new feed + hot weather = runny poo?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ^_^, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. ^_^

    ^_^ In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2008
    Atlantic Canada
    I had planned on easing my way onto the board instead of just jumping in with a question, but I browsed a bunch of the older topics and didn't really find an answer (like I have with all my previous questions - you guys are great!) So... Please allow me to pick your collective brain. [​IMG]

    Ok, here's what's going on. We have three dozen cornish cross chickens and half a dozen brown laying hens. They're all three weeks old and we got them as day old chicks. This is our first time with chickens. They were started on medicated starter and a couple of days ago (Monday) we switched to non-medicated organic starter. It's been pretty hot the past couple of days. I've been letting them outside pretty much every day in the past week or so unless it's raining or nobody's home. They're not free range, they have a fair sized run. I leave the door to the coop open and they have shade outside in the run too.

    Anyway, after all that background info, I've noticed they've been having a lot of runny poop today. I actually watched a couple of them poo and it's almost like projectile pooping. It's actually kind of shooting out their behinds instead of just dropping out like the more solid poos do. [​IMG] I'm just hoping it's because it was hot out today and they drank more water than usual. Maybe their system is kinda wonky because of the switch in feed? They're acting fine, as active as always. Eating/drinking fine. The meat birds never seem to stop eating. (next year we're going to go with something a little slower growing because they're kind of freaking us out).

    I know there's a ton of knowledge on this board, looking forward to hearing what you have to say!
  2. antlers

    antlers Songster

    Jun 20, 2008
    East Cent Minnesota
    Fast changes of anything can throw them off. If your % protein in the feeds was the same it is possible but unlikely that this was the case. Could be heat. Could also just be introduction of fresh green stuff in the run. THink what happens to you if you eat too many fresh vegiges....
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008
  3. ^_^

    ^_^ In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2008
    Atlantic Canada
    I should add, when I say hot I mean hot for here. It was around 86 today. Hot for us. but from the reading I've been doing I see that it gets a lot hotter where some of you are!

    Thanks for the quick reply Antlers. I went out to the coop to see if I could find a tag off the old bag of feed but had no luck. The new stuff is 20% protein.

    While I was out there I noticed there are still a lot of runny poos around in the shavings but they seem to be less watery than this afternoon. I spread some more shavings around (that didn't impress the birds very much, lol). Hopefully things will be better tomorrow.
  4. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    you could try giving them some plain active culture yogurt to help their systems..
    if they are eating veggies and drinking more water then usual..the droppings will be more runny.
    cut back on veggies and fruits..
    also, any quick change in feed.

    but it would be a good idea to be prepared to treat for cocci..
    Sulmet or Corid (amprolium)

    have they been treated for worms?
  5. ^_^

    ^_^ In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2008
    Atlantic Canada
    Sammi - I tried giving them some yogurt one day last week. They were more interested in walking in it, lol. Will give that a try again this afternoon though. Maybe today they'll realize it's food. I sprinkled a bit of feed over the top last time hoping they'd make the connection, but it didn't work.

    I'll pick up treatments. Even if I don't need them this time it would be nice to have some on hand.

    Ok, I did a bunch more googling (last night I was trying to read while pretty tired and things weren't really clicking). This page --> Dealing with Coccidiosis in Pastured Poultry had some good info that kind of put me a little more at ease.

    The only thing I haven't really followed on their list is having a normal supply of food available all the time. I tend to underfill the feeder in the evening, and it's empty by the morning. I figured it would encourage them to sleep instead of eating (and maybe poop less in the coop!), but maybe it's actually encouraging them to scrounge around in the shavings instead. The shavings in the coop aren't filthy, but the coop has begin to give off a mild ammonia smell in the past few days. I've been faithfully raking and adding shavings but I think I'll shovel the whole thing out and start off with a new layer of fresh shavings again today.

    I keep their water clean. It drove me crazy for the first while because they seemed to have the goal of getting as much poop and shavings as possible in there, lol. We've since hung the inside waterer from the roof and raised the outside one up on blocks. Their feed is clean too. Started out with one of those metal trough feeders but they were getting it covered in poop and full of shavings too. I made one of those bucket feeders with the plastic tray bottoms and it's fantastic! (Will have to post a picture in the appropriate thread later). They don't waste feed all over the place, can't climb on/in it, and it doesn't get full of poo/shavings. Plus I don't have to clean/fill it multiple times in one day.

    Everything's dry. It's only rained a couple of times in the past week or so and neither time terribly heavily. I made sure the run had dried out pretty well before they went out. There's no place that water puddles or creates mud in the run. It's kind of on the edge of the woods, so I think the tree coverage helps a lot.

    There have been no previous owners with poultry or anything here. Our lot was all wooded up until a few years ago and we're the only people to have lived here. There are wild birds of course, but no over abundance of bird poo around the coop/pen.

    I stumbled across a couple of good threads on BYC about unmediated feed/cocci/etc. Wow, with the differing opinions I'm as confused as ever, but at least I feel more informed! This thread in particular made my head spin, lol.

    Next year I'm thinking we'll order some vaccinated chicks and save a bit of the stress, and not go with the cornish crosses (meat kings). That freakishly fast growth can't be good for the immune system to begin with. (I'm not sure what other meat birds grow like, but these ones make the laying hens look like the haven't grown at all!) I think they'll be easy to eat though - they really don't have a lot of personality and to be honest, they're past the cuteness stage. The laying hens, otoh, I've become quite attached to. [​IMG]

    edited to add - No, they haven't been wormed. No treats today, with the exception of giving the yogurt another try.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  6. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Certainly sounds like it...
    Cornish crosses are like mutants: they bulk up pretty you can see them growing...

    I know that when it gets hot the birds drink a ton!!! I need to fill up the one for my wild birds oops.

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