What to feed hen with gout?

sarahbobo

Chirping
Nov 12, 2021
52
94
60
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hi, I have a 7 year old hen, Fleur, who has gout. I'm trying to find feed for her that's low in protein and calcium, and I can't find any brands that sell such a feed. Does anyone know what I can feed her that is properly nutritionally balanced (fat, carbs, vitamins, minerals, etc) and low in protein and calcium? Or ways I can make sure she gets the right nutrition? I don't think she's laying anymore. Thank you so much in advance.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
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Maybe a grower feed? Those don't have added calcium and tend to run around 16% protein. Thats what's generally recommended for non-laying birds like roosters.

What protein percentage is their current feed?
 

sarahbobo

Chirping
Nov 12, 2021
52
94
60
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Thank you for your reply. They're currently on 20% protein, switched from 16% a few months ago. Do you think 16% is low enough? Would it be safe for her if I mix it with maybe a multi whole grain scratch mix or would she be getting too many carbs and not the right balance of vitamins and minerals?
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
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I'm not sure honestly, there looks to be a few other management techniques, but they all stem around reducing the load on their kidneys and grains are typically very nutrient dense so I would think it may be counter-productive, but am not certain.

Looks like it's a common issue with broilers and is easier to try to prevent than manage - not that you really can when the cause is age-related decline. The page I was looking at did mention adding vinegar to their water aside from medications to support kidney function - and to ensure water is fresh and available, which I'm sure you already do.

I'm guessing it's foot gout, not visceral? Sorry, I haven't dealt with it in my flock as of yet so just circling around related issues I do know about.

A few things to watch out for... Acites (water belly)... It can be related to kidney issues, also keep an eye out for yellowing of the urates in the feces - this is an indicator of kidney failure. A healthy hen will have white urates which will increasingly yellow as organ function becomes reduced, with a tumeric or saffron yellow at the extreme.

Some medications, like pain killers can put a lot of stress on the kidneys, so may actually cause temporary yellowing of the urates while they're on them. Gout would be quite a painful condition, so be mindful of her comfort.

Ideally, consult with an avian-friendly vet to help manage her condition and get her on medication specific to her condition if you can.
 

sarahbobo

Chirping
Nov 12, 2021
52
94
60
Albuquerque, New Mexico
I'm not sure honestly, there looks to be a few other management techniques, but they all stem around reducing the load on their kidneys and grains are typically very nutrient dense so I would think it may be counter-productive, but am not certain.

Looks like it's a common issue with broilers and is easier to try to prevent than manage - not that you really can when the cause is age-related decline. The page I was looking at did mention adding vinegar to their water aside from medications to support kidney function - and to ensure water is fresh and available, which I'm sure you already do.

I'm guessing it's foot gout, not visceral? Sorry, I haven't dealt with it in my flock as of yet so just circling around related issues I do know about.

A few things to watch out for... Acites (water belly)... It can be related to kidney issues, also keep an eye out for yellowing of the urates in the feces - this is an indicator of kidney failure. A healthy hen will have white urates which will increasingly yellow as organ function becomes reduced, with a tumeric or saffron yellow at the extreme.

Some medications, like pain killers can put a lot of stress on the kidneys, so may actually cause temporary yellowing of the urates while they're on them. Gout would be quite a painful condition, so be mindful of her comfort.

Ideally, consult with an avian-friendly vet to help manage her condition and get her on medication specific to her condition if you can.
Yeah, I found an "all flock" feed that's 17% protein and only about 2% calcium, so I'm going to feed her that, and I'm considering switching the whole flock to that, because now I'm worried some of the others might get gout, too. Our soil here has a lot of calcium, and they have oyster shells to eat if they need to, so presumably anyone still laying will be okay.

