Poopy bottoms on older hens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Vadgo, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. Vadgo

    Vadgo In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2009
    I have 14 chickens 7 mo old (4 roosters, 4 bantams, 6 others). They free range every day. Egg production seems to have gone down, but not really sure because I usually get 5/6 eggs ave. per day with highs of 8/9. Two days in the past week I've had 3 eggs. I thought maybe with daylight decreasing, maybe that was normal. But now I don't know.

    All chickens are acting normal, eating normal, drinking normal. No funny behavior. Inspecting the droppings around the yard, they don't look out of the ordinary. Chickens that I've seen poop (even with the poopy butts) the poop looks fine, but sometimes they will have a normal one then next one is a bit runnier, but color looks fine, a few brown ones here and there. No sign of blood in poop that I can see. And they don't seem to have diarrhea.

    Taking a critical look at them, it looks like the BO and the two BR look skinnier, their feathers not as fluffly. But when I picked them up they didn't really seem any smaller in the body.

    I thought maybe mites or lice? So last night I got very up close and personal with all of my chicken butts to investigate, most of them had dried poop in their feathers.

    Listed from severe stuck on poop on feathers to very mild case: My BO, my 2 BR, my RIR, OEG, blue rosecomb banties, my buttercup, and my german spitz have poopy butt feathers. Vents look clean, didn't see any red, white, black or grey spots or dots that might be lice or mites. Only on one of them did I see something that looked like a ball no bigger than the tip of a needle (very tiny) that I thought might possibly be an egg of some sort. But I've never seen what mites/lice/eggs would look like, so not sure what I'm looking for (anyone have pictures?)

    None of the roosters have this problem. And my mottled houdan doesn't have it either. She is the only one that nests on a corner in the floor because she doesn't see that there are nest boxes up higher. All others that appear to have an issue share three nest boxes.

    So just in case, I powdered their butts with DE, cleaned the nest boxes and put DE with clean bedding in them, and rubbed the roost poles with DE. Tonight I will clip the chunks of dried poop. It's too cold to try to wash it off.
    I planned on cleaning the coop to get ready for winter later this month, but I will be doing it this weekend instead in case it is mites/lice and I just can't tell.

    I plan on spraying the coop walls, nest, poles, and floor with orange guard, then spray with a whitewash solution of DE and water. Put sand and DE in concrete floor then shavings with DE mixed in to start the deep litter process again. Sand and DE in dusting box and in their favorite dust spot outside.

    I was reading about leg mites, and now that I think about it, I think I saw a few feet that looked "dry", so I will take a look at them tonight and see if they have that.

    I gave them yogurt on saturday and again last night, and put electrolytes in their water. Will buy ACV today and put that in.

    If it isn't lice/mites, what could be causing the poopy butts? Any suggestions as to treatment?

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  2. GertieBird

    GertieBird In the Brooder

    Sep 23, 2008
    Triad of NC
    I have a 1 1/2 year old hen who always has some buildup on her bum. Her poops are normal most of the time. When chickens evacuate their cecae (2 blind pouches in their intestines which are similar to the appendix), which happens daily or so, the material is much like chocolate pudding. This tends to build up on my hens fluffy bum feathers. I used to wash her regularly, but is was disconcerting because she'd start getting the feathers dirty 2-3 days after washing. And, like you said, if it's too cold, you don't want to wash your birds, even if it's just a butt bath.

    SO- I just read about clipping the feathers to about 1cm long, starting just under the vent. I did this 2 1/2 weeks ago with my hen (made a strip about 1-1 1/2 inches wide and about 2-3 inches long) and she's still clean! And? You can't even tell she's been trimmed. Do take care when trimming with scissors so that you don't cut the delicate skin: I used my [gloved] fingers as a guard, like I would if I were cutting someone's hair.

    So if your birds are acting ok otherwise, they just may need a Brazillian! [​IMG]

    Hope this helps!
  3. Vadgo

    Vadgo In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2009
    Thanks Gertie. I hope is nothing really to worry about. But the fact that they have been clean for the last seven months, and now all of the sudden this past week they seem to be getting the poopy butts I thought maybe something is going on.

    I also thought that since they free range and birds are migrating now, maybe a lice/mite infestation might not be unreasonable, and I read somewhere that the stress of the mites/lice might cause digestive issues.

    So far behavior wise they seem normal, only that they are spending more time inside the coop or huddled in their lean to outside the coop since it's been cold and windy. I just don't want it to be some sort of worm or bacteria/infection that I overlook and end up with very sick chickens.


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