Skinny Hen pooping sand?


10 Years
Jul 20, 2012
Seattle, WA
My Barred Rock hen, Pepper, is recovering from coccidiosis. She finished her course of a sulfa med and is acting pretty normal now and is having solid poops. She's also taking corid for a few days along with her flock mates, just to be sure nobody else comes down with it.

She is a little off her chicken feed, seems to not be eating much of it, though she has a big appetite for treats like mealworms and grapes and grazes on greens a lot in the yard. I am giving her some probiotic powder on the grapes on advice of my vet to help her gut get back to normal.

My question is, is it weird that she's had a few poops that seem to consist almost entirely of sand? They have some sand in their coop, which is covered with wood shavings but they dig around and expose it. She seems to be eating it for some reason. They have access to a big bowl of grit which they don't seem to touch, plus they free range for at least an hour a day, usually longer.

I guess it is good that it is coming all the way through, but I just worry because she has lost weight and really needs to be eating real food, not dirt/sand. Her poop pile under the roost is smaller than the other girls so I know she's not eating as much as she should (or used to before she was sick).

To top it off she's also just started her first molt, which is bound to be extra hard on her since she's already thin.

Anybody dealt with something like this before? I asked my vet if I could give her scambled egg to help her gain weight and she said no, that it might make her fat(?!). Does it take them awhile to get their appetite back after battling cocci?
I would give her scrambled eggs if she wanted them to get her eating again. Try putting some of her chick feed in a bowl and adding raw egg and water to make a paste like oatmeal. She needs probiotics and vitamins when she is not on Corid. You might need to put her in a crate in the coop to keep her out of the sand for awhile.
Thanks Eggcessive! She eats layer pellets, but I might be able to get to the feed store to buy a little bit of layer mash or something that would be easier to mix up. Not sure if I can keep her separate in the coop though, it's not really set up to have a separate crate in it. I just can't figure out why she'd be so interested in eating sand, it doesn't seem like it would taste very good. And to think that I was just about to change their whole run floor to be sand. Ugh. I was really looking forward to having a nice clean sand floor in there...
Corid can block the absorption of vitamins and minerals, I would keep up with the probiotics and add some infant vitamin drops. Poly vi sol is a good one, make sure it does not have any iron. 3 or 4 drops once a day into beak. Personally I would skip the treats and hope that she gets hungry and gets back on her ration, it is made for her and it can be hard to get them everything they need if they are getting to many treats. I would do probiotics in the water. We give our chicks a dish of sand and it helps firm up poo and prevent pasty butt, so I wouldn't worry to much about the sand yet.
Oh forgot to add you can just crush up her pellets with a hammer or rock if you think you need crumbles, you don't have to buy a whole bag of crumbles.
Thanks Icammack! Good idea on smashing up the pellets. We try not to give too many treats, the grapes are a new thing to get her to eat the probiotics, but maybe she'd eat that in a mash instead. Worth a try! I'll look for the Poli vi sol for her too...

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