Chicken droppings can vary in hues and textures from brown, to green and even black. The standard varies depending on the diet, the species of hen, the time of year and the general health condition of the hens. In addition, there are normal everyday droppings, droppings from the incubator, and undigested droppings from the cecum sack pocket. By observing the droppings of your chickens, you will be able to see if there is something wrong with their health. With this article, you will be better equipped to analyze normal droppings according to their diet and not be alarmed for nothing.
Generally, the droppings will be in shades of brown, fairly solid in consistency with a kind of small white cover on top. The solid part is the feces that contains the digested and partially digested food – while the white part represents uric acid, or what would be urine in another animal or human. So the first few times I noticed blacker droppings in the dormitory I was worried and wondered if the chickens were having health problems or internal blood leakage. Then I would think back to the contents of their food from the day before and remember that they may have eaten ashes with small pieces of charcoal in their ash bath to wash their feathers. That explained everything!
It is very beneficial for the health of the hens to have a diet rich in wood ashes. It contains vitamin K, a blood clotting agent, which is a detoxifying agent that purifies toxins from the body in a similar way to charcoal tablets in cases of human poisoning. Wild animals have often been seen eating wood burned from forest fires. So there is nothing to worry about with a few black droppings from time to time. So there is no point in panicking on the spot or reacting too impulsively. Even if the droppings are normally brown and consistent, it is also normal that their droppings can take on different textures and colors depending on their diet. But it is important to be able to observe and differentiate the reasons for these changes and understand the causes before going to a veterinarian if you have the slightest concern.
Here are the most common problems and colors to recognize in the droppings of your chickens:
Greenish colored droppings;
Possible causes: Intestinal worms, Marek’s disease, bird flu;
Most likely cause: Diet rich in greens, grass, turf, weeds and plants of all kinds.
Feces with yellowish tints
Possible Cause: Coccidiosis, intestinal worms or kidney disease.
Most likely cause: Ingestion of certain foods such as forsythia flowers, strawberries or tomatoes and corn.
Possible Cause: Internal bleeding
Most likely cause: Ingestion of coals, wood ash, dark berries such as blackberries or blueberries
Liquid brown droppings
Possible Cause: E. Coli infection or infections of the respiratory system such as bronchial tubes.
More likely cause: Ingestion of food with a higher liquid content, so the consistency of the droppings will look like more than a pudding and this can occur at a frequency of once every 7 to 8 droppings deposits, which is quite normal.
White or very liquid droppings
Possible cause: Fungal infection of the cloaca and digestive system, sometimes the crop is also infected. (Aleet wind) causes kidney damage due to a diet too rich in protein, stress, internal disease. Don’t spread food on the ground, it could get mouldy. If the problem persists, consult a veterinarian and have a prescription for antibiotics specific to this type of infection.
More likely cause: Ingestion of more than normal amounts of water, such as during the summer in very hot weather, or ingestion of large quantities of fruit such as watermelon, cucumbers or celery.
Large large pile of brown droppings
When a hen is broody for a long period of time, or becomes (broody) instead of depositing a dozen droppings a day, she will hold them until she leaves the nest and deposits a few large droppings a day. Also, the first droppings in the morning may look like this as soon as she leaves the coop. This type of droppings is completely normal.
Possible cause: a diet rich in red cabbage, beets or beet leaves.
Orange or red droppings
Possible cause: Coccidiosis infection or lead poisoning.
Probable cause: Swelling or inflammation of the intestinal wall. Orange particles are sometimes mistaken for blood. This situation is quite normal on occasion and resolves itself naturally.
Small rose part in droppings
Possible cause: desquamation of the intestinal wall.
So, as you can see, the normal droppings of the hens are presented to us in a wide variety of colors and sizes. Generally, there is nothing to worry about, especially if you can identify the cause.
However, there is one event you will never want to see, and that is definitely blood in the stool!
Note: Blood-filled droppings may indicate coccidiosis, a serious intestinal disease. These are parasites, coccidia. If you suspect this infection, take a sample to your veterinarian as soon as possible for analysis and treatment. ( Corid contains amprol which treats coccidiosis. ) It is an anti-parasite.
This article was translated, modified and produced by Louise Arbour of Chickenville with the permission and collaboration of Mrs. Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily.
I sincerely thank her for the pictures.
The Chicken Health Handbook, 2nd edition, by Gail Damerow
pps. 332-335, Storey Publishing, 2016
pps. 332-335, Storey Publishing, 2016