Why Are My Chicken’s Feathers Falling Out?

Why Are My Chicken’s Feathers Falling Out?

Why are my chicken’s feathers falling out?!?!? This is one of the biggest questions I get from concerned new chicken owners.

 

There are many reasons why your chicken’s feathers might be falling out. I’ll go through some of the main ones today and give you tips on what you should do.

 

The top reasons chickens lose feathers are:

  1. Molting
  2. Not enough protein
  3. Self-inflicted from stress
  4. Broodiness
  5. Picking by bullies
  6. Mites and lice
  7. Vent gleet
  8. Overmating by roosters

 

Molting

So, chickens molt. And it’s a very common reason why chickens lose feathers.

 

In case you don’t know, molting is when chickens lose feathers and then those feathers are replaced by new ones.

 

And luckily, it’s a natural and totally normal process. (Ducks molt, too!) that happens more or less once a year (normally in the fall), and it can be ugly. (Not always, but sometimes you’ll wonder what happened to your once beautiful hens!)

 

I love chickens, but they just aren’t that good looking when they’re going through a rough molt. It’s messy, ugly, and a little bit uncomfortable as the feathers grow back.

 

The molting process can be scary for first time chicken owners, but realize that your chickens losing their feathers in a molt is a normal process.

 

If you want, you can feed them a high protein treat (like BEE A Happy Hen, which we sell in the store) to help them stay healthy and regrow their feathers.

 


Freaked out over feather loss?

 

Not enough protein

Another reason your chickens could be losing their feathers is because they aren’t getting enough protein. This can happen if you’re feeding your chickens scratch or letting them forage for their food

 

Even if you allow your chickens to roam around the yard and they’re finding and eating bugs as they do so, you need to make sure that you are also providing them with access to feed that is nutritionally balanced and has the appropriate amount of protein.

 

If your chickens start losing their feathers without an explanation (such as molting), then evaluate their diet and feed that you are providing.

black soldier fly larvae backyard chicken treat

What to do:

Provide more protein!!! Start incorporating black soldier fly larvae (we sell them in the store right here – use coupon code FEATHERS to save 10%) or mealworms (use coupon code FEATHERS to save 10%) into your chickens diet – you can mix it with their feed or give it as a treat (we have lots of treats in the store with dried insects for just this reason!).

 

Plus chickens LOVE them  (like….really love them, LOL!) so they will eat it happily! If you want to raise them yourself, it’s easy to start a mealworm or black soldier fly larvae farm

 

Self-inflicted picking or picking by other chickens

One reason your chickens might lose their feathers is from picking, which is usually caused by environmental stress such as over crowding or bullying. Think of it as a reaction to anxiety.

 

Bullying among chickens CAN happen (personally, we’ve been lucky and not experienced this in our coop, but yours might have an alpha hen who picks on a more subservient hen).

 

Every coop has a social order and particularly if the flock as a whole is stressed or the “picked on” hen is new, chickens will sometimes peck the victim until she’s lost her feathers.

 

Or your chickens could also be stressed and so they begin picking feathers of other hens in the coop to deal with that stress.

 

What to do:

The simplest thing to do in this case is figure out why your chickens are stressed and try to remove the problem. If they’re over crowded (10 square feet per chicken in a coop is a good guideline), then give them more room.

 

If they’re bored, then provide environmental enrichment such as treats they have to “hunt” for, swings, branches for them to fly up to (this can also give them more room), places to hide, etc.

 

One popular idea is to put a treat such as cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, or cucumbers on a string and allow your flock to peck at it.

 

If your flock has a bully, then you can remove the bullied chicken from the coop and isolate her from the flock (give her a friend since 2 chickens together are likely to bond since they only have each other for company). You can then try to reintroduce everyone a few days later or continue to keep them separate.

 

If your chickens lose feathers still, then you should figure out if the problem is something else.

 

Broodiness

Chicken’s may also be picking their feathers due to broodiness. Some chickens get broody (i.e they really want their eggs to hatch) and so they’ll sit on their eggs for long periods of time and often pick their own feathers and lay them around their eggs for warmth.

 

If you want your hen to hatch the eggs, then let her do it, and understand she’ll stop picking her feathers after the chicks hatch.

 

If you don’t want her to hatch chicks, then break her broodiness. She should stop losing feathers because she’ll stop picking at herself.

 

Mites & Lice

Yuck. I hate lice and chicken mites, and they can definitely cause your chickens to lose feathers. Now, you might say “I don’t see any mites on my chickens” and assume the issue is something else.

 

I hear this a LOT from chicken owners trying to figure out feather loss. Even though you might not see mites on your chickens, they can still be the source of your trouble.

 

Mites are sneaky. They hide in corners of your coop and then come out at night and infest your flock. And eventually, they can cause more than feather loss – they can cause your chickens to lose the scales on their legs and eventually death as they rob your hens of nutrients.

Chicken losing feathers completely? Here's what to do!

What to do:

Even if you don’t think mites are why your chickens are losing feathers, you can still preemptively clean your coop and use herbs such as peppermint and cinnamon and diatomaceous earth to keep mites and lice away.

 

If you don’t know, diatomaceous earth is a powder that your chickens can bathe in. It has been shown in scientific studies to reduce the number of mites and lice in chickens because it’s sharp edges cut the exoskeletons of insects, causing them to die.

 

However, I highly recommend that you only use DE in well ventilated areas, and keep your flock out of the coop while you’re spreading it about (a little goes a long way)! Chickens have a very delicate respiratory system, so you want to be careful that they don’t inhale it on a regular basis.

 

If you don’t want to bother with DE, you can just use herbs. Mint repels insects, so hanging peppermint around the coop or nesting box is a great way to get rid of or prevent a mite infestation.

 

Another option is to provide garlic for your flock (we sell shelf-stable garlic granules in the store, which I’ve found hens prefer over fresh garlic). Because of the spicy nature of garlic, it repels external parasites (and it’ll help your flock’s immune system as well!)

 

Vent gleet

Another reason your chickens could be losing their feathers is vent gleet, which is a fungal infection in the vent (where your chicken expels waste and eggs) and it can cause some pretty nasty whitish/yellowish discharge along with a loss of feathers.

 

Think of it like a yeast infection. It’s gross and it’s definitely not good for your chicken!

 

What to do:

If you think your chicken has vent gleet, then the best thing to do is take her to the vet, who can give you medications or make recommendations for all natural solutions.

 

One way you can help prevent vent gleet is to ensure your chickens have good gut health! You can do this by adding some apple cider vinegar (about a tablespoon per gallon) to your chicken’s water. We sell apple cider vinegar granules in the store – they’re shelf stable and easy to add to water or feed.

 

 

Rowdy roosters 

So roosters like to mate. A LOT. It’s normal and part of a flock’s social dynamics. If you notice your hens are losing feathers on their back (and only their back) and you have a rooster, you can be pretty sure the issue is overmating.

 

This isn’t to be taken lightly – I’ve seen cases where roosters were overmating hens to the point where the hens lost not just their feathers, but the skin on their chests – which, of course, is a much bigger issue than losing feathers. 

 

In summer, this can end in a bad case of fly strike, and you might have to put your hen down if it’s bad enough.

 

Fly strike is notoriously difficult to get rid of, and treatment – which consists of picking maggots off your hen’s body and removing dead tissue – is painful and difficult, and a lot of animals simply die of shock).

 

Roosters stand on top of hens backs while they are mating and they can cut your hens or cause them to lose feathers.

 

If this happens you might need to separate the roosters from your hens to keep your girls safe. If the issue is only feather loss (and not skin loss), you can also use a chicken saddle, which will cover the bald area.

 

If you have multiple roosters and see them excessively bickering over the hens, then it’s time to either give each rooster his own flock of hens, or re-home one of the roosters.

 

If you have multiple roosters and notice one rooster is losing feathers on his back, then it’s time to separate him from his “prison buddy” if you get my drift. (Yes, this is a real thing that can happen because it’s about social dominance and their pecking order).

 

 

Having A Sick Chicken Can Be Scary…Here’s What You Can Do

Having A Sick Chicken Can Be Scary…Here’s What You Can Do

While there are many chicken illnesses out there, there’s a few whose symptoms you should know.

Although there are many diseases your chicken can develop or contract, in this article I’m going to cover the most common illnesses you need to know about, their symptoms and how to treat them. Some are obviously more common than others, but in this article we are going to look at common chicken illnesses you might come across. I will also touch on an illness or two that are less common, but still important to know about.

Now before we get started, I need to make a legal disclaimer, which is that the information in this article is for educational purposes only.

I am not a licensed vet, and the information in this podcast is reflective of my experience only. As always, use your best judgement and seek a qualified vet’s advice if you are concerned your chicken might be sick.

Now, let’s get on with common chicken illnesses and symptoms you should know about.

Egg binding

So, first on our list is egg binding. So what is this chicken illness? Egg binding is when your chicken, for a variety of reasons, can’t pass the egg she’s trying to lay, and it gets stuck in her oviduct.

One thing to keep in mind is that egg binding can be a serious problem, and it should be treated like an emergency. It does have the capability to be fatal to your chicken.

Reasons egg binding happen can be related to infections, some sort of trauma to the reproductive tract, excessive egg laying, for example, with birds bred for a high rate of egg production, as well as nutritional problems, such as if a chicken isn’t getting enough calcium.

Other reasons for egg binding are obesity and an egg that is too soft, which is another calcium issue, as well as just an internal structure that is prone to egg binding, such as a cloaca that is too small to pass the egg.

So, what are some symptoms of egg binding?

One of the first symptoms you might notice is your chicken squatting a lot, with her wings dropped towards the ground. Other signs are a fluffed appearance, straining, labored breathing, a chicken that’s not pooping or doesn’t want to eat.

If you palpate your chicken, and feel an egg shaped lump near her vent, that’s a good sign and probably a clear symptom that your hen is egg bound.

If you want to know for sure, or if you suspect egg binding but don’t have definitive proof, then you can take your hen to a qualified vet for an xray.

If the egg has formed correctly and is fully calcified, then you will likely be able to see the egg.

So how do we treat this chicken illness?

You will want to soak your chicken in a tub of warm water with Epsom salts in it.

Soak the lower part of her body, including her vent, in the Epsom salt bath for about 20 minutes, massaging her abdomen to stimulate the egg to move.

After soaking her, place her in a warm, quiet area to give her time to try to lay the egg.

Repeat this every hour until the chicken lays the egg. Be sure to offer her electrolytes in water to keep her hydrated.

If you prefer, you can take your chicken to a vet to see if the egg can be crushed and removed. This can result in infection, so my recommendation is to let a qualified vet do it.

If you can see the egg, you can attempt it yourself, but consult with a vet first and see what antibiotics you should put your chicken on after in order to prevent infection. If you cannot see the egg, do not attempt this.

Bumblefoot

Next on our list of chicken illnesses is bumblefoot. So what is this? Well, it’s actually a bacterial infection of your chicken’s foot.

You’ll know if your chicken has bumblefoot if you look at the bottom of the feet and you see a large lump.

Bumblefoot, also called ulcerative pododermatitis, is a bacterial infection that is caused by the Staphylococcus bacteria. So, it’s a staph infection.

It happens when your chicken gets a cut, even a microscopic cut, on its foot from walking on hard or sharp surfaces.

Some symptoms include swelling in the feet and limping.

Chickens with bumblefoot might have swellings on the pad of the foot, or the entire foot can look swollen and enlarged. It might look as simple as a slight redness to a bulbous-looking growth on the bottom of the chicken’s foot. The swellings, called “bumbles” give the infection it’s colloquial name.

If you take your chicken to the vet, he or she might also prescribe oral antibiotics, but that’s really up to your vet to decide if the situation merits it.

Treatment

There are some natural options for bumblefoot, if you want to avoid pharmaceuticals, such as essential oils, honey, or green clay. I like using Young Living’s Animal Scents ointment, which promotes healthy skin.

If you use oils, you should always dilute it with a carrier oil such as almond or coconut oil. For more detail about using essential oils on your chickens, it’s best to email me.

If you want more info on natural bumblefoot treatments you can read my article all about Bumblefoot here: Bumblefoot in Chickens. I go into more detail about Bumblefoot specifically and some treatment options you can use.

Should you do surgery to get rid of bumblefoot?

Bumblefoot is easily treated, and it includes opening the infected area to allow the pus to drain, then soaking it in a water and epsom salt bath. After, you can then apply your favorite topical antibacterial ointment and dress it with clean bandages.

Now, I’ve seen some online recommendations to perform surgery to treat bumblefoot yourself, and I would encourage you, if possible to have the vet perform the surgery instead.

Even if your vet is not a poultry vet, they are in a better position than either you or I to properly provide a local anesthetic to the effected area, and then remove the infection.

Personally, unless the situation is absolutely dire, I prefer to not perform surgeries myself at home largely because I don’t have the proper tools to anesthetize the area, and I’m not comfortable causing more pain in my chickens.

Marek’s Disease

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, Marek’s disease is a type of avian cancer. Marek’s largely effects chickens between 12 to 25 weeks of age, although chickens outside that age range might also be effected.

The easiest symptoms of Marek’s to recognize include paralysis, such as flopping around, being unable to stand, odd shaped pupils in their eyes, and blindness.

Tumors in nerves are what actually cause the paralysis, while tumors in your chicken’s eyes are what cause the cause irregularly shaped pupils and blindness.

The tumors can also be in the liver, kidneys, pancreas, stomach, lungs, and pretty much anywhere else you can imagine. They can cause the lack of coordination that you see with Marek’s.

Other symptoms of Marek’s disease are weak labored breathing, and enlarged feather follicles. Later as the disease progresses, some symptoms include pale, scaly combs as well as greenish diarrhea.

So how do chickens get Marek’s disease?

It’s transmitted by air between chickens, and it shows up in dander, dust, feces, and saliva. Infected birds that live will also have the virus in their blood for life, and can infect other chickens.

There is no treatment for Marek’s, although chicks can be vaccinated at the hatchery. However, it’s important to note that the vaccination will prevent tumors from forming, but it does not prevent infections nor does it prevent other birds from getting the disease.

Coccidiosis

Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of animals caused by coccidian protozoa.

There are a few difference parasites that can cause a problem in your birds, but the bottom line is the disease spreads from chicken to chicken through infected feces or ingestion of infected tissue.

Your chicken might have coccidiosis and you may never know it, but the most easily recognized sign of coccidiosis is bloody droppings.

Treatment

So, to treat coccidiosis, you can provide an anticoccidial medication, rid the coop of any droppings and sanitize it, and offering your flock vitamins and a probiotic to re-establish good gut flora as they recover.

Just remember that you might have a withdrawal period with any medication you give them.

One way to prevent coccidiosis is to offer chicks a medicated chick starter which will help them build up a resistance to these parasites.

So next, we’ll look at a few diseases of the crop.

First, if you don’t know what that is, it is an organ, part of the esophagus, in your hen’s body that collects food that your hen eats during the day.

It’s like a pocket that stretches as your hen eats. So, if you pick up a hen and feel a lump on the right side of her body, that’s the crop, assuming she has been eating all day.

A healthy crop will be full at night and empty in the morning, and that’s a good indicator your hen’s digestive system is working well. If it’s empty all the time, then she’s not eating. If it’s full all the time, then you might have a problem.

Sour Crop

So first, let’s talk about sour crop. What is it? This happens when a fungus infects your hen’s crop and causes the natural environment of the organ to go askew. Usually, your hen has a good immune system that will help her fight off infections.

But that doesn’t mean she’s immune, obviously. So, as your hen’s crop becomes infected, the lining thickens, which prevents the muscles from doing their job and moving food into your chickens’ stomach.

The most telling symptom of sour crop is a horrible smell, which is the fungus taking over everything, coming from your hens mouth. Other symptoms include  lethargy or weight loss.

Treatment

To treat sour crop, you have a few options. If you want to go with conventional medicine, then you can take her to a vet, and see if they can prescribe nystatin or fluconazole, which are two antifungal medications the Merck Veterinary Manual recommends using for sour crop.

If you want to treat it naturally, then you can try massaging the crop to help it pass any accumulated food into your chickens’ stomach.

Try providing apple cider vinegar in a ratio of 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. The apple cider vinegar will give your chicken beneficial bacteria, which will hopefully combat the fungus.

If the case is bad enough, however, you might want to speak with a vet regarding conventional medicine.

To prevent this disease, only give your hens fresh, healthy food and ensure that your flock’s living area is clean, since one way chickens can become infected with the fungus that causes sour crop is by being exposed to chicken manure.

If you want to learn more about sour crop specifically you can read my article all about sour crop here: Sour Crop

Impacted crop

Similar to sour crop, an impacted crop is where for whatever reason, the organ has failed to move food into the stomach.

Impacted crop happens when either there’s something blocking the food from moving from the crop into the stomach, such as plastic or long, fibrous grasses, or it can happen if the normal muscular contractions of the organ don’t work properly and food ends up sitting in it.

Treatment

It can be treated by burping your chicken to try to remove the material. Another option is to have a vet perform surgery on the organ to remove the material clogging it.

I would recommend only a vet perform the surgery, and refrain from doing it at home unless you really know what you’re doing.

Unlike sour crop, because a crop impaction is literally just a blockage, no antifungal medication should be needed, although you should confirm that with your vet.

 Pendulous crop

Pendulous crops are next on our list of common chicken illnesses. So what is it? A pendulous crop is when the organ gets blocked for whatever reason and food can’t pass. It then begins to stretch so much that it bulges and starts to hang.

You can remember what this disease is by remembering that pendulous means hanging – the crop is hanging.

Pendulous crop is similar to an impacted crop, and is actually pretty serious, since a major organ has been damaged and can’t work in the same way that a healthy one would, and it has a harder time sending food down into the stomach.

Treatment

Now, whether you can treat pendulous crop depends on the severity of the case. You can first empty the crop by “burping” the chickens.

To burp a chicken, you hold it so it’s head is at a 60 degree angle to the ground, and massage the crop until the contents spill to the floor.

Once relieved of its contents, you can then keep the bird in a warm, quiet location and offer water for 24 to 48 hours to see if the organ returns to the proper size. Then you can gradually reintroduce food if it seems all is well.

Now in serious cases, and at the end of the day, only a qualified vet can tell you how serious your case of pendulous crop is, but in serious cases, if there’s too much damage, you might have to put the bird down, lest it keeps having problems with its digestive system.

Now, the three crop issues we’ve discussed all have burping the chicken in common, and at this point I want to say something about burping a bird.

This is not really something to be done lightly; quite frequently, chickens will aspirate on their own vomit, so to speak, which can lead to issues such as pneumonia.

So, if you’re going to burp your chicken, make sure you allow her to breathe between burps.

If you’re not sure how to burp your chicken or are concerned you might not do it right, then you can try bringing her to a qualified avian vet for their help.

Vent Gleet

Vent Gleet is the lay term for Cloacitis, which basically means non-specific inflammation of the cloaca. ← Veterinary Definition.

