Have you noticed your chicken slowing down lately? Has she stopped eating and generally not feeling well? Or maybe she’s walking funny. Today, we are going to talk about chicken constipation. Do you have a constipated chicken? Learn here how to diagnose and treat a constipated chicken.
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Constipated Chicken Symptoms
The first step in diagnosing constipation in chickens is to look for the signs. These are the most common symptoms your chicken will display, but there might be more. And some of these symptoms could be the signs of other illnesses. So if you are unsure, it is best to speak with your aviary vet before treating at home.
- Firm Stomach– If your chicken has experienced constipation for a few days, their stomach will be firm and bloated. But this only happens when constipation has gotten out of control. So if your chicken has only had constipation for a day, they likely won’t have a firm stomach yet.
- Walking Funny– Another telltale sign of constipation in chickens is that they start to walk funny. It’s not precisely a waddle, but more stiff movements and frequent squatting.
- Hard/Smelly Poop– Chicken feces should be semisolid with plenty of liquid mixed in. If you notice poops that are harder than average and have a strong smell, it could be constipation. Not that chicken poop smells lovely, to begin with. But the first poop after days of constipation will have a distinct foul odor.
- Not Eating Or Drinking– When waste isn’t leaving the body, your chicken won’t have to room or energy to eat and drink. Eating backs up the problem further, so you should never force a chicken to eat. But liquids are a must, but chickens all too often stop drinking when they are sick.
- Lethargic– Since your chicken has lost her appetite, she will soon lose energy. While this isn’t a sign of just constipation, it is a sure sign that your chicken is sick.
- Protruding Vent– If your chicken is trying to poop, their vents will be protruding. This is a sure sign that your hen is straining to push something out. But how can you tell if they are egg bound or constipated? Keep reading to find out.
Chicken Constipated Or Egg Bound?
The biggest question to ask is if your chicken is egg bound or constipated. Egg bound chickens often have constipation as well. But constipation can occur without egg binding. If your chicken is egg bound, you will need to treat it differently than constipation. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to verify this.
First, feel the hen’s stomach for an egg. You will feel a noticeable hard lump where the stuck egg is in the oviduct. If your chicken is constipated, you will feel firmness, but not hard like an egg.
If you can’t feel for certain from the outside, you might need to check the vent. Using gloves and water-based lube, insert a finger into the vent. You shouldn’t have to go far before you feel the egg. If there is no egg, you have a constipated chicken for sure.
Constipated Chicken Treatment
So, how to diagnose and treat a constipated chicken. your hen is the next step of the process. There are a few things you can do to relieve your hen. Here are the top ways to help with a chicken acting constipated.
The easiest thing to do is give your hen a warm Epsom salt bath. The salts help relax your hen, and the warm water relieves pressure. Some chickens even go to the bathroom during the bath.
To do this, all you need is a buck of warm water, Epsom salt, a towel, and time on your hands. After you have your water just above lukewarm, dissolve salt in it. Then place your hen in the bucket and hold them there for 15-20 minutes. You can do this up three times a day until they finally poop.
If your hen is still drinking water, you can easily put electrolytes in their water for hydration. We love UltraCruz Poultry Electrolyte Supplement because it is easy to use, and chickens love it. You can give this directly in their water supply or mixing it and syringe feeding.
Hydration is vital for many reasons. For one, a chicken dehydrates quickly, and it makes it harder for them to recover. And two, keeping well hydrated helps relieve constipation by naturally lubricating the intestines.
Blackstrap molasses is known as a natural diuretic. Giving a few drops orally to your chicken can help relieve a constipated chicken. If they don’t take it by syringe, you might have better luck adding a little to their water. But don’t give too much. Otherwise, you will have another issue on your hands.
Most chicken owners swear by using Vaseline to relieve constipation. To do this safely, you need gloves and a little Vaseline. With gloves on, hold your hen still with help from a friend. Then dab a small amount of Vaseline inside the vent to lubricate the lining of the colon. This method should work to help any debris stuck inside the colon.
Another option for an experienced owner is to give your hen an enema. These are difficult to do and aren’t the most pleasant. But they are effective at relieving constipation and impaction.
To do this, you need a saline solution, a towel, and an ear bulb syringe. Wrapping the towel around the chicken, have someone help secure it. Then gently squirt small amounts of saline into the vent of your chicken. You might see some feces and materials come out. Continue until you don’t see anything else.
You might have to try this method a few times before your chicken is better. But enemas are a great way to stimulate the colon into working correctly and removing fecal matter.
Coconut Or Vegetable Oil
Another trick that flock owners swear by is giving their hens oil. Coconut and vegetable oil is preferred to administer orally is used to lubricate the digestive system. When hens eat fat, it makes their feces more liquid and more comfortable to pass. So give your chicken a teaspoon of oil to help relieve their constipation.
Pre And Probiotics
If your chicken is still eating, a great way to prevent it from compacting further is a pre and probiotic. Both of these help your hens stomach form natural flora of good bacteria. All of this helps treat and prevent future constipation problems.
Constipation Causes And Prevention
How to diagnose and treat a constipated chicken is the hard part. But now we need to identify the causes to prevent it in the future.
Too Much Protein
Feeding your chickens too much protein could result in constipation for a lot of hens. Making sure your chickens are on the appropriate diets is the first step. Then you have to consider all treats and how much protein they contain. Things like fish, egg yolk, and nuts could add too much protein to their diets.
If your chickens don’t have access to clean drinking water, your hens will dehydrate quickly. Cleaning eater troughs regularly and making sure all devices are working help with this. Sometimes hens can guard water sources in their pecking orders. So making sure that there are enough places to drink for all the hens prevents fighting over it.
When you have chicks, the most crucial part is keeping them warm. If your chick isn’t warm enough, their systems start to shut down. The first thing to shut down is the digestive tract to help conserve energy. So if you have multiple chicks that are constipated, up the temperature on your brooder to prevent it.
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Egg Bound Or Other Illness
Sometimes constipation isn’t the illness itself but the symptom of another. Egg bound chickens often experience some constipation from the egg blocking their digestive tract. But other bacterial infections may cause constipation as well. Some common illnesses in chicks are pasty butt, colon infections, or infected cloaca. If you diagnose and treat these illnesses, constipation will go away as well.
Probiotic And Prebiotics
Giving your flock pre and probiotics regularly helps prevent constipation in chickens. Having excellent gut health is the best way to avoid any digestive unease. You can provide a powdered supplement mixed into the feed or natural greek yogurt for digestive support. Your hen will love either one.
Another natural preventative is to give your hens a balanced diet. Whole grains and high fiber foods keep things moving along in the intestines. The ideal amount of fiber chickens need is 10%, but this can be hard. To make up for this, you could plant high fiber foraging materials around the run. Plus, your chickens will love the variety it adds to their diets.
And finally, checking your hens daily for any illness signs will prevent things from getting out of control. When you closely observe your hens daily, you start to catch on when one of them isn’t feeling well. And of course, the faster you notice an issue, the quicker you can begin treatment.
Sick chickens are no fun. But luckily you found this article on how to diagnose and treat a constipated chicken. With these tips and recommendations, we hope that your chicken gets better faster.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!