She definitely has foot gout, her feet look pretty bad. But what worries me is she's having very watery poops, and diarrhea is apparently a symptom of visceral gout, not articular. Supposedly the only way to know whether they have visceral or not is after they die :\

We took her to our avian vet today, and she didn't want to prescribe an anti inflammatory because it would stress the kidneys, but she did give us a pain medication. I think Fleur is in some pain, but not too much, thankfully. She's mostly acting normally, except for drinking a ton and having some trouble staying warm, and laying down a bit more than the others. But she's seemed...relatively low-energy, compared to the others, for many years, so I'm not sure if that's part of the gout. Maybe she's had the beginnings of gout all these years :\

Vet didn't prescribe any gout-specific medication, but she gave us some at-home things to do: flax seed oil mixed with a little corn oil every day, and beta carotene every day. We did bloodwork to test how well her kidneys are functioning, and we'll get the results on Tuesday. Maybe she'll prescribe something then, but I'm not sure.
 

Eggcessive

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Could you post a couple of clear pictures of your hen’s feet and legs? There are a number of possible causes for articular gout. Aflatoxin (mold,) too much salt, calcium or over 30% protein diets can cause it. Some chickens have a hereditary tendency for gout. Some use sour cherry extract 2 capsules a day orally to help with pain in joints. That is something humans also use, and a couple of past BYC threads have some recommendations. Some people and some vets misdiagnose mycoplasma synovitis as gout, and that can look different. It also could cause other symptoms.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,015
1,801
251
New Zealand
Yeah, I found an "all flock" feed that's 17% protein and only about 2% calcium, so I'm going to feed her that, and I'm considering switching the whole flock to that, because now I'm worried some of the others might get gout, too. Our soil here has a lot of calcium, and they have oyster shells to eat if they need to, so presumably anyone still laying will be okay.

She definitely has foot gout, her feet look pretty bad. But what worries me is she's having very watery poops, and diarrhea is apparently a symptom of visceral gout, not articular. Supposedly the only way to know whether they have visceral or not is after they die :\

We took her to our avian vet today, and she didn't want to prescribe an anti inflammatory because it would stress the kidneys, but she did give us a pain medication. I think Fleur is in some pain, but not too much, thankfully. She's mostly acting normally, except for drinking a ton and having some trouble staying warm, and laying down a bit more than the others. But she's seemed...relatively low-energy, compared to the others, for many years, so I'm not sure if that's part of the gout. Maybe she's had the beginnings of gout all these years :\

Vet didn't prescribe any gout-specific medication, but she gave us some at-home things to do: flax seed oil mixed with a little corn oil every day, and beta carotene every day. We did bloodwork to test how well her kidneys are functioning, and we'll get the results on Tuesday. Maybe she'll prescribe something then, but I'm not sure.
Sounds good. Looks like your vet is on top of it. - just be mindful of acites with all that water intake.
 

sarahbobo

Chirping
Nov 12, 2021
52
94
60
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Could you post a couple of clear pictures of your hen’s feet and legs? There are a number of possible causes for articular gout. Aflatoxin (mold,) too much salt, calcium or over 30% protein diets can cause it. Some chickens have a hereditary tendency for gout. Some use sour cherry extract 2 capsules a day orally to help with pain in joints. That is something humans also use, and a couple of past BYC threads have some recommendations. Some people and some vets misdiagnose mycoplasma synovitis as gout, and that can look different. It also could cause other symptoms.
Thank you for your reply and sorry for being late with mine - it's been a very busy and exhausting few days caring for Fleur. I'll attach some pictures of her feet. She has one particular sore that's gotten worse over the last couple days. She's also lost another 10% of her weight, after already having lost a third, even though she's been eating nonstop.

Her symptoms are: drinking constantly, watery poops, some vomiting, weight loss, a little unsteady on her feet, slightly tired, having trouble staying warm. Her sores are warm to the touch, but she doesn't react as though it hurts to touch them. Her nails are also overgrown, as you'll see in the pictures. I'm trying to get my hands on nail clippers.

You'll see she's outside on wood chips - I kept her inside all day yesterday, and by the end of the day she was frantically trying to get back outside. Given her condition, I decided it's best to let her have at least some time outside each day. She does act as though it hurts to walk on that sharp ground. I'm trying to find booties for her to provide some padding, since I don't think wrapping her feet will go well over those sores.
 

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