Really loose stools, hens seem healthy otherwise


Mar 16, 2016
Midwest US
My free range hens have been nothing but problems since I bought them off Craiglist a couple years ago. They came from a really overcrowded yard in the city, and had lice at the time and I didn't know the signs, being a new chicken owner, so dealt with that for a long while. They also had scaly leg mites, and we've finally gotten both of those things under control. Last year I saw a worm in poo, so I used Wazine and they've been fine. I noticed a few poopy bottoms a few weeks ago so checked them all for lice, and they all passed but I dusted them with poultry dust anyways to be safe. They also have wood ash to dust bathe in anytime they want under the coop.

I started seeing more poopy bottoms (and not just a little poo, but really messy) so I treated them all with pour-on ivermectin last week.

Now this week they all have really messy bottoms, even the Dominique hens, which were added later to the flock, and never have had lice or poopy bottoms. I read about chicken diseases and see coccidiosis as a potential problem, but all the hens seem really happy, still shiny feathers and none are lethargic, and just starting laying well again after the winter. They are still foraging really well, and the poo under their roost looks more formed and no problems there.

I don't think our vet does anything with chickens, so no stool samples. I attached a couple pictures of poo on the driveway, these aren't bad compared to what I've been seeing this last week. Sometimes it's also mostly white runny stool, and usually a much larger area of loose stool. hen poo2.JPG hen poo1.JPG .
I saw only one poo with some red in it and strings, looked like intestinal lining maybe but not blood?
Some of them still have formed poo, but I'm seeing a lot of diarrhea.

What should I try next? Thanks
Reworm them if it has been over 30 days since their last worming. After worming, mix buttermilk in their feed for a several days. It should stop the diarrhea even if you've wormed them within 30 days.
The loose stool in the pics looks normal.
What do you feed them? The chances are it is something they are eating... either in their everyday feed, treats or something they are foraging free range. At this time of year a few green shoots will just be coming through. Even loose poop should not soil their feathers though. Soiling usually indicates there is some abdominal swelling resulting in there no longer being an overhang on the vent, so poop snags instead of dropping clear.
Poop samples can be sent off to state agricultural diagnostic labs for testing if your local vet will not do a faecal float test for you and should be a lot cheaper than the vets. Better to test and treat if necessary than keep pumping chemicals into them which may not be appropriate, especially when they already appear to have a digestive upset.
I would be inclined to try fermenting their feed if you don't already do that as it should improve their gut flora. It's very easy to do.
They get feed from the farm store, scraps when we have them, and are free range on many acres (although they choose usually to hang out and poop by our door/sidewalk!).

Anyone else have thoughts on what it might be? I'll look into sending something off
What is the feed from the farm store? Is it a pellet or crumble or whole grain mix? Is it a layer or a flock raiser? What % protein does it have? I have been told that barley has a tendency to cause loose stools in poultry so perhaps check the label for that?
It's a layer pellet, the same one they've been on for 2 years so i don't think that's the issue as the poopy bottoms are a recent thing.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom