Hens with pasty butts

Asked September 26, 2013, 9:59 PM EDT

I have 5 hens with dark, moist, pasty feathers on their back ends. The hens show no signs of sickness. They eat and drink well and produce eggs with no problem. The rooster that is with them had the same issue. I put garlic in their water for a month or so and 1 hen and the rooster no longer have pasty butts. We have been eating the eggs with no problem. I ran out of garlic so I haven't given it to them for a week so far. What do you think is going on and how can I find out what this is? Should we be eating the eggs? I could send a picture if it would help.

Erie County Pennsylvania

3 Responses

It appears that the birds are doing well enough to lay eggs. That is a good sign. The amount of paste you will see on chicken vents depends on many factors. You may see some soil in normal conditions. Sometimes a heavy amount of soil is a symptom of gastric upset. Be sure to clean the watering system periodically to help reduce bacterial loads.

If you are feeding garlic to the chickens as the only treatment, you should be okay eating the eggs. If you start feeding any restricted products, then you will need to follow label directions.

I decided to send some pictures of one of the chickens back end. I also discovered some droppings or manure from one of the chickens that I've never seen before. Is this abnormal?
Is there some testing that could be done to find out what is going on with these chickens? Thank you. Jean

This looks like foamy diarrhea. This could be attributed to a enteritis condition that is irritating the birds. I would hold off on feeding anything but a commercial layer diet and clean water. Dump out and scrub your waters every other day. Use a weak bleach solution (3-4 drops per gallon) to rinse out the watering system followed by clean water.