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Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 11506
Experience:  Have owned and/or raised parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and poultry over a period of thirty years.
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What should I do about a chicken with runny stool, yellow in

Customer Question

What should I do about a chicken with runny stool, yellow in color, stuck to it's behind? (Layer that is now too old to lay)
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Anna replied 8 years ago.

How long has it been since this hen last laid an egg?

Are there any other symptoms - lethargy, sitting hunched up, legs far apart, straining to pass stools, appetite loss, etc.?

Thank you for the additional information.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi Anna...she hasn't laid in over a year and is happy and healthy until last night. She seems a little hunched, but otherwise fine.
Expert:  Anna replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. I'm concerned with these two symptoms that she may be egg bound. Older hens can still lay eggs. Mine are 5 years old, and some lay several eggs a week, while others seldom lay one any more. As hens get older, when they do produce an egg, they're more likely to have trouble laying it. Being hunched over and runny droppings pasted to the cloaca are typical signs. If you believe this is a possibility, there are a few things you can try. If the egg is just inside the vent, you can put a little cooking oil or mineral oil in the vent. This won't do any good if the egg is further up. Do not try to break the egg or pull it out - this can do even more harm.

You can run a hot shower in your bathroom until the room is warm and humid (85 to 90 degrees). Gently (so as not to accidentally break the egg) put her in a small box or cage and take her to the warm room. Watch her closely to make sure she doesn't overheat.Sometimes the warmth and humidity may help her pass the egg. Here is a site with detailed information on egg binding (it applies to chickens as well as cockatiels):

If your hen is egg bound, and these measures don't help, you'll need to see an avian vet. This link will take you to a directory:

if egg binding isn't a possibility, your hen may have parasites. You can gather a sample of her droppings to take to any vet to find out for sure. A bacterial infection could also be responsible. While the best way to handle either of these conditions is through a vet, I realize that most poultry keepers handle their own worming and infection treatment. If you choose to do that, visit a farm supply store. There will be a variety of poultry medications and wormers available. A knowledgable clerk should be able to help you. The problem with doing it yourself is that if you don't get the diagnosis right, the wrong treatment will do no good, and may even be harmful. For that reason, my first recommendation is to see a vet.

If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your hen will be fine.


Anna and other Bird Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks Anna.   I think it's parasites because I feel no lump.   The hens have free calcium and grit at all times.   They all just stopped laying a while ago and we figured that it was just because they are old.   As you already know, with chickens it can be almost anything.   I promised my husband that they would not see the inside of a vet office (we have two horses a dog, 3 cats, 7 hens and 6 roosters who we pen apart from each other but where they can see, chase each other through hardware cloth.)   Needless to say, we spend a fortune on our pets so I had to agree to limits.   My daughter and I are on our way out to carefully cut the goo off her and then dust her as best we can with DE & poultry protector.   I have some DE in her feed now so hopefully if it's parasites the infestation is not so far gone that we can get her to come around.   

I appreciate the site on egg binding which will come in handy in the future. I will double check her over and over to be sure it's not that as well.   It's so nice to have you to point me in the right direction!

Happy Holidays!
Expert:  Anna replied 8 years ago.
You're welcome, Jan. I hope you're right that it's parasites because that will be the easiest problem to remedy. If you have any pumpkins left from fall decorating, you can also cut them in half and give them to the chickens. It's an old-fashioned idea that eating pumpkin seeds will help push out parasites. I don't know if it works, but the pumpkin is good for them anyway. I give mine some every fall.

There's no need to click on accept again. Thank you for accepting above.

Happy holidays to you and your family, too.