Messy hen butts from rooster

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lrballard, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. lrballard

    lrballard Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2016
    Hi all,

    I've searched the threads and couldn't find an answer to this one.
    My rooster, who is a very nice guy, goes to business on the hens as he should. However, the hens' butts are really messy with dried sperm.

    They don't seem to be bothered with it but is it a good idea to wash them clean occasionally? I don't want things to get backed up if you know what I mean.

    Thanks
    Lynn
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Lynn, I think what you are seeing is dried feces.
     
  3. lrballard

    lrballard Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, You could be right, it's really hard to tell.
    So the same question I guess, should I be washing them occasionally?
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I guess I'm gonna fire an other question back at you: The first thing I'd be doing is wondering why they are all sporting messy bottoms. More often than not, it's a sign of vent gleet: In that case, the first thing I'd be doing is looking at their environment. Do they get to free range on a daily basis for extended periods of time? If not, how big is their run, and what is it like? How many square feet per bird? Is it covered with grass, other green matter? Is it bare soil?

    Vent gleet is caused by their intestinal flora being out of balance. You can help them out by giving them plenty of free range time, giving them a run that is not bare soil. This is most easily accomplished (assuming that you don't have plenty of daily free range available, and that you don't have a huge run consisting of about 50 - 100 sq. ft. per bird) by laying down a deep litter in the run (aim for at least 4" deep, 6" is better. This will give them plenty of beneficial bacteria and fungi to help get their guts back into good shape. As a bare minimum, they should have 10 sq. ft. in the run per bird.

    The next thing you can do, and I consider it to be of equal importance: Give them fermented feed. I'm looking for the article that gives you lots of info about the why and the how, but in the mean time, you can get started by doing a thread search. Fermented feed gives your birds lots of healthy probiotics (similar to comparing yogurt to pasteurized milk). It breaks down the antinutrients in the grains, making them easier to digest, so they absorb more nutrient from each scoop of feed. It causes their guts to actually become more healthy with increased villi.

    Finally, if changing up their environment and their feed doesn't show improvement after a couple of weeks, I'd suggest you take some fecal samples to your vet and have a fecal float test done. I'd not simply throw worm medication at them, because that may not even be an issue, and if you worm them, you will be adding insult to injury to their digestive systems that are already stressed.
     
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  5. lrballard

    lrballard Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh that sounds bad!
    We keep our chickens like the prince and princesses that they are. They get free range most of the day with a variety of snacks that we provide including scratch (limited), meal worms, yogurt. They eat layer feed (organic). And their living quarters is very clean with a large coop and run.

    Just recently we put pine shavings in the run on top of the dirt floor. I didn't realize that dirt floor might be a problem, yikes! I'll look into fermented feed
    - thanks for the tip!

    Lynn
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I'm not saying that environment is the CAUSE of vent gleet, but it could possibly be a contributing factor. Birds kept in a pristine environment can also get it. And, I'm not saying they have it. But you can do a thread search for pics to see if that's what you're seeing.
     
  7. lrballard

    lrballard Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks again!
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    YVW.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Dirty butted birds often just have lots of very fluffy feathers on their butts and/or don't preen enough to keep them clean.
    Certain breeds are more prone to this...it can also impede fertilization, so you may be seeing sperm fouling the feathers.
    Trimming the feathers back there can help both situations. Washing I would reserve as a last resort, but it can be done.

    Lots of fruits and veggies can make for looser stools and thus more likely to stick to feathers.
    Try cutting out all foods except a balanced chicken ration and plain clean water...see if things improve.

    You won't know what the problem is without a close inspection....yeah, not so fun, but(t) necessary.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
  10. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    You can buy a Probiotic for poultry...It could be the yogurt causing the issue...Chickens do not process dairy.....


    Cheers!
     

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