Should I be worried?

sca001

In the Brooder
Nov 17, 2020
16
6
19
Spokane, WA
We currently have 6 hens in our flock. 4 of which are about 8 months old and the other 2 are only about 4 months old. About a month ago, we lost a hen due to being egg bound. After speaking with our vet, we decided lack of nutrition was the only possibility for causing this. We changed their food to a high quality layer feed, changed how oyster shells are offered, and even started making them "breakfast" every morning. One morning will be scrambled eggs, yogurt, and kale and the next will be oatmeal, cottage cheese, and kale. We alternate each meal everyday. Ever since these changes, our hens have been looking very good but their poop sure has changed. They have very watery poop during the day which I have contributed to the amount of extra water they are getting in their daily breakfast. Last night, I noticed what looked to be a dried drip of blood on the lower coop wall. I don't think its been there long. I am now worried that maybe coccidiosis could be an issue. A fecal test will cost about $40 and Im not sure which bird the dropping came from. I am thinking of treating their water with Corid for a week as a safety net. Does anyone agree or think I should go a different route? Thank you in advance!
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,982
832
California's Redwood Coast
A fecal test will cost about $40 and Im not sure which bird the dropping came from. I am thinking of treating their water with Corid for a week as a safety net.
Hi there, welcome to BYC! :frow

You can treat with Corid as it won't hurt.. but that's very unlikely your issue unless there are newly added birds to your flock that might be carrying a strain that yours haven't developed immunity to or vice versa.. and your vet doesn't sound super avian wise per say.. unless you weren't using a formulated ration at all and were giving excess treats. Then maybe the suggestion was appropriate BUT that is far from being the only possibility. Genetics cannot be understated. I feed appropriately ALWAYS.. and have lost 3 ladies to egg binding.. out of hundreds (2 were the same breed stock). It happens even when WE do everything correctly.. AND can be heavily impacted by daylight hours, time of year, and/or artificial lighting.

Another cause of egg binding is double, triple, or multiple yolkers that cause giant eggs that will never pass naturally... most often in new layers or layers returning after molt or brooding and their reproductive system is working out hiccups still.

Cut out you breakfasts.. your not helping things! Very seriously!

Use a flock raiser with oyster shell on the side instead of layer.

A drop of blood on the lower coop wall would more likely come from a comb pecking or something like that. Blood in droppings caused by coccidiosis present as bright red and a lot of it! Very obvious. Also only ONE out of the 9-11 identified strains that effect poultry will present as blood in droppings. Looking at other clues can tell you if you should be concerned about coccidiosis.. Is she lethargic, standing around puffed up, not eating, or anything else that actually points to coccidiosis?

This is MY personal take.. with about 10 years of chicken keeping and too many of those obsessed about nutrition.

Eggs are nice on occasion as a treat.. but at 34% protein and 64% fat.. should NOT be given every other day.. and there are better choices than kale, oatmeal, and cottage cheese.

Example.. sprout your oats. Sprouted barley, grass clippings, etc.

Your birds are looking better because of the added protein.. but the other stuff they may bot have enzymes to even break it down and absorb it. Cottage cheese and yogurt.. probiotic sources... okay on occasion.. NOT every other day..

Offered from my heart and based in truth but no meanness intended, I can see you are trying and you care! Very sorry for your loss! :hugs
 

David61

Songster
Jul 27, 2019
791
1,762
206
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Over thinking it. Any chicken feed is all the need and if more than 10% of their food intake is not the chicken feed you are setting them up for poor nutrition . What you need to do, if you are not already doing so is secondary feeders and water . The pecking order could be the issue as in guarding the feeder.
Poop, look t the poop. It can tell you about your chickens health. About this age look for diarrhea/coccidia. I feed with flock raiser and oyster shell on the side.
How much room do they have? Close quarters can be some of this as well.
Chick booster/electrolytes in the water or Apple cider vinegar is all I would do unless something is identified .
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
62,462
55,478
1,322
southern Ohio
Your layer feed is fine when all of your pullets are laying, along with the crushed oyster shell on the side. I use Flock Raiser/all flock feed since my old girls are not laying anymore, and the extra calcium is too hard on their kidneys. All flock feed is alright for layers as well, as long as you have the oyster shell in a separate container.

I also think you are feeding too many extras. The feed has all of the nutrients needed. Most feed now has probiotics in them, but check the label. My girls also like the occasional treat of scrambled eggs or a handful of scratch grains, but don’t make them fat. Fat chickens may have problems with egg binding or fatty liver disease.
 

sca001

In the Brooder
Nov 17, 2020
16
6
19
Spokane, WA
Hi there, welcome to BYC! :frow

You can treat with Corid as it won't hurt.. but that's very unlikely your issue unless there are newly added birds to your flock that might be carrying a strain that yours haven't developed immunity to or vice versa.. and your vet doesn't sound super avian wise per say.. unless you weren't using a formulated ration at all and were giving excess treats. Then maybe the suggestion was appropriate BUT that is far from being the only possibility. Genetics cannot be understated. I feed appropriately ALWAYS.. and have lost 3 ladies to egg binding.. out of hundreds (2 were the same breed stock). It happens even when WE do everything correctly.. AND can be heavily impacted by daylight hours, time of year, and/or artificial lighting.

Another cause of egg binding is double, triple, or multiple yolkers that cause giant eggs that will never pass naturally... most often in new layers or layers returning after molt or brooding and their reproductive system is working out hiccups still.

Cut out you breakfasts.. your not helping things! Very seriously!

Use a flock raiser with oyster shell on the side instead of layer.

