One hen with chronic diarrhea

dfteason

Chirping
Jul 5, 2020
14
39
51
One of our five hens has had diarrhea off and on for probably almost a year. She is an Easter Egger and about 18 months old. I feed them layer crumble with added probiotics, plus fly grubs and scratch mix for treats.

Despite her diarrhea, up until recently she has acted perfectly fine, eating and drinking and running around with the rest of the flock. About a month ago she did some molting - not severe, mostly neck and tail feathers. Not long after she stopped laying. She still eats and drinks and acts fairly normally, except that she spends most of her time by herself away from the others, and she has started going up to roost a half hour to an hour before the others. She's clearly not contagious since none of the others are showing any symptoms.

I'm just not sure what direction to go in: deworming? antibiotics? other ideas? Is it a social problem? She used to be top of the pecking order, but I doubt that she still is - she's too aloof. I don't see anyone bullying her, but she sometimes seems afraid, unlike the very bold girl that she used to be.

Thank you for any help!
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,799
11,392
611
North Florida
Some of the behaviors could be just from the molt. Even if she's not obviously molting with big bare patches, she may still be molting. It can be so gradual that it's not noticable unless you pick them up and look closely for pin feathers. Molt and new feathers coming in can make them very uncomfortable, those new feathers can be sensitive coming in, they often distance themselves from others because they just don't want to be touched. They can be cranky, standoffish, and sometimes just don't feel good. Some birds will try to roost alone, or stop roosting to stay apart. Most birds stop laying when they molt, it takes too much energy to grow new feathers, they can't really do both. Depending on age, breed and individual genetics, some birds stop laying during molt and don't start laying again until spring when the daylight hours increase. Other birds will start laying again once molt is really complete. Some birds can take several months to complete molt, others may be quicker, it's pretty individual and can vary bird to bird and year to year. Make sure she's eating and drinking well, sometimes they don't during molt. If she's not then scrammbled or chopped cooked egg will often tempt them, and it's high protein so will help with feather growth. Try to keep treats and extras to higher protein foods, that will help with molt. Switching to an all flock, or flockraiser type feed will have a bit higher protein also. Many of us feed that year round, just make sure they have access to oyster shell all the time in another feeder for the extra calcium they need. Those that need it will take it.
For the runny droppings, I would recommend you get a fecal float test done, some vets will do for a chicken, some won't. There are also mail in versions you can do:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...9&pd_rd_w=5Y90b&pd_rd_wg=H3qxG&ref_=pd_gw_unk
Sometimes parasites can be the reason for runny droppings, this is an easy way to rule that in or out. You can also give probiotics, there are some made for chickens, there are all species ones like Probios, or you can use human ones and just give her one capsule a day.
 

dfteason

Chirping
Jul 5, 2020
14
39
51
Thanks so much for your detailed reply. I had wondered if some of her behaviors might be about her molting and that makes sense in terms of her staying away from the rest of the flock and roosting early to avoid contact.

I think I’ll try the Amazon fecal test you recommend - we have a vet who takes care of chickens but they’re a bit of a drive. She was tested last year and was negative for parasites, but this is this year!

Thanks again.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom