What does black, sludge-like poop mean?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 7, 2009
Mesa, AZ
I have five Barred Rock chickens and yesterday I noticed there was black, sludge-like poop on the ground, which I've never seen before. They all look healthy and are acting as normal as ever and laying daily. Does anyone have a clue about whats going on? (I haven't poked at the poo to check how thick it is yet.)
Hi, and welcome to BYC!!! Sorry to hear about your chicken's poop. In people anything black and "tarry" looking is assumed to be old blood from the digestive track. I'm not an expert at stuff like that, but maybe it could be parasites or coccidia causing intestinal bleeding... Anyone else? Bump for ya. Hope we get it figured out.
Thanks for your advice! I hope I can figure this out.
I just tried to look it up in the chicken health handbook, and it does not appear to be anything to worry about. Green, yellow and foamy dropping were red flags, but the dark sludge like was only mentioned as normal. I am no expert, i just looked this up. The book has charts to help figure stuff out. I hope it was just a change from some treats you gave them, or something they ate out and about
If it's the primary consistency, then there's a bacterial imbalance (mild to more serious - usually mild). If it's only occassionally, that's a "cecal poop". If it's almost black, that usually means it was the color of dark chocolate pudding before it dried. (Those droppings dry darker).

I wouldn't worry excessively. What I would do, instead, is give yourself a little insurance policy by boosting their essential beneficial gut bacteria right now with probiotics and possible PREbiotics.

Probiotics (living essential bacteria to replenish those lost in illness or stress): yogurt (plain white - don't use while medicating with --cycline or --mycin meds. Use about 1 teaspoon per 2 cups or so - just not excessive amounts. Think in terms of what a serving for a human would be if we were their height.) Acidophilus capsules or tablets from the grocer/pharmacy/health food store. Probiotics for livestock, most commonly found in the horse aisle: probios, fastrack, etc.

Prebiotics (nutrients that nourish the bacteria so that they thrive): apple cider vinegar (also a probiotic - use organic for bacteria), applesauce (preferably non-sweetened in small amounts).

Hope this helps.

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