A drop of blood on the lower coop wall would more likely come from a comb pecking or something like that. Blood in droppings caused by coccidiosis present as bright red and a lot of it! Very obvious. Also only ONE out of the 9-11 identified strains that effect poultry will present as blood in droppings. Looking at other clues can tell you if you should be concerned about coccidiosis.. Is she lethargic, standing around puffed up, not eating, or anything else that actually points to coccidiosis?

This is MY personal take.. with about 10 years of chicken keeping and too many of those obsessed about nutrition.

Eggs are nice on occasion as a treat.. but at 34% protein and 64% fat.. should NOT be given every other day.. and there are better choices than kale, oatmeal, and cottage cheese.

Example.. sprout your oats. Sprouted barley, grass clippings, etc.

Your birds are looking better because of the added protein.. but the other stuff they may bot have enzymes to even break it down and absorb it. Cottage cheese and yogurt.. probiotic sources... okay on occasion.. NOT every other day..

Offered from my heart and based in truth but no meanness intended, I can see you are trying and you care! Very sorry for your loss! :hugs

This is so much great information! Very helpful! Thank you so much for your input! I will immediately cut out the breakfast for my hens. I am seeing that our local feed store sells Purina Flock Raiser crumble. I will pickup a 50 lb bag and work on getting them switched over. I will hold off on the Corid treatment for now and keep a close eye on them. Thank you again!
 

David61

Songster
Jul 27, 2019
791
1,762
206
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Something to stick in your hat, when adding supplemental things to water (corid, electrolytes ...) make a mash with the feed crumble ad water. They like a mash made with the feed and will adjust to the new taste of the water from having it in the mash.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,982
832
California's Redwood Coast
A fecal test will cost about $40 and Im not sure which bird the dropping came from.
It's a good idea to get floats in a couple different seasons and see where YOUR count stands.

Doing "group" floats is considered an accepted method.. multiple small samples combined into one test.

There are some mail in services that will test much cheaper! Floats run $25 at my vet, which is high.. your's is UP there! Your state poultry lab MIGHT offer fecal float services more affordably, there should be contact information in this link..
State poultry labs

I bought my own microscope ans supplies for under $150.. since chicken math included goats, pigs, dogs, and more.. Vet cost can become not feasible. So I get to run some cool and some gross experiments, have tons of fun, and continue my learning.. and practice.. early on, testing my personal results against that of the lab. Maybe a microscope is up your alley to?! ;)

Just make sure you do make oyster shell available nearby the feeder, next to the lay box, near the entry door to the coop.. places that are convenient and hard to miss.. I also only get soft shelled eggs.. as new or returning/exiting layer hiccups. And you don't have to put it at all those places they're just ideas that might work for you.

Layer feed is an acceptable choice as others have mentioned. It's adequate most of the time. Flock raiser did make a long term difference in the overall resilience of my birds from molt and such.. and it gives a little budge room for when lower nutrient treats might be consumed. It is costlier than layer.. but you get what you pay for and more nutrient WILL be going into the eggs your family consumes. Most of us keep chickens to be better than the industry not the same as them. Our cost will never be as low as super market eggs.. BUT the reward is so much more than just eggs! :highfive:

One final note since you are questioning nutrition.. Transportation, storage conditions, and age since MILL date all play a role in nutrient oxidization/depletion.. ALWAYS check the mill date.. require it to be NOT more than 6 weeks prior.. Some feeds and stores have different turn over amounts.. one of my local feed stores (LFS) had feed over a year old.. due to ordering too much and not enough turn around.. I can no longer buy from them. And even with the Purina.. there is a $2 difference per bag depending on which store I buy from. I have zero brand loyalty, but always read ingredients and this is what is available on regular basis with a fresh date in MY location and also in my price range. Don't forget to look at any feeds that might be milled more local to you.. sometimes they have fantastic options at great prices. :thumbsup

The main difference in ALL chicken feeds, no matter what the manufacturer calls it.. are protein and calcium levels.. followed by amino acids and then other vitamins and minerals. Active layers need about 4 - 5% calcium to make egg shells. Non layers need to be under 3% LONG term.. but closer to 1% seems to be average base need. Protein for chickens should be between 15 - 22% depending on age, breed, purpose, etc.

Yes as mentioned by another poster, many feeds including the Purina FR, do have prebiotics and/or probiotics in their formulation.. even when they don't spend funds on fancy advertising on the bags. They show up in the ingredients.. sometimes as fermentation product. Some folks even actually ferment their chicken feed. But mostly if things are in balance.. no need for adding magic fixes.. And chickens do well just letting their bodies work it's own magic when we provide the basics without "spoiling" them! :)
 

sca001

In the Brooder
Nov 17, 2020
16
6
19
Spokane, WA
BYC people are so very helpful. Welcome to the best forum on the internet, @sca001! And thank you for want to take such good care of your chickens. :thumbsup
Yes they are! This is the first time I have ever had chickens. My wife grew up with many different kinds of livestock through her childhood and persuaded me to get build a coop in our backyard at the beginning of this pandemic. Now, I cannot stop checking on my hens! They really are fun to watch and take care of! I did A TON of research before even designing the coop but I am finding there is AWLAYS a ton to learn. I am very thankful for the members of this forum to pass their knowledge on to me.
 

sca001

In the Brooder
Nov 17, 2020
16
6
19
Spokane, WA
Update: After reading everyone's advice, I went to the feed store and purchased a 50lb of Purina Flock Raiser Crumble, added apple cider vinegar to their water, and have completely stopped giving them any of the treats I spoke of in the original post. I also added another feeder at the opposite end of the yard (which they took to very quickly). My local North 40 was out of Corid when I stopped by today so I still have that on my to do list.
 

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