Need Help ~ Free Range Chickens ~ Parasites?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Reptigirl, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Reptigirl

    Reptigirl Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Antonio, Tx
    Well I seem to have something going on with my chickens. I'm not entirely sure what it is and locating a polutry vet seems nearly impossible. I have called the local "avian" vets and they do not deal with chickens. I have also called the local vets to see if they will at least do a fecal for me.... no such luck.

    We live on 6 acres and the chickens free range. My baby chicks are feed medicated chick starter and are kept inside until 3-4 weeks and then moved outside into there own pen until old enough to mix with the big girls.

    My problems seem to start as soon as they are moved outside. There poo turns so gross! Watery, light brown puddles. Several of my adult chickens seem to have constantly dirty butts that have to be cleaned off. I know chicken poo can take all shapes and colors but this just is not right. Its ALWAYS liquid. Never solid or formed.

    Over the last 8 months these are the wormers I have tried.

    A chicken hobbyist informed me I probably had coccidia. Tried treating for that twice. Both times there poop cleared up and was solid....somewhat normal to what I would expect chicken poo. This only lasted a few days after the full coccidia treatment. Then the yucky poo was back. My chickens were young at the time and I hoped they would build an immunity to it.

    A few months went by with yucky poo and I tried wazine. The poop cleared up for a good 7-10 days. Retreated after 3 weeks. Poop cleared up again! But same as all the other times by 7-10 days out they were getting runny poo again.

    Waited a month from the last wormer and was then recommend Ivomectin. I am 5 days out from that treatment and seeing no improvement. (I did see some weird white specks (1/2 the size of a grain of rice) that appeared to be worms in some of the poos right before starting the ivomectin treatment. Those are the only things i have seen in the poo.)

    I so tired of tossing my eggs because of the wormers but I'm equally tiered of runny chicken poo on EVERYTHING! Big blobs of smelly liquid poo! I have been around many chickens and have not see this much yucky poo before! It is also less then exciting to wash my chickens back sides because of the mess.


    The only thing I see wrong with my chickens is they are slow to laying. Most were 8+ months before starting to lay. And they lay infrequently. This has always been even in the months between wormers. I have RIRs, Barred Rocks, RIR crosses, Black Copper Maron crosses & cochins. I have 13 hens over the age of 8 months (some nearing 11 months) and only get 1-6 eggs a day. I recently locked them in the coop (just in case they were laying out of sight) and have only gotten 7 eggs in 3 days!
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Sounds like you tried a lot of meds with no lasting results. You might want to try to reculture their bowels now by feeding yogurt, buttermilk or unpastuerized ACV(my personal fave). It's one thing to try and kill the "bad" bacteria in the bowel, quite another if you kill off all the good while you are doing it. The bad will keep recurring unless you reculture the bowel with probios.

    What are you feeding? You might try something a little more bulky and with less protein for a little while, like whole grains mixed with laying mash. Then try building up their immune systems naturally, instead of crutching up poor immune systems with meds.

    I'd put some ACV in their water on a daily basis, maybe offer some kelp meal free choice for added mineral supplements.
  3. shober

    shober Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2011
    Hi Reptgirl,

    I see that you are in Texas, could it be something they are eating? Like loco weed? Nightshade? They do love to forage greens! Did you try the antibiotic for the water? Check the weeds in the area where they hang out. Maybe do some research on the local flora and fauna?

    Keep your chin up! I'm sure you will find a solution! [​IMG] Or some one else will know what the answer is. There are so many with excellent experience! [​IMG]
  4. Reptigirl

    Reptigirl Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Antonio, Tx
    Been feeding Purina Egg Layena to all the free range girls.

    They do get ACV in there water 2-3 times a week. (Not the weeks they got the medications).

    A few days after each Wazine treatment I feed them Rice mixed with yogurt.

    I also fed them oatmeal mixed with yogert after the Ivomec treatment.

    Also forgot to mention a few of my newest baby chicks have had bouts of sour crop after being released with the big girls... Not sure if it is related but this is the 1st time it has ever happened. No idea what could have done it. Antibiotics seems to be the only thing that cures it.

    Oh, and one last thing. We are in a TERRIBLE drought. No rain, no grass. Just dust & dirt. Wondering if that could have something to do with it. I have a small area under a shade tree I run the sprinkler once a week for the chickens... helps to draw in the bugs and keep a little patch of grass. It's not much but they spend a lot of time there.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Sounds like you are doing all the right things.....I have no idea what it could be! I've never had any sickness in my flocks, so I have limited experience with fixing it~ just preventing it! [​IMG]
  6. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    I've seen a lot of folks post on this site that their chickens drink more when the weather is hot, and this causes their poop to be runny. I've experienced this with my own hens, but we don't have heat and drought in PA as bad as you have. Do your chickens have any other symptoms if illness (I see they have also had some sour crop issues), or are they otherwise healthy? Might they simply be drinking a lot causing their poop to get runny? I'll try to do some research to see if I can turn up any answers for you.
  7. Reptigirl

    Reptigirl Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Antonio, Tx
    Quote:Hum.... I never thought about the amount of water they drank being the problem!!! It's hard to say how much water per chicken in consumed. I have 5 one gallon buckets of water available at all times. I change them out 2-3 times a day. Plus the goats sometimes drink out of them. Maybe that is the reason! I can only hope at least!

    LOL one more reason to hate this extreme heat!!!
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    My sheep used to do the same thing...their poop didn't get runny but it would get more gummy and soft during hot weather due to high water consumption.
  9. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
  10. LaurelRidgeDreams

    LaurelRidgeDreams Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2010
    Mountains of NC
    Are they drinking a lot of water? Capillaria worms can be an issue with birds who have or have had crop mycosis, sour crop. I had this happen to my flock. Capillaria is hard to diagnose. You might take a poo sample to a vet and ask them to look for Capillaria eggs. If they find one, my vet suggests treating. There are a couple of wormers that will work for Capillaria. I used Fenbendazole paste for five days. There is something else that starts with an L that can be mixed in water. First State Vet Supply carries it. Good luck!

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