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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in general practice, including avian.
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My chickens have loose stools. Could you tell me what this

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My chickens have loose stools. Could you tell me what this indicates?

Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.

I'm sorry to read of your problems with your birds.

Are all of the birds affected, or just some of them?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Dr. Bob,
I have 8 chickens. 3 weeks ago I noticed 1 or 2 had loose stools, now all but one seem to. Some are loose and one was liquid this morning when I cleaned up the coop. The past 3 weeks. I have started feeding them more of a variety of foods.Before they were getting an organic chicken grain mix, vegetable scraps, oyster shells and flax seeds. In the last 3 weeks I have added some meat, I gave them on one occassion some cooked chicXXXXX XXXXXvers and another couple of times chicken carcasses ( left over from my dinner). . Last week i gave them some cottage cheese. They love all this additional food but maybe it is too much for them?
Also one of the chickens is laying eggs with very thin shells. I have not figured out which one. All the rest of the eggs have good thick shells. They are laying 4 to 7 eggs a day. They look healthy except that they peck at each other and 4 of them have mostly naked bums due to being pecked by the others. I thought maybe giving them more food and some meat might help them to not go after each other so much but it does not seem to help. Any suggestions on all this would be most helpful. Also do you think it is important to give them grit in addition to the oyster shells?
Thanks Jennifer Shannon

Hello again.

I am presently in a meeting at my clinic, but I'll get back to you in a couple of hours.

Dr. Bob

I'm back online, sorry for the delay!
Thank you for the additional information. Most experts agree that chickens do not need grit other than something like oyster shells to provide calcium.
There are a large number of possible causes of diarrhea in chickens, some questions need to be answered to try to narrow down the field a bit.
Do you notice any different coloration to the droppings?
Do the droppings contain undigested food, mucus or blood?
Are they getting pasted vents from the loose stools?
Are you seeing any respiratory signs like sneezing, discharge from the noses, eyes or mouths?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Droppings are the sme color as usual they are just loose as in not the neet little tubes of sttol they usually poop. No undigested food. No mucus or blood. No sneezing, discharge from nose etc. I do not know what pasted vents are?
Sorry, vent pasting is caking of the droppings around the opening of their cloaca (rectum).
Thank you for the additional information.
Judging from your description, I can offer you only a list of possible causes of the loose stool. I will list them from more common causes to less common ones.
Since they are all being affected, we must assume an infectious agent, or something environmental to which they are all being exposed.
The list is as follows:
Worms - very common
Tuberculosis - common
Colibacillosis - common
Fatty liver syndrome - not common
Histoplasmosis - rare
Pseudomonas - rare
Poisoning by rye seed, crotalaria seed, coffee-weed, ergotism - rare
While there are many more possible causes of diarrhea in chickens the age of yours, the others cause color changes to yellow and green or pasty white.
As you can see the list is long, and the best approach is working with the odds, treating or testing for the more common potential causes first, starting with worms. Your best bet would be to use Levamisole drench at the rate of 10 ml per gallon drinking water.
If that doesn't clear up the diarrhea, proceed through each of the other diseases, googling each and proceeding according to the treatment protocols outlined online. I
The thin shelled eggs you're finding are symptomatic of an entirely different condition. The possible causes of this sign are the following: Cage fatigue, egg drop syndrome, infectious bronchitis, and ochratoxicosis.
I do wish I could narrow the possibilities down for you, but with the information you've gathered, this is the best I can do.
If you should have further questions, I'll be glad to work with you.
Best regards,
Dr. Bob
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