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Pooh stuck to feathers - how to get off & is it a problem??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kittikatti69, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. kittikatti69

    kittikatti69 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 9, 2007
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    This one is about my hens, not my chicks. I have noticed that their "behinds" are getting a bit dirty looking, so I thought I'd inspect closer. Surprisingly, they let me walk right up and mess with their bums... sort of odd for them. Anyway... it looks like there is a couple wads of poo on each hens behind, and it is adhered rather tightly to her... well... butt feathers. [​IMG] I was able to grab one of the clumps off my barred gal, but I think it may have pulled a few small feathers along with it. The second clump was not as close to her vent and seemed more tightly adhered. I wasn't able to pull that one off. My buff gal didn't let me get close enough the second time around (I didn't have napkins with me when they let me inspect them... and they were a bit more reluctant when I made attempt #2, with napkins in hand, lol). They were not blocked up by the caked on pooh... but I can't imagine it's okay to just leave it.

    I'm wondering if this is sort of a normal maintenance thing (they're Plymouth Rock hens) or if it could be a sign of a problem? They're also not laying currently (see yesterdays post), so I'm not sure if it's related or not. They seem to be "going" normally, and they act fine. I have notice more white substance in their pooh... sometimes almost looking like there is eggshell over a good portion of it. Is this normal?

    They are eating organic layer pellets, they have free access to oyster shell, they free-range in my organic yard for bugs & whatever else they find, and they have fresh water in their house. I replace their straw (bedding) every weekend or sometimes every other, if they've kept it clean and dry. They seem to use one nestbox for a toilet, so I dump that one every few days. They're really clean gals... which is why the caked pooh confuses me.

    Advice on how to soften the caked on pooh would be appreciated... and is this something to worry about??
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2007
  2. chickens^^

    chickens^^ Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 9, 2007
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    Well since they are chicks, they probably stubble some and fall over every once in a while. Thay have probably just fell in some poop and it dried on. It should not be anytihng you should worry about unless it continues to happen for a long time esspecially into adulthood. I would sujjest just putting water on it and let the water soak in for a while then take some paper towels and wipe it off. This may need to be repeated several times. Hope this helps.
     
  3. kittikatti69

    kittikatti69 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 9, 2007
    NW Washington State
    This is my hens, NOT my chicks...
     
  4. nikkimay

    nikkimay Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 8, 2007
    Pacific NW
    Yes - that can grow to be a real problem! (read about what my girl is going through now)

    It's best to wash their tushes with some warm water and try to break off the clumps as much as possible. You can also trim their feathers a bit, so there is less in the area to stick to.

    Do try to avoid pulling out the feathers.
     
  5. kittikatti69

    kittikatti69 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 9, 2007
    NW Washington State
    Hmmm... I can only imagine how fun it's going to be to attempt to get my girls into the kitchen and wash their tushies in the sink. I'm picturing wet, terribly ticked off chickens flying frantically through my house! :eek: I think it's gonna be an interesting night.

    As far as trimming the feathers... I'd thought of that. I have to keep one of my cat's butthair cut fairly short or she gets the same way. How far down can you cut the feathers before they'll bleed? They have "quicks" in them like claws do, don't they?
     
  6. nikkimay

    nikkimay Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 8, 2007
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    my girls have always been surprisingly easy going about the tushy baths... as for how far you can cut - i think only some feathers have blood in them, like the main flight feathers.... i have never had a problem.... but a quick phone call to an avian vet could probably answer that for you.

    good luck
     
  7. MTchick

    MTchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    Mature feathers don't really have "quicks," unless they are the big fat wing feathers. Body feathers (like butt feathers or chest feathers) should be very easy to trim and not potentially bloody or painful. Remember that bird skin is really delicate so be careful- wrapping your hen's entire body in a bathtowel as a gentle restraint before trimming might make the process safer for both of you!

    Note that trimmed feathers WILL NOT grow back until the bird molts. Thus, if you give a hen a bald butt, it will keep it for up to one year. The bird's feather growing system only reacts to missing feathers and molting feathers, not trimmed feathers. That is why trimming wing feathers keeps a bird from flying for a whole year.

    Also- is the poopy hen butt phenomenon new? Maybe they've got worms... or there was a big change in diet that upset their systems. It might be a symptom of something worrisome, potentially.

    -MTchick
     
  8. kittikatti69

    kittikatti69 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 9, 2007
    NW Washington State
    Well, it's sort of new... but I've made diet changes too. And it's not like they have diarrhea... it's just normal pooh... but it is stuck in the feathers.

    About 2 mo ago I changed them over to an organic layer crumble (from their regular non-organic layer crumble, which they were laying great on). They almost immediately stopped laying with the new food... it was more of a dust than a crumble. A couple weeks ago I switched again, to an organic layer pellet from a different brand. They seem to like it, but still haven't resumed laying.

    The buff hen has had a bit of a dirty butt for much longer than the barred hen.

    How would I know if it's worms? I inspected the pooh and didnt' see anything obvious (I know with cat/dog worms you can usually see them). Do feed stores offer fecal sampling, or does it have to be a vet? I'm not even sure if my vet does chickens... guess we'll be finding out.
     
  9. kittikatti69

    kittikatti69 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 9, 2007
    NW Washington State
    To all: BOY were they MAD at ME! [​IMG] I coaxed them over to me with sunflower seeds, then grabbed Pearl (my barred gal) and wrapped her in a towel & started trimming. She was pretty good about it, but when I let her go, she just stood there panting like she was in a trance. More treats finally pulled her out of it, but I was kinda worried for a minute.

    Blondie (the buff) wanted NOTHING to do with me after seeing how I'd violated her pal. LOL I had to chase her around the patio till I cornered her. She fought more than Pearl did, but I got 'em trimmed. She was ticked when I let her go.

    Anyway, I got everything pretty much trimmed off. There's no skin irritation that I could see and their vents look clean. There was a little bit of pooh still on the feathers that were too close to the skin to cut... but I didnt' want to attempt baths after traumatizing them so much, so I figure I'll wait a day or two and if it's still there then I'll bathe them.

    Nice to know they won't grow back till next moult (except for that the general consensus seems to be that they're molting NOW, hence the lack of eggs)... at least it won't be a regularly occurring ordeal.
     
  10. SoCal Girls

    SoCal Girls New Egg

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    Just as a follow-up from my own experience. Yes, my leghorn gal was a bit out of sorts about her rear being held under the faucet but the crud did dissolve and the next day all her feathers that I thought I might have to trim looked absolutely normal. She has stayed fine, now, with no recurrence of the stuck poo and it has been at least a month. I think the main answer is to get the stuff off, should it happen again, IMMEDIATELY and not wait, like I did the first time. Best of luck!
     

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