Poop in feathers after egg-laying

DonyaQuick

Songster
Jun 22, 2021
125
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Upstate NY (Otsego county), USA
One of my chickens just started laying recently; 4 eggs so far, spaced every couple of days. The first egg was fine, but after each subsequent one she's had one or more turds stuck to her feathers when she exits the coop. I've cleaned her up each time and let her dry in the house before taking her back out since it's freezing temperatures. The poop is always normal-looking, although it was frozen solid the first time I discovered her with it. It also isn't getting on her skin, just sticking in the ends of the fluffy feathers below the vent. It's getting really pressed into about the outer half of the feather fibers though, so she's hard to clean. This chicken has never had problems like this before and poops normally the rest of the time (as she happily demonstrated on my floor this morning after being cleaned). I have several others laying and there's never poop in the nest boxes, so I'm not sure what's goin on with this one chicken. Is it just a new laying thing that she'll work her way out of eventually?

(edited just to fix typo)
 
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rosemarythyme

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Jul 3, 2016
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DonyaQuick

Songster
Jun 22, 2021
125
326
116
Upstate NY (Otsego county), USA
Is the poop getting on the eggs too? Some birds have a harder time "shutting down" the hatch between their digestive and reproductive tract, so end up pooping on their eggs as they lay. They can grow out of it though for some it may be a chronic issue.

For the time being I would trim the feathers under the vent: https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...-to-prevent-poopy-butt.1493668/#post-24951174

The eggs have been totally clean, so I assume the poop is somehow happening separately and probably after she lays the egg given that the nest box stays clean too.

Will trimming the feathers under the vent cause any issues for her staying warm? Temperatures are currently 20-34ish Fahrenheit. On the plus, this particular chicken turns into tension-less, melty blob when I pick her up, so it would be easy to do the trim.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
18,193
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WA, Pac NW
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Will trimming the feathers under the vent cause any issues for her staying warm? Temperatures are currently 20-34ish Fahrenheit. On the plus, this particular chicken turns into tension-less, melty blob when I pick her up, so it would be easy to do the trim.
It shouldn't affect it, especially if you keep the trimming in line under the vent, as once you let go of the chicken the rest of the feathers will fold right over the trimmed area and cover it up.
 
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DonyaQuick

Songster
Jun 22, 2021
125
326
116
Upstate NY (Otsego county), USA
Apparently my poopy chicken fooled me - it was just a coincidence and nothing to do with laying eggs. I'm quite sure she didn't lay today, and yet she waltzed out of the coop with a brand new poopy butt for me to clean when I opened the door this morning. So, I guess I need to retract that part of my thread title since she's clearly just finding a way to do this in the coop for whatever reason, and it looked correlated with eggs because she goes in the coop to lay. There is a suspicious brown smear on the coop wall...she may be backing her butt up against the wall to rest but I don't know why she would do that.

I also established that her fluffy under-feathers are also somewhat longer than on my others. I imagine that isn't helping things. Still going to give her another couple days to see if she figures it out, but will also try to get a pair of new sharp scissors next time I'm in town to do a trim if needed (and I imagine it will be).
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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Go ahead and trim.
Probably has nothing to do with laying.
Oops, thought I posted this yesterday.

but will also try to get a pair of new sharp scissors next time I'm in town to do a trim if needed (and I imagine it will be).
Yeppers!
I use a pair of nose hair scissors, they have nice rounded ends.
 

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