Possible poo problem in newly-laying hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dukecitychick, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. dukecitychick

    dukecitychick Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi - I am new to chicken ownership and new to this forum, and possibly paranoid! One of my hens is having weird poo, and I'll post some pictures, but here's some background:

    I built a coop recently and bought 4 hens from a local feed store - I think they're around 6 months old but I'm really not sure (I was so excited to get them I forgot to ask!). There's a Blue Analusian, a Buff Orp, a Black sex-link, and an Ameraucana. We brought them home a week and a half ago and since then I've been reading all the posts on here about how all store-bought adult chickens are sick! :) I have them in a 4'x8' coop with nice branches for roosts and two next boxes. I have shredded paper in there as bedding. The run is pretty big and I've been leaving them out during the days - it's just dirt. Feeding them layer pellets, 24% which seems high but is what the guy at the feed store recommended (maybe b/c they're young?). I give them some scratch to play with too, lots of clean water each day, and treats as available from the kitchen.

    Anyways, having read lots of "sick chicken threads", now I'm paranoid and watching them intently (for the short periods of time I'm home each day) to see if anything's wrong with them and at least get a feel for what their "normal" behavior is. (So far they are pretty hilarious.)

    The Blue Andalusian laid an egg the first day we let them out into the run (I think she was waiting to be bribed!). I'm pretty sure it was her because it was white and none of the rest should lay white eggs. Two days later the black sex-link laid an egg (that was two days ago), and she laid another one yesterday. I'm pretty sure it was her because her comb is bigger than the Buff Orp's. All the eggs so far have been pretty small, leading me to believe they're the first ones these ladies have laid, but I could be wrong about that.

    The black sex-link, though, had the weirdest poo in front of me this morning. Right after I let them all out I noticed a freshie that was the biggest chicken poo I've ever seen - there's more of it under the stick. (below)


    As big as the Ameraucana's head! But I didn't see who did it. What I did see a little later was the sex-link basically squirting out water with these little green balls in it!


    For reference, the little paper discs are elm seeds that are about 1/2" across.


    I have read a bunch of posts involving green poo and impacted crop/not eating, but those birds all seemed lethargic. This one is full of energy - she went crazy for some onion scraps this morning, chased the other chickens after them, etc. She seems to be drinking fine (they all love the outdoor water pan). Just the wierd poo.

    This picture is from Monday (four days ago):

    They are not yet "handle-able" and I don't have a net. I've been working a lot on feeding them treats from my hands (onion pieces, pear cores, peppers, etc) so that they get used to being close to me and will eventually not mind being picked up. (Is this a pipe dream?) But I imagine when they come in to roost tonight I can maybe get ahold of her and feel her crop (not that I have any idea what to feel for!). Then I guess the logical thing would be to compare in the morning and see if it's emptied??

    So my main questions are:
    Is this poo anything to worry about anyways?

    Could she get impacted crop from eating the shredded paper in the coop? (it's New Mexico, so there's no grass in the run!) For the record, I haven't seen any of them eating paper.

    Is there any weird digestive syndrome associated with beginning to lay eggs?

    And finally, because everyone on here seems so knowledgeable, is there any treatment I should give them right off the bat like wormer or anything?

    thanks for any advice!
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think what you're seeing is a reaction to onion. I don't have my list handy but I believe it should be avoided- I'll check and post below this.

    Other than that you do get some watery poops on and off when they begin to lay. Their repo systems and digestive rely on the same opening at the end after all!

    You will see layers provide big droppings, especially if they follow laying.

    Hope this serves to relax you!

    Yep- avoid onions

    'ONION (Allium cepa); bulbs, bulblets, flowers, stems; gastrointestinal tract affected by plant toxins; plant also causes dermatitis.'



    But that's why we have this section- let us know how your birds are doing![​IMG]

    Oh and generally it would be better to offer the treats in a bowl because you want them coming to you, but not pecking you![​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  3. dukecitychick

    dukecitychick Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    Thanks for the reassurance - I thought onions were on the "OK" list and they sure go crazy for 'em! I'll stop giving them onions and see what happens.

    But as for treatments/assessments for new hens to make sure I'm not missing anything key, anybody have any suggestions?

    Here's all 4 of them together in the coop:


  4. damselfish

    damselfish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    They look lovely, and they will get used to you eventually. Go and sit in the run with them when you have time. Get as low as you can so you're not looming over them. Sprinkle some food on your knee or boot (some body part that is covered so they can peck with impunity), and let them make their way over.

    Have fun!

    I'll leave the higher experts on here for any more medical advice, I'm still pretty new too.


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