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HRJ

Red in droppings

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Dear Experienced Hen Owners

Could you reassure me? When I cleaned out the overnight droppings from my Classic both yesterday and this morning I found some dropping with a litle red in them. (I've attached photos.)

After an anxious web search, I think that this is ‘sloughing off of the intestinal lining’ which is normal. Is that right?

I've only had my two lovely ladies for a week and I don’t want to take any chances at the beginning when I am learning. 

Many thanks for any advice.

 

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Could well be shedding of the intestinal lining. But how old are your hens and when were they last wormed.

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You will occasionally see red 'stringy bits' in droppings which is shed intestinal lining. Two things bother me though HRJ. Firstly that is a lot of lining and secondly the poo with it looks watery and 'slimy'. That's an indication of sour crop. You need to be sure they are eating and drinking, that their crops are completely empty in the morning and full and not too firm at night. If there is food left it will rot in the crop and go sour. What we usually find (and this is common) is that they ate too much without drinking enough and couldn't digest it all. A hard lump forms in the crop and stays there. The chicken then drinks a lot of water and starts twisting their neck and shaking the crop to no avail. Simple to resolve, if that's the problem.

As said, when were they last wormed with Flubenvet? Have they ever been?

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Agree with the above - investigate their feeding habits first, feel their crops and then send a poop sample off for analysis; I use Westgate Labs.

What are you feeding them on?

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Ah: thank you everyone.

I have only had them 10 days so I would assume they are around 16/17 weeks old? They are not yet laying. I was advised that they would first need worming in the autumn, so I assume they were wormed before they came to me. They are eating Smallholders Layers Crumb as that was what the seller advised/supplied.

They have had access to two sources of fresh water (one being the Omlet Glug thing with 3 litres of water in it and one being a rabbit bottle feeder which they enjoyed drinking from, especially on in the first few days). The water has been changed every day (and there are only two hens) but maybe they haven't actually drunk enough water?

I have noticed one of them lifting her head up and shaking it. So it does sound as though it could be sour crop. I picked her up and felt the crop, it felt full but I am not sure what firm is (as this is the first time I've felt one!) and didn't want to squeeze too hard. If we assume that is the problem, what would be the solution? Should I still be considering sending a sample of poop off for analysis too?

Thank you so much for the advice.

 

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I personnaly would have them on Smallholder Rearing pellets until the first one lays, then switch to Layers pellets, but that's not so important. i don't think you can assume they have been wormed and certainly not with Flubenvet. It's not cheap to do and breeding for sale can mean keeping costs down. To my mind the important thing at the moment is the crop issue. Just check it in the morning, at which time it should be an empty sack. Would be helpful if you could get a photo of the nighttime poo without the bedding. It should be solid with a white surface layer. Lifting her head up tightens the skin around the crop to move the contents.

If her crop has a solid lump in it in the morning she must only have water, as food feeds the sourness. Let her drink and then gently massage the crop for a short period. Keep repeating this and hopefully by the end of the day the lump will have broken up and the crop emptied. It won't do her any harm not to eat for a few days, but she must drink.

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Thank you so much Beantree.

I'll ask about the worming and will get some of the rearing pellets.

I will also check the night time poo tomorrow morning and get another picture if it is not solid with a white surface layer.

Thank you so much for your help. It is amazing to have advice so readily available.

 

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Ok, so just to elaborate on Beantree's excellent post... the crop should feel empty and slack in the morning. At the end of the day it should feel full, firm and 'granular' form the pellets in it. A crop which feels like a squishy balloon full of liquid may be sour crop.

I also doubt that they have already been wormed.

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Fantastic. Now I know what I am 'looking' for: I will check the crop before bed time this evening and again in the morning. Fingers crossed.

If they haven't been wormed yet, I will do that too. Would you recommend using Marriage's Layer's pellets with Flubenvet for that??

Thank you so much.

 

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Yes I would - I usually do a faecal worm egg test first - I get mine from Westgate Labs - as there's no point in worming if there's nor problem. I get the Flubenvet pre-medicated pellets from www.farmandpetplace.co.uk I find them to be competitively priced, and prompt on delivery. You would need to feed those pellets for 7 days and nothing else. Keep them in the run as much as possible too. Guide to worming here.

Westgate are also brilliant with advice on poop issues, gut problems and possible endo-parasite stuff.

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Excellent! I am learning so much😊 Right I will send a sample off for a test and then worm them with pellets if there is a problem. Again, huge thanks for the advice.

 

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Good morning. Sorry to bother again.

This morning the crops on both hens felt empty and both hens are eating and drinking and seem alert. Here are photos of the overnight poop from the one hen. There is still  red in them as you can see. No actual liquid though.

The seller confirmed that the hens had not been wormed but added that they had been in a biosecure environment and couldn't possibly have a worm overload yet. I had already sent off to Westgate Labs for a poop test kit by the time I received that reply so will probably go ahead with that when it arrives anyway.

There doesn't seem much else I can do for the time being?

(In case it is relevant, they have ACV in their water at a 10 ml per 1 litre strength -- it said to use that dilution for two weeks at times of stress which I assumed would include moving house.)

 

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You are doing all you can at this stage - I would let them settle and drop Westgate an email with those photos before you send off the sample, and apprise them of what the problem is. They are very helpful.

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There is an awful lot of vegetation in those poos and some other stuff that looks like mucus. It doesn't seem well digested and perhaps their gut flora is 'wrong'. Avipro Avian will help with that; we use it a lot. Have they got grit?

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Thank you, Dogmother, for the tip about sending in photos to Westgate first. I'll do that.

Yes, Beantree, I thought that ... and the poos for this hen are quite mucus-y. (The other one does 'textbook' poos -- never did I think I would spend so long looking at the stuff that comes out of hens bottoms. Good job I am back at work tomorrow!) There is grit available (in two cups on the sides of the run: one high and one low, on different sides; and I scattered some among the wood chips near their feed) and they also have a large litter tray with sand in. I will get hold of Avipro Avian and see if that helps. Poor thing. She's a lovely, friendly hen, doesn't mind being held, very calm. She seems happy enough but I would like her to have a more settled tummy.

Once again, thank you for all your advice.

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The one thing I have against AviPro Avian is that it contains dextrose, which isn't helpful as it encourages yeast infections, especially sour crop. I have been trialling Gastro-Brit from www.thelittlefeedcompany and found it to be very good - it contains some really beneficial pro-biotics as well as charcoal for absorbing gut nasties and settling the gut environment.

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Thank you Dogmother: I've just looked at the Little Feed Company's website and their Gastro-Grit looks delicious! (I loved their video showing which grit the chickens preferred ... my two are definitely not munching on the grit I have provided.)

Would it be sensible to get hold of the AviPro Avian for a quick fix and then switch to the gourmet grit mix long term? Or just the latter? Or wait for a few days to see if the tummy trouble settles on its own?

 

 

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I'd give the Avipro a miss - it's fine when they need an energy boost, but the dextrose isn't good for their gut.

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Today's poop watch revealed ... no red!! (There was a tiny bit of pink but I had to hunt to find it.)

There was quite a lot of undigested grass but not so much mucus so I think my ladies' guts are sorting themselves out but they probably still need more grit in their diets. (As a matter of interest, without mums to teach them these things, how do they know to eat grit?) To try to encourage them, I mixed in a little (1tbsp) corn with their grit yesterday and shook it around in an enticing manner ( 😂) and both had a little chomp of that so I'll use that technique again today.

I've ordered some Gastro Grit and will keep them on the stronger mix of AVC for the rest of the week.

Thank you so much for all your advice Beantree and Dogmother. It has been a wonderful reassurance to have your knowledge at my fingertips.

 

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I wouldn't strengthen the ACV mix HRJ as they won't drink it. We tried this years ago and at 15mL per Litre they stopped drinking as much and at 20mL they stopped drinking at all. Not drinking in this weather must be avoided. Perhaps you should stop the ACV completely for a while and see if it's that which is upsetting the digestion?

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Thank you, Beantree. I was using a dilution of 10 ml per litre but I've just changed that to 5 ml/litre in one and fresh water in the other drinker (I have two Glug things as one came with the second hand Classic and I bought a new one). Excellent idea. Thank you again.

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Beantree said:

I wouldn't strengthen the ACV mix HRJ as they won't drink it. We tried this years ago and at 15mL per Litre they stopped drinking as much and at 20mL they stopped drinking at all. Not drinking in this weather must be avoided. Perhaps you should stop the ACV completely for a while and see if it's that which is upsetting the digestion?

I would also advise against using ACV when it's hot weather as the reaction can inhibit their assimilation of calcium, causing soft-shelled eggs.

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Good to know. They are on only pure water now and I will stick with that for the time being. Thank you again. There was still the tiniest bit of stringy red in the overnight droppings this morning so I have sent photos to Westgate (taken over three days so they can see the change/improvement over the days). (No mucus.) I have GastroGrit arriving today!

 

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Great @HRJ keep us posted, when does the Westgate kit arrive? I will be interested to hear what they say when they analyse the poo samples.

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