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Backyard Chickens Vent Gleet: Prevention and Treatment

Okay folks, this post is not going to be pretty.  In fact, some of the photos are just down right yucky!

Vent Gleet in Rescue Hen
Photo Credit: The Animal Sanctuary used with expressed permission.
Vent gleet also sometimes referred to as cloacitis or thrush is a fungal infection involving the digestive and reproductive systems.  Often the first signs of this infection can appear at the vent.  When examining the vent, it appears to have a whitish discharge that can sometimes smell like fermenting yeast.  The feathers surrounding the vent and backside are often missing and coated with fecal material as well as yeasty discharge and some crusting. The skin around the vent can also appear reddened and irritated. The degree of vent gleet can vary. Some cases are quite obvious, and others times it can be more subdued.  A yeast called Candida Albicans is responsible for the infection. All poultry of all ages can be susceptible.  It is not contagious and sometimes, although not often, can occur in roosters.

Photo Credit: Old McAndy Farms used with expressed permission.
Causes
-ingesting moldy or spoiled food-especially corn
-contaminated water
-unsanitary conditions
-sour crop
-imbalance of the normal occurring bacteria in the digestive system also known as the normal flora
-can occur after the use of oral antibiotics
-mating with an infected hen

Symptoms can vary from case to case but include
-white discharge from the vent
-missing or soiled feathers around the vent
-sour crop
-red or swollen vent- can be bloody if severe case
-loose stools
-decrease or cessation of egg laying
-depression
-decreased appetite or increased appetite
-loss of weight
-Whitish patches/lesions in the mouth
-pasting of vent feathers
-swollen bloated abdomen


Treatment:
-Bathe the chicken to help cleanse and soothe the affected area.
-Nystatin liquid suspension provided by the vet to be given orally is very effective for 7-10 days.
-Anti-fungal creams like those used for athlete's feet applied topically twice daily to the vent area for 14 days.
-Garlic cloves, 1 per gallon, added to their water supply can be helpful as well.
-During treatment, avoid feeding your chickens foods that have a high water content and can cause watery stools, such watermelon.


Prevention
-Acidify their digestive tract and crop by adding 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with the "mother" to each gallon of their drinking water. Be sure to use plastic waterers as the vinegar will cause the metal ones to rust.
-Add probiotics to their diet by enriching their food or feeding them plain unsweetened yogurt with live and active cultures once per week. This helps to restore the balance of the normal flora.
-Clean the waterers regularly with distilled vinegar.
-Keep the coop and run clean.
-Practice good hygiene. Keep the coop and run clean and dry.
-Never feed the chickens kitchen scraps you would not eat yourself.
-Keep chicken feed dry and stored in weather tight metal garbage cans.
-Discard any questionable or moldy feed.

Vent gleet is not caused by bacteria but yeast, thus trying to cure it with antibiotics is not typically successful and in fact can make matters worse.  Antibiotics can kill off both the bad bacteria and the good bacteria (normal flora) promoting the occurrence of yeast. A chicken that has vent gleet should not be viewed as being a weaker flock member. Vent gleet can occur in any chicken.  By instituting a few simple measures and treating any infected chickens in the flock, soon everyone's' butts will be fluffy again.

The fluffy butts of  Tilly's Nest.

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References available upon request.

This post is linked up to The Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop and The Clever Chick Blog Hop.
Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest/see photo captions.

46 comments:

  1. My hens seem to have a bare vent area but nothing else and the rooster is fine. Any thoughts?
    Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Could be feather picking Darlene from mites, poultry lice or boredom. I have discussed all three in my chicken resources page. Take a peek and see if it sounds like any of your chickens. http://www.tillysnest.com/p/chicken-care-resourcesguide.html

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  2. this info is great for those who have a vet within a 100 miles that do birds but for the rest of us not living on either coast, are there any other options???

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    Replies
    1. Access to a vet and a prescription for Nystatin will help to speed along the recovery and treatment in severe cases. However, the other treatments mentioned can be quite effective. When I reached out to one of the photo sources, they told me that their flock was cured after 3 days of adding yogurt to their diet. Hope this helps.

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    2. Call your farm vet...mine vets office is 3 hrs. Away...he is SUPER will always offer help known v we ARD out in the country...or he is out in the country..lol. good luck. Call ask for advice...never hurts to tell them how far you live..how many chickens.....& you can mail a check or money order or credit card for the meds.

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  3. Thanks for the helpful info. I definitely want to keep my girls' butts looking healthy and fluffy!

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  4. You're right Melissa... Not pretty... I can't imagine it's very comfortable for chickens either...
    Great post and info! One to keep in the chicken file for sure! thanks for sharing it at FGF

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  5. hi. i'm new to the blog hop. my husband and i have a cattle farm in alberta. i also own and operate a small paper shop from the farm. the shop like my blog is call Black Ink Paperie. my blog features stories about the farm and growing up in small fishing village in nova scotia. i would love for you to visit my blog and follow if you like it. i did a guest post last week called "a cow's tale" which tells the story about one of our cows and her exciting life.

    http://www.blackinkpaperie.blogspot.com

    thanks and i can't wait to visit all the other blogs
    new follower bev

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  6. Yikes! Luckily I've never had to deal with this in any of my chickens and I hope I never do. But now I know what to do just in case!

    PS - Thanks so much for the sweet comment about Buttercup. I really appreciate it.

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  7. Great information for my future flock of girls.

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  8. Thanks for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Melissa. I had a chick with vent gleet once. The smell was putrid and unmistakable. It could be frightening if you don't recognize it or are unaware of what the foul droppings are caused by.

    I linked up a couple posts to this week's blog hop. Thank you for hosting! ☺

    Kathy

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  9. Thank you , Thank you, Thank you. I rescued 3 hens about 1 1/2 years ago and have had this issue with them every since . They came from a bad situation, there were 6 in all and I took 3 and a friend took the other 3, they slept on a poopy blanket at night or should I say stood on it , didn't have anything to perch on, and were laying eggs in a rabbit cage on the ground, eating the eggs and there pen was on cement and no shelter from the weather and I wanted to give then a good home. I have searched all over for help, taken them to a vet, have been pulling my hair out as I have felt sooooo bad for the girls as their bums get so red and sore looking and they just drip from their back ends and boy does it ever smell.I love my girls and didn't want anyone thinking I was not taking proper care of them. Unfortunately I lost one of my girls in October, she had the worst bum, I even went as far as to have her body and stomach dissected to see if we could figure out what it was but they figured she died of something unrelated to her bum. You are my hero, I am going to put this action into plan and get my girls healthy. Again thank you so much . I will post again and let you know how their making out.


    Tina

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Tina for leaving such a nice comment. I am so happy that I have helped you solve their problem. They will definitely need the Nystatin if the case is severe. Your girls are SO very lucky to help you. Good Luck! I will be thinking of you and your hens.~Melissa

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  10. Just saw your post and wanted to add a treatment that everyone can get that has been having great results for several people I know. There is a product called NuStock that has anti-fungal properties. It is being applied to the vent area with great success. You can get it at Jeffers http://www.jefferspet.com/nu-stock/camid/PET/cp/4F-A1/ but if you google it, it is available other places as well.

    There is a very interesting story of a flock of chickens that were rescued from a bad situation at this blog: http://naturalchickenkeeping.blogspot.com/p/healing-gb.html
    It lists many ways that the NuStock was used. It's one of those things that I keep in my "first aid" for the chickens at all times.

    Hope it will be helpful for others too!

    LM

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  11. I also have a hen (1yr old gold star) with vent gleet that was given to me. When I have her seperated and treat her with warm epsom salt baths, Apple cider vinegar in her water and plain dannons yogurt it clears up within a few days but a couple days after she is back with the flock it starts again. I am seperating her and treating her again, if it happens to come back I plan on adding ACV in the whole flocks water and treating with yogurt a couple times a week and if necessary bathing her when needed. She has not stopped producing eggs thoughout her vent gleet and when she is separate I do toss her eggs. When she is with the flock though I am not sure which egg is hers as I have two gold stars and they both lay in the same nesting box. Should her eggs be eaten? I do wash all my eggs now because it does gross me out that she may be sitting on the other ones and getting her nasty smelling butt on the clean eggs. I have been raising chickens for a while now and none of my original birds have ever had this. Any other ideas or thoughts are greatly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it sounds like you are doing all the right things. If you are concerned about the eggs, you could always just wash all the Gold Star eggs or use the commercially available egg wipes. Don't forget, the eggs do have a "bloom" on them that should keep any potential gleet from contaminating the egg. Do keep me posted please on how everything works out. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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  12. I have questions... We had only 2 hens, about 2 years old. They were our first and only chickens and had been healthy.

    A couple of weekends ago we found Lucy dead in the yard. There was no evidence of predators or illness, and she had laid an egg the day before. She was our best layer of the two. After she died, Rosie (who had not been laying but one or two eggs a week) stopped laying altogether. She is a lone chicken now -no an egg for over two weeks. She's not egg bound, but has low appetite. She forages & eats worms we find when weeding but has not touched her feed. She is drinking water and clucks and tried to eat my sweater buttons yesterday.

    She has had runny yellowish white poop for several days now, with an occasional somewhat formed ball. I've not noticed a bad smell. She has lost feathers on her vent area which is now very red and irritated. We have added garlic & ACV to her water and bathed her in Epsom salts.

    Should we try a topical fungicide next along with plain yogurt? We've got Probios powder on order and will be feeding her that as well. We don't have a vet nearby. Thanks for your help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh how sad of your loss. A couple of things come to mind. One is that she is most definitely lonely. Chickens do not do well as single birds and do best in flocks of three or more. Also, do you have an avian vet nearby who can help? It sounds like there could be an array of problems happening and often it is best to call in a professional. Also, there is a Chicken Vet on Facebook that you can post your issues to their page. Best of Luck and please keep me posted.

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  13. Yes, we do know she is missing her buddy. We have been offered two more chickens from a friend but are concerned that she might have something contagious so are waiting about that until we get a handle on what is wrong. We thought a local vet would treat chickens but found out they only do structural things like resetting broken wings.

    I will look into the Facebook vet and see whether they can be of help. Thanks for the tip and for your sympathy. Will let you know what we find out. I appreciate your blog and that you are still following this post :^)

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes, please do and best of luck to you and your henny girl.

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  14. Hi, my chicken is about 1.5 years old. Last October she had vent gleet and it took a good couple of weeks to clear up. She has not laid one egg since. She is healthy and active and eating well but she has about 1 day a week where she doesn't seem herself, will sit puffed up throughout most of the day, generally looking sorry for herself but then snaps out of it and is absolutely fine. I am giving all 3 birds poultry spice and hoping that this may help. I do not understand why she has not laid an egg since October.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are many possibilities as to why your lovely hen has stopped laying. Things can go wrong with their reproductive systems and she could also be laying eggs internally :( It could also possibly be lack of protein or calcium. You best bet would probably be taking her to a vet who sees chickens who can do a complete and thorough investigation into this problem. Best of Luck!

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  15. hi
    I had a chicken that is 1 and half year old. She had stopped laying eggs since 4 months. Now from a week she is not eating and drinking anything.
    Her abdomen got swalloed and from yesterday her one leg and half of abdomen turns white and spongy. As if it filled of water or puss?

    Her discharge is white liquid mostly and a bit green.

    Is it diahreaa? Or something else. Plz help me identify it.
    I am giving her water and food by myself. I had given her butter milk

    I am very worried why her one leg and abdomen had turned white spongy like.

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  16. I love the name "Oyster Cracker" !! Pam

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  17. Hi I have 3 chickens, one suddenly developed a problem similar looking vent as pictured became lethargic, not eating did not want to go out and stopped laying. Another has a similar looking vent and is not laying but seems well. Have tried treatments with red mite powders, louse powders, bathing them in antiseptics and just giving them layers mash no scraps. They have not been laying now for months and don't appear to be getting better, have just tried cider vinegar and a tonic from the wholesaler. Can anyone help? i am worried about introducing some new hens if they will get it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no :( I would definitely hold off on adding new hen to the flock until you get this flock healthy again. If I were you I might also research to see if there is a vet in your area that sees chickens. They might require further examinations.

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  18. I suspect my Lucille has chicken gleet. Looks like photo's above. I started giving her yoghurt with active cultures in the morning and afternoon and to my surprise she loves it!
    Also started adding some apple cider vinegar to her water.
    Only started this treatment yesterday, hope it works. My poor darl'n looks miserable.

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    Replies
    1. Do keep us posted on how she does! Hoping for a speedy cure!

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  19. How much Nystatin for 7 - 10 days? Directly into the mouth or in her water? I am thinking one drop in a syringe of water ???

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    Replies
    1. The nystatin that we got from the vet was in liquid form, drawn up undiluted in the syringe. Just open up the beak and gently squirt it in.

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  20. Thank you soooo much for posting this info! My Annie "good chicken" has had vent gleet since we have had her and I never knew what was wrong until I read about this.
    I looked around to see why she would have such a messy tush and it is because of the information you have provided that I hope will save her from this fungus. She is only 2 years old and such a dear busy biddy. I hope I will have many years of her presence in my life and the the Nystatin clears it up.
    Liza

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    Replies
    1. Liza, I am so happy that you found this post helpful. I'm hoping that Annie makes a full recovery. Do be sure to pop back in and let us know how she does.

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  21. thank you for this, I now think I have a solution-Mountain High Yogurt laced with Usnea which is an anti-fungal, anti-viral herb that grows on pine trees, put in some mealy worms-hope to see some results soon-we thought it was bacterial infection and was treating it wrong

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome. It does fool lots of people. I hope things improve for your flock. Do keep me posted.

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  22. At last I know what is wrong with my hen! Although her feathers are covered in smelly discharge, her vent seems pink and healthy. She has had a bath this morning and is eating a bit of boiled rice (the only thing she will eat) laced with yoghurt. My other hen (I lost the third) is picking on her, perhaps because she smells, so I have to keep them apart until bedtime.Sh'e not drinking much so I gave her water with ACV from a dropper. How much yoghurt should I try to get in her? Such a helpful forum thank you

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    Replies
    1. I am so happy to help! For one hen a couple tablespoons of yogurt should suffice or you can try adding probiotics to her water.

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  23. At last I think I know what is wrong with my hen. Although her backside is covered with smelly goo, her vent seems pink and healthy She has had a bath this morning and is eating a bit of boiled rice (the only thing she will eat at the moment) laced with yoghurt. She's not drinking much either so I gave her water with ACV from a dropper. No vet available until after the holiday, I will try to get Nystatin then. What a helpful blog, thank you so much.

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  24. Thank you so much for this information! Just freaked out over my 10 week old ameraucauna chick not feeling well and then when examined the redness/swelling/puss did look exactly like a yeast infection (being female I have experienced one...ugh).

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  25. is it safe to eat the eggs from a chicken with vent gleet

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you can eat the eggs as long as you are not medicating your chickens. Remember, chickens lay their eggs with a "bloom" that keeps the eggs safe by creating a barrier to bacteria, spores, and fungi.

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  26. ...just wanted you to know how much I enjoy reading your posts...I don't raise chickens, but I just love the little creatures....I am elderly and live alone and remember my grandmas flock....we played with them and fed them for her....reading your posts brings back fond memories...and I just plain like learning more about them...I will keep checking in and reading about the girls...I agree...their "fluffy butts" are one of their best features....thank you for sharing all your knowledge...Judith

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  27. Hello, my hen has vent gleet and I have been feeding her yogurt and I will buy the vinegar with the mother soon to put in the water. