I was just sort of hoping the vagisil would work its way in, also.
Long-story-short - look up "gleet" on this web site - or do a general search on Google and try the treatment suggestion(s). Maybe your pretty girl will have a beautiful hinder!!!!