Watery poop

HeyHo

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May 17, 2018
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Massachusetts
I have a Speckled Sussex hen, just over one-year old. She has always had somewhat runny poop. (Interestingly, the other SS I have had from the same hatchery have, too.) Alice is otherwise completely normal -- eats, pecks, lays eggs, digs holes, roosts with the others. She used to sometimes have normal poop, but now that it has gotten warmer, it is 100 percent liquid (at least that I have observed).

She is also at the bottom of the pecking order and has been making some bad decisions about where to sleep at night. Further, she insists on joining the head hen in the same nesting box when it is egg time. As a result, she's been reprimanded by her flock and is pretty unpopular with her peers. Her feathers are very ratty, like she has gotten a terrible quarantine haircut. But she is my friendliest hen and a favorite with the family.

Because of her terrible poop and feathers, I've worried at times that maybe she has worms, lice, mites, etc.? But my other six ladies are now and have been totally normal. Their poop is fine, feathers are gorgeous, eggs are regular. And I have seen no sign of lice or mites on Alice when I have checked her.

My question is, if she had lice, mites, worms or a parasite of some sort, wouldn't they ALL have some kind of symptoms? I've been putting off a fecal float test for her because it seems like an overreaction for a chicken that is otherwise totally healthy and laying regularly. Especially when the rest of the flock has no problems.

For background, I feed layer pellets and the only treats they get are a little daily scratch, meal worms, BOSS or scrambled eggs. No table food. They are in a confined coop, run or fenced area 100 percent of the time. So there's no unknowns in terms of where she has been or what she has gotten into.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Because of her terrible poop and feathers, I've worried at times that maybe she has worms, lice, mites, etc.?
I have seen no sign of lice or mites on Alice when I have checked her.

My question is, if she had lice, mites, worms or a parasite of some sort, wouldn't they ALL have some kind of symptoms? I've been putting off a fecal float test for her because it seems like an overreaction for a chicken that is otherwise totally healthy and laying regularly.
Only way to find out would be getting that fecal float.
Some birds may be weaker/can't carry a worm load like other birds...hard to know. If the test is not possible and you feel she may have worms - then treat her. Fenbendazole or Valbazen are both effective.

Are you checking for mites at night? It's possible for just one bird in a flock to have an infestation while the others don't have many or none - some chickens dust bath more, preen more, etc. So it's worth investigating again.

Is her crop empty in the morning before she eats/drinks?

If you have photos of Alice and her poop that may be help.
 

HeyHo

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May 17, 2018
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Massachusetts
Wyorp Rock thanks for your reply! I will get and post a clear pic of her feathers and poop tomorrow.

I have checked for mites at all times of day, but will re-double my efforts. I have had to treat for mites before -- and will do so at the first sign. I just don't want to treat unnecessarily with no evidence. Especially since she really does make VERY bad chicken decisions. So I am not as worried about the feathers as I am about the poop.

Her crop is full at night and empty in the morning. And her bum feathers are clean.
 

HeyHo

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May 17, 2018
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Massachusetts
OK, I have had zero luck getting a picture of her poop. And now her bum feathers are all messy -- so I think I have to treat for worms. I have not wormed my flock, mostly because I never had a reason to.

My vet will see chickens but will not do a fecal float without me actually bringing the chicken in to the office. I am reluctant to do that because my hen would HATE it and she's lowest in the pecking order, so being out of the mix could be detrimental to her.

I cannot get Fenbendazole or Valbazen at my TSC -- should I do Ivermectin? Or should I just take the poor chicken to the vet?
 

Wyorp Rock

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You can order either Fenbendazole or Valbazen online if your TSC doesn't carry them. Unusual that TSC wouldn't have Fenbendazole, it comes in liquid (goat wormer) and paste (equine wormer)




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HeyHo

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May 17, 2018
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Massachusetts
Oh perfect, thanks! My local TSC does have the goat paste version (at least in the online inventory). So, I will get that today. My understanding is to administer a pea-sized dose for each chicken (in beak or on a treat), repeat in 10 days. Egg withdrawal for 14 days. Correct?
 

Wyorp Rock

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Oh perfect, thanks! My local TSC does have the goat paste version (at least in the online inventory). So, I will get that today. My understanding is to administer a pea-sized dose for each chicken (in beak or on a treat), repeat in 10 days. Egg withdrawal for 14 days. Correct?
Dosage for Fenbendazole is 0.23ml per pound of weight given orally once, then repeat in 10 days for treatment of Roundworms only. If you are wanting to treat other types of worms, then give for 5 straight days.

Egg withdrawal is 14 days after the last dose is given.
 

HeyHo

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May 17, 2018
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Roundworms are the most common, correct? My understanding is that they mostly afflict younger chickens. So, if I am doing a fingers crossed/preventative worming of a flock of 1+ and 2+ yo hens, should I treat as if for roundworms even though they are past the age range?
(Sorry to ask so many questions, I'm trying not to over- or under-react. I'm generally guilty of both kinds of reaction.... And the more you research on the internet, the more answers you find. But I trust you more than any other source, and will happily follow your guidance. What would you do?)
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
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Sep 20, 2015
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Southern N.C. Mountains
Roundworms are the most common, correct? My understanding is that they mostly afflict younger chickens. So, if I am doing a fingers crossed/preventative worming of a flock of 1+ and 2+ yo hens, should I treat as if for roundworms even though they are past the age range?
(Sorry to ask so many questions, I'm trying not to over- or under-react. I'm generally guilty of both kinds of reaction.... And the more you research on the internet, the more answers you find. But I trust you more than any other source, and will happily follow your guidance. What would you do?)
There are several types of worms that affect poultry.

Each type of worm has it's own "lifecycle" and eggs can be viable in soil for a long time.
Worms don't just afflict young chickens, they can afflict all ages. Do you have info that says something about them mostly afflicting younger chickens? If you do, then I would be interested to read that.

Worms can cause loose stools and make birds unthrifty. De-worming her may help, hard to know.


https://www.dummies.com/home-garden/hobby-farming/raising-chickens/parasitic-worms-in-chickens/
 
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HeyHo

Songster
May 17, 2018
373
602
186
Massachusetts
That article states: "Chickens older than 4 months develop resistance to roundworms; the mature chicken’s immune system kicks out most of the bums." I've read similar sentiments elsewhere. So I started treatment today on all the whole flock and will do the 5-day course. In handling them all within a short time tonight, I noticed that a few felt skinny to me. I think worming was overdue. Fingers crossed.

But now I have a new problem -- baldness on my Australorp this evening. See attached pic. She was absolutely positively NOT bald this morning. I checked her all over for mites, etc. and see nothing. Her skin is not irritated at all. Despite being the biggest chicken, she is very low in the order.

I think I have a very big bully. And I suspect it is my BO.
 

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