My 2 hens have pasty butts, why?

JbR

In the Brooder
Jul 19, 2020
43
84
46
Geneva, FLORIDA
I am the first time mom of 2 hens who are almost 5 months old. I've had them since they were a couple days old. Now they have a mix of excrement & sand stuck below their cloaca, in their fluff! They seemed to have loose/watery stools for a couple days, no mucous or blood seen. I didn't catch it until it was dried on their back end yesterday. Their stool appears back to normal, but one more than the other acts like she is starving, panicking for more food. Trust me they are very well fed! The panic type behavior started after the eggs started coming, thus I added things to see if they were missing something they needed. They (or one, not 100% sure) just started laying eggs a week ago. That's when all this started changing. They are clearly telling me something is wrong, but what😲
I'm worried about them!

They are finishing a bag of grower feed with pre & probiotics, no medicated feed since the first large bag. They do get herbs, small amounts of veggies, small amnt food grade organic DE, and small amnt meal worms. I added a small amount of calcium on the side when eggs came in case they needed it.
The coop doesn't currently provide the weeds/grass they like so I bring that to them at least several days a week. I'm hoping that they can get that on their own soon! I do have to physically move them to a large kennel after dark for now until I feel like the coop is safe & they freak out when it gets dark out there, as we live in the woods & I spoiled them from the start... lessons learned!
I need advice!
 

Sally PB

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I don't know about the panic eating, but I had a similar experience with poop in the "floof" under one of my pullet's vent. I realized that the ramp up to the roost was so close to the roost itself that she was literally sitting on her poop at night. I took out the ramp, lowered the roost and no more poopy butt. Don't know if this will help you.

One thought about the eating... are they getting enough protein? Laying takes a lot of that.
 

JbR

In the Brooder
Jul 19, 2020
43
84
46
Geneva, FLORIDA
Thank you! It may be if she gets off the roost at night and lays down. I have seen her do that on occasion. But it looks like it ran down their back end...
 

JbR

In the Brooder
Jul 19, 2020
43
84
46
Geneva, FLORIDA
Are you providing them with grit and/or free ranging?
I live in a Sandy & wet area, though it's starting to dry out, so that's why the area they are living in doesn't yet provide the plant material, i have to build it up & get more sun in. Do i need to add grit?
I was told that would provide "grit" but that person hasn't raised many chickens.
 

JbR

In the Brooder
Jul 19, 2020
43
84
46
Geneva, FLORIDA
I don't know about the panic eating, but I had a similar experience with poop in the "floof" under one of my pullet's vent. I realized that the ramp up to the roost was so close to the roost itself that she was literally sitting on her poop at night. I took out the ramp, lowered the roost and no more poopy butt. Don't know if this will help you.

One thought about the eating... are they getting enough protein? Laying takes a lot of that.
I immediately went out with a couple handfuls of meal worms, in case that's what they are asking for (protein)! I will be sure they are getting enough!
Before they started laying I got worried because I heard they would over eat, so I reduced adding things. Thank you!
 

Sally PB

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Aug 7, 2020
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If you don't provide grit, they may not be getting enough. I would put some out. If they never ever eat it, well, you might be out $6 or so. Cheap (cheep?) insurance.

For my situation, I feed a 20% protein all flock pellet. I have a cockerel, so I don't want to feed a layer feed, which has calcium he doesn't need. I have crushed egg shells and oyster shell on the side for the girls. At 20%, they get plenty of protein, and I can give them a *few* treats like BOSS, grapes, pumpkin, mealworms. None of those has 20% protein, so it will "dilute" the percentage of protein that they're getting, but no too much.

As for the pasty butt... once a poop or two get into the poofy feathers under the vent, it seems to grab any other poop that comes out! Also, some treats can give chickens loose stools (mine had very loose stools after a cucumber), and that will collect on the poop that's stuck there. It's probably still warm enough in Florida to have flies, and the poop can attract them. If they lay eggs in her vent, that can cause flystrike. The eggs hatch, and the maggots eat and burrow into the chicken's vent tissue. Definitely NOT a good thing.

If the poop actually seals the vent shut -- much more likely to happen to a very young chick -- the bird can die.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Now they have a mix of excrement & sand stuck below their cloaca, in their fluff! They seemed to have loose/watery stools for a couple days, no mucous or blood seen. I didn't catch it until it was dried on their back end yesterday. Their stool appears back to normal, but one more than the other acts like she is starving, panicking for more food. Trust me they are very well fed! The panic type behavior started after the eggs started coming, thus I added things to see if they were missing something they needed.
They are finishing a bag of grower feed with pre & probiotics, no medicated feed since the first large bag. They do get herbs, small amounts of veggies, small amnt food grade organic DE, and small amnt meal worms. I added a small amount of calcium on the side when eggs came in case they needed it.
I do have to physically move them to a large kennel after dark for now until I feel like the coop is safe & they freak out when it gets dark out there, as we live in the woods & I spoiled them from the start... lessons learned!
Please post some photos of the pullets, their poop and where you are housing them.

You mention that you move them to a large kennel after dark until you feel like the coop is safe - what is wrong with the coop? What do you have to do to make it safe?

If you are moving them after dark - where are you moving them from and to?

At 5 months and they are laying eggs, it's probably fine to give them layer feed or you can feed an all flock/flock raiser feed. Provide oyster shell free choice. While your soil may have suitable grit (small rocks/stones), I recommend that you provide poultry grit (crushed granite) free choice as well.

You mention panic eating - how do you feed? Free choice in a feeder or at certain times of the day? Is the other pullet keeping one from the feeder?
 

JbR

In the Brooder
Jul 19, 2020
43
84
46
Geneva, FLORIDA
If you don't provide grit, they may not be getting enough. I would put some out. If they never ever eat it, well, you might be out $6 or so. Cheap (cheep?) insurance.

For my situation, I feed a 20% protein all flock pellet. I have a cockerel, so I don't want to feed a layer feed, which has calcium he doesn't need. I have crushed egg shells and oyster shell on the side for the girls. At 20%, they get plenty of protein, and I can give them a *few* treats like BOSS, grapes, pumpkin, mealworms. None of those has 20% protein, so it will "dilute" the percentage of protein that they're getting, but no too much.

As for the pasty butt... once a poop or two get into the poofy feathers under the vent, it seems to grab any other poop that comes out! Also, some treats can give chickens loose stools (mine had very loose stools after a cucumber), and that will collect on the poop that's stuck there. It's probably still warm enough in Florida to have flies, and the poop can attract them. If they lay eggs in her vent, that can cause flystrike. The eggs hatch, and the maggots eat and burrow into the chicken's vent tissue. Definitely NOT a good thing.

If the poop actually seals the vent shut -- much more likely to happen to a very young chick -- the bird can die.
Thank you!
I am going to get grit, more calcium & will ensure they're getting enough protein. I'm definitely on board with prevention when at all possible!

There are no flies at all, thank goodness!
I did see a few suggestions on what to use to get the dry stool off the fluff, but I worry which is best. I know to go slow & be very careful not to tear the skin by pulling. I soak the area with a warm wash cloth & use ?... suggestions that are safe please. I have: Coconut oil (medicinal quality), blue dawn dish soap (not my first choice), cooking oil...?
Thank you for your help!
 

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