In reality, what I’ve experienced is that vent gleet is usually a bacterial or fungal infection that causes irritation to the vent, and usually is accompanied by white/yellowish discharge.

Symptoms

  • Feathers getting stuck or pasted to the vent
  • Mild to thick discharge from the vent (there ideally should be NO discharge at all in a healthy chicken)
  • A bad odor
  • A decrease in egg production
  • And/or a dull appearance

Now you can treat vent gleet, but I’m not going to go over it in this article because I have an entire article specifically about vent gleet and how you can treat it. So if you would like to learn how to treat vent gleet you can head over to that article. You can find the article here: Vent Gleet Identifying & Treating

Vent Prolapse

Essentially, a vent prolapse is a chickens insides coming out. While it is totally normal for the vent to temporarily prolapse when laying – it’s definitely NOT normal for it to stay that way!

Basically what happens is, the internal reproductive tract becomes loose and begins to protrude from the vent which makes passing poop and eggs painful for your hen, and potentially deadly.

There are a variety of different causes of vent prolapse and some different treatments you can try as well. If you want to learn more about it head on over to my article specifically about vent prolapse here: Vent Prolapse: How to Recognize & Treat Your Hen

Avian Influenza

Now the last of the chicken illnesses is Avian influenza because it’s been getting a lot of press and I know some of you are concerned about it. Yes, chickens can catch avian influenza.

I have no experience with avian influenza, so the information below is from the CDC.

Symptoms

You can recognize it by certain symptoms. Your chicken might become listless, not want to eat, have respiratory distress, diarrhea, and loss of egg production.

In severe cases, you might see symptoms like facial swelling, blue comb and wattles, and dehydration along with respiratory distress. You might also see dark red and or white spots on their legs and combs. Other symptoms include nasal discharge tinged with blood as well as an increase in production of soft-shelled eggs.

Avian influenza is spread to a backyard chicken typically by wild birds, or if you’ve been exposed to an infected flock, you might bring it home to your chicken. Good biosecurity measures will help prevent it.

There is no effective treatment for avian influenza. If your chicken does come down with it, things like proper nutrition and possibly broad spectrum antibiotics are your flock’s best shot at beating it.

More about avian flu from the Center for Disease Control

Hopefully this article helped you understand the signs and symptoms of common illnesses in your hens. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

READ NEXT: 10 WEIRD EGGS AND WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

READ NEXT: HOW TO RAISE BABY CHICKS SO THEY’RE HEALTHY FROM DAY ONE

 

Vent Gleet: Identifying & Treating

Vent Gleet: Identifying & Treating

If you’re eating, then stop before reading this article about vent gleet.

 

It’s actually the photos of backyard chickens that’ll turn you off, not really the content. But you’ve been warned that there’s some super yummy photos ahead.

 

(You can help hens with vent gleet by giving them apple cider vinegar. You can learn to make it yourself with the video below. Click here to buy and get instant access.)


Buy Now

vent gleet

 

Okay, so what is vent gleet?

I’m glad you asked.

 

But before we get started let’s get this out of the way: I’m not a vet. I’m sharing information from my experience as well as insights I’ve gotten from veterinarians.

 

This information is not meant to treat, diagnose, or remedy any illnesses. It’s for informational purposes only since every chicken is an individual.

 

If your chicken is sick, please take it to the vet and get their professional opinion before proceeding with any of the below information. You can print out this article and bring it with you.

 

Moving on.

 

Vent gleet definition

Vent Gleet is the lay term for Cloacitis, which basically means non-specific inflammation of the cloaca. ← Veterinary Definition

 

Vent gleet is disgusting but it's easily preventable and easily treated. Here's everything you need to know!

 

The hen above – a heritage barred rock, is displaying signs of vent gleet. Note the white discharge on her vent.

 

In reality, what I’ve experienced is that vent gleet is usually a bacterial or fungal infection that causes irritation to the vent, and usually is accompanied by white/yellowish discharge. (It’s similar to bumblefoot in that it’s inflammation caused by a bacterial or fungal infection – except you’ll likely treat vent gleet differently.)

 

It’s nasty, messy, and stinky, and for the sake of this article, that’s the definition of vent gleet that we’re going with. In chronic cases, it can cut short your chicken’s life span.

 

Not treated, it can make egg laying and eventually eliminating waste very uncomfortable for your hens (or leave you with bad eggs), and eventually they might just stop laying altogether.

 

Usually when a reader contacts me about vent gleet, their hens have gotten to the “nasty yellow discharge” stage, but vent gleet can also be identified by:

 

  • Feathers getting stuck or pasted to the vent
  • Mild to thick discharge from the vent (there ideally should be NO discharge at all in a healthy chicken)
  • A bad odor
  • A decrease in egg production
  • And/or a dull appearance

 

Basically, we’re talking about either a bacterial or fungal infection here. In most cases I’ve been contacted about, it’s been a fungal infection similar to thrush.

 

Ideally, you would want to get the discharge tested to know whether it’s bacterial or fungal. You can take a scraping to a vet and get their professional opinion, and treat from there.

 

But, of course, I realize that’s not always an option.

 

Now that we know what vent gleet is, what can you do about it?

 

The first thing you want to do is isolate the hen. Vent gleet is usually not communicable, but you don’t want the chicken getting dirty/reinfecting herself while you’re trying to help her. Isolating her in a clean area outside of the chicken coop will help her get healthier faster. 

 

It’ll also prevent your chicken from trying to fly away as you provide treatment.

 

If you don’t want to bring her into the house, you can always add an extra “sick bed” area – it’s an easy thing to add and include in your coop design.

 

You will want to clean the vent off with warm water, using a gentle, non-irritating soap (such as an all-natural baby soap or castile soap) or just warm water if you feel that soap isn’t needed. 

 

If there’s some feathers (or down, in the case of Silkie chickens) that won’t come clean, it’s okay to gently snip them.

 

You can also use castile soap with an essential oil such as oregano to help clean the area.

 

Clean off any poop, dry skin, or build up. Apply a commercial or all-natural antibacterial solution to keep inflammation or any sort of secondary topical infection at bay.

 

If it’s bad enough, there might be broken skin, and you don’t want another bacteria getting in there and complicating things.

 

1 drop of helichrysum essential oil mixed with 1/4 cup coconut oil helps maintain healthy skin as well.

 

Vent gleet treatment options

I’m going to give 2 approaches for vent gleet here: The pharmaceutical approach and the all-natural approach.

 

Why?

 

Because on our farm, when an animal is sick enough, we will go with pharmaceuticals to knock out the problem ASAP. Some natural methods take longer to see results, and there are times when we aren’t willing to wait for the safety, comfort, and quality of life of the animal.

 

But I know some of my readers want to be 100% natural all the time.

 

Pharmaceutical options

You can ask your vet to prescribe an antibiotic if you think the infection is bacterial. Follow your vet’s directions for dosages, administering, etc.

 

You can apply over-the-counter antifungal cream topically to the vent area, using daily until the infection is cleared up. Double check with your vet about how/where specifically to apply the antifungal cream.

 

Please note that antibiotics won’t necessarily treat a fungal infection. I’ve seen some websites that indicate they will, but it’s unlikely.

 

You should also double check withdrawal times, since you won’t want to eat any eggs they might lay while you’re treating them.

 

The All-Natural Approach

One of the reasons vent gleet occurs is when the pH of the vent goes askew. You can help your chicken maintain good gut health by providing apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp per gallon of water).

 

You can also entice your chicken to eat greek yogurt with active cultures. Any woman who has had to eat yogurt while on antibiotics understands how it can help combat fungal infections.

 

To help your chicken maintain good gut health, you can also provide fermented feed.

 

The length of time it takes a chicken to return to normal after getting vent gleet will differ from chicken to chicken.