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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30386
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I think my chicken is constipated. Not eating or drinking.

Customer Question

I think my chicken is constipated. Not eating or drinking. Has not pooped in a day and a half. Have tried warm Epson salt soaks, and have inserted olive oil in her vent. Liquid, foul smelling discharge but not much.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

While certainly possible, constipation isn't commonly seen in chickens. Her not pooping is more likely due to her not eating and forming enough ingesta to stimulate defecation. Your finding liquid, foul smelling droppings indicates diarrhea rather than constipation. This is an important symptom but it's not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder. Gastrointestinal parasites such as roundworms and coccidia, GI infections with quite a number of different bacteria, and systemic infections which affect the GI tract all need to be considered. Egg binding is a consideration if you're seeing her squatting often as if to lay or eliminate and she's walking like a penguin.

Ideally, an avian vet (please see here: should take a look at this chicken and perform a fecal ova and parasite exam as well as a bacterial culture and sensitivity on her droppings/inside of her cloaca. If this can't be done, presumptive treatment with over the counter Wazine (piperazine) in order to address roundworms and treatment with over the counter Corid (amprolium) in order to address coccidia would be reasonable. You could also presumptively treat with a systemic antibiotic such as tylosin injected intramuscularly daily for 5-7 days at a dose of 20-30 mg/lb. You can also give that dose orally even though the tylosin (Tylan-50) in an injectable solution of that antibiotic. All of the above can be found in your local feed store.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did not explain myself enough. I found a small amount of droppings in the coop on Thursday morning but did not know which chicken had perched there. I let them out in the yard that evening and she went out for a bit and then went back to the pen. She was a bit wobbly. I soaked her in Epson salts that evening and put her on the perch. The next morning she was in the same position, no poop under her.Friday morning soaked her again. Friday night soaked her and gave her an olive oil enema. I also inserted my gloved, vaselined finger in her vent and that is when the watery with some white stuff came out. We have her in a kennel in our garage and she has not pooped since yesterday morning and is refusing water (regular water and molasses mixed with water) and food (pellets, apples pieces yogurt). I did call my regular vet but they do not see chickens. I will visit the site you gave me to find an avian vet.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information. My thinking stands. She hasn't been eating enough to form enough droppings. Her wobbling is worrisome. I'd like her cared for in this manner for now: and I'm pleased you're going to search out an avian vet. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience.