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know what your chicken is telling you with its poop

Poultry farmers have in the long past, made use of the color and texture of chicken’s poop, or droppings to identify some diseases in their local chickens.

Depending on the season or weather conditions, these abnormalities may or may not be a sign of infection or diseases, though oftentimes, it is an indication that something is wrong.

Other factors that may lead to change in colour of chick’s poop include diet, stress, brooding, weather condition, poison among others but in these cases, the color change may not last more than two days.  

That nowithstanding, there are some diseases that may cause watery whitish, greenish, yellowish, brownish, or even bloody stain in a chicken’s poop, which are generally referred to as diarrhea, and can have a 5% – 80% mortality rate depending on the pathogenicity of the disease-causing organism.

One of the major militating factors for local farmers in this case, is how to identify the causes of various changes in poop colour in their chicken and the appropriate medication to use. 

The dung of Thai chicken and hen

It is based on this backdrop, that we make this post to assist the average poultry farmer in Nigeria and Africa, to have answers to the following questions

  • What does bloody chicken poop mean?
  • What causes bloody chicken poop?
  • Why green stool in chicken?
  • What is the cause of green white diarrhea?

And of course, know the right medications to give their chickens during diarrhea.

These diseases can be classified into three categories for easy diagnoses and medication.

  1. Bacterial Infections: These are mainly bacterial infections (Samonella) or internal parasites (various worms), which has diarrhea as one of their primary symptoms this means that with the right medication, diarrhea could stop and this can go a long way in determining if the chicken will fully recover or not. 

The colour of the poop in this case, ranges from watery white, brown, green, or bloody stained poop. Diseases here include Fowl typhoid and cholera, Coccidiosis, Infectious coryza, and internal parasites (various worms).

These diseases can be cured and the diarrhea (watery colored poop) disappeared if given the right medication and treatment.

  • These are mainly viral infection that cannot be treated even when diarrhea stops because in this case, diarrhea is, a secondary symptom resulting from an opportunistic disease usually bacterial.

In this case, though the watery poop or diarrhea stops when the affected chicken is given some medication, the ailment is not cured hence the best option is to isolate the sick chickens and vaccinate the rest of the flock while observing some bio-security measures such as keeping all animals out of poultry houses, keeping visitors to a minimum, limiting visits to other poultry farms, practicing sound rodent and pest control programmes, avoiding contact with non-commercial poultry or wild birds and inspecting the flocks daily among other measures.

Some typical examples of such cases include the Newcastle disease that causes greenish poop, Avian flu, Infectious Bursal Disease, IBD ( Gumboro), and Marek disease. Here, antibiotics can be given to the chicken but it will not treat the viral disease.

  • This group is non-disease causing diarrhea in chicken, which do not last long.Causative factors include diet, weather conditions, stress, poison, brooding, and many others. Unless the chicken is poisoned, they can easily recover from diarrhea and medication is often not required in most cases.

It is worthy of note that some of these diseases causing diarrhea are curable while many are not but can be managed.

How do we differentiate a normal chicken poop from diarrhea chicken poop for easy diagnosis?

A normal chicken poop has no particular color. It all depends on the diet and state of chicken’s health. However, the ash poop with the white cap is generally assumed to be the normal chicken poop, several shades of colour can be normal. It is assumed that there’s a problem when the poop is greenish, yellowish, reddish or foamy and yet watery.

Suggested Treatment: 

For viral diseases, the best treatment is immunization or vaccination and bio-security. You can give antibiotics for opportunistic infections, usually bacteria.

When you see some dead worm in the poop of affected chickens, give them Piperazine-for roundworm only, Albendazole and Ivermectin for round, capillaria, and cecal worms. Please consult your veterinarian for prescriptions and withdrawal time.

In the case of Fowl cholera, use tetracycline, sulfadimethoxine, or sulfamethazine and destroy all dead and sick birds and disinfect houses and equipment

The foamy yellow is mostly seen at the early stage of Coccidiosis. You should administer any anti-Cossidiostat to stop it immediately.

The foamy yellow poop is also a primary symptom in Fowl typhoid. You will notice that the chicken becomes sleepy, loses its appetite but is very thirsty, and stands in a dark corner, with its head close to its body.

The feathers become ruffled, and the comb and wattles become usually pale and bloodless. The commonest symptom is the passing of liquid poop which is greenish-yellow.

It can also be caused by internal worm infestation

For Coccidiosis treatment, give drugs like Amprolium, Embazine Forte, Amprococ. For Internal worms, use Ivermectin.  

You can use antibiotics like Amoxycillin sulfaquinoxaline, fluoroquinolones, or tetracycline for Fowl typhoid.  Always consult your veterinarian for prescriptions and withdrawal time

Bloody poop can be seen as watery chicken poop without any solid, and sometimes with the normal solid grey matter. Bloody poop is a symptom of Coccidiosis and the amount of blood depends on the severity of the condition. It is usually spread through infected poops

In this case,use drugs like Amprolium, Embazine Forte, Amprococ, or Tutrazuril. Disinfect the house, and avoid overcrowding and keep the chickens in a clean condition as much as possible.

Runny chicken poop can be as a result of diet content. Chickens will excrete this kind of poop a few times a day. In this case, you have nothing to worry about.

However, runny brown poop can also be a sign of either infectious bronchitis or E.coli infection. If so, you will have to treat your chickens urgently.

To treat these, use strong antibiotics like oxytetracycline erythromycin, or gentatylo,  

For the whitish chicken poop, it can either be internal worms or Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) also known as Gumboro. Sometimes this is also a sign of Fowl cholera which is also dreaded by farmers.  

For its treatment, use Ivermectin for a worm, but Gumboro should be prevented with Gumboro vaccine. For Fowl cholera, use tetracycline, sulfadimethoxine, or sulfamethazine.  

Clear or watery chicken poop can be a sign that your chickens are stressed. It could be owing to transportation, heat, debeaking, low feeding, etc. Watery chicken poop becomes a concern is when it is an indication of infectious bronchitis.

Use anti-stress or multivitamins to revive your chickens in this case but they can be avoided if their general condition is well taken care of

Black chicken poop is usually diet-related, it happens based on what the chicken has eaten, but if you are sure the chicken has not eaten anything other than what it normally eats, you may want to suspect internal bleeding.

It can also be a result of a high level of protein in your chicken feed. Brooding also causes black poop in brooding chickens that haven’t eaten for some time. They release this large terrestrial smelly black poop, though it will not be as black as when it is internal bleeding.

To treat internal breeding, only a veterinary can help in this case, except when it is not an option you can give the bird vitamin and a lot of water. For high protein content in a feed, tweak your feed formula accordingly.

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