Valley Permaculture Alliance

I'm not sure if this is a medical issue or not.  I have a 10 month old RI that has "clumps" of poop around her fluff.  I've checked to see if she might have pasty butt, but the clumping is only collecting around her feathers/fluff. 

 

I've taken a wet washcloth to try to gently pull it off, but it looks like it hurts her.  So I'm just cutting the feathers off down there, along with all the clumping.  As far as I can tell, she's laying as usual, and isn't smaller than my other RI.

 

Is there something wrong with her?  Are there any other things I should be doing to keep her clean?

 

Thanks for any ideas you all have.

 

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Replies to This Discussion

Also, do a search for images of feather lice. They can form grey clumps of eggs around the feather shafts of feathers near the vent that resemble stuck on poop. It is much more likely that your situation is simply runny poop from drinking so much water to try and stay cool in our heat, but I just think people should know what to look for in case some day your birds do get feather lice, you can intervene right away. :)
Thanks Rachel,
I checked for lice and, luckily, didn't see anything that looked like lice down there. She seems healthy otherwise, although none of the chickens are laying much these days (probably from the heat).
All of my fluffy-butt birds develop this issue. If your bird doesn't have lice...then it is one of those things that will require you to ease up on any delicate sensibilities you may have. :)
Cutting, pulling or washing teh feathers are the only ways I know to remove the clumps of manure, but it needs to be done. Mites will also "hang out" in that area, and the poop also attracts flies who will lay their eggs in the poop. When the maggots hatch (which can be just s few hours in this heat) they will start eating the bird. Definitely not a good situation. A heavy dusting of talcum powder will help keep the poop from collecting on the feathers. If the poop is runny, and you haven't recently, worm her. You can also add apple cider vinegar to her water and grains (wheat, oats, rice) to her diet to harden up the poop.
Wow! Thank you for this information, Suze. I had no idea things could get so gross. How do I worm her? And should I worm all my chickens? Is this something I should be doing as a preventative of sorts? I'll definitely add the cider vinegar to her water, see if that helps.
Yes, chicken should be wormed regularly, especially if they have any access to the ground and various sorts of bugs, insects, earthworms, etc. Most recommendations say 2-4 times per year.

The only approved OTC med for worming chickens is piperazine (most common brand name is Wazine). It actually only works on some species of roundworms, and it paralyses them rather than killing them. http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/202800.htm is a good reference. Many breeders use ivermectin to worm their birds as it is very broad spectrum & actually kills the worms. However, for the most part the people I know who use ivermectin on their birds have them primarily for exibition. There are several brands of ivermectin and methods of treatment. What is most commonly recommended is the cattle pour-on formulation that is applied to the skin. Eprinex brand has a zero withdrawal time for milk & meat, but as it is not approved for poultry, it has not been tested for in eggs (or meat). However, ivermectin is used for worming humans in 3rd world countries. It is not effective on tapeworm, but that is rather uncommon in chickens.

Any vet should be able to perform a faecal float test for paraites in the chicken poop, which would actually be good to verify whether they do or do not need worming. General recommendation for a flock is to mix a sampling of poop from a number of birds. However, in your case, it sounds like there is one bird in particular that is the concern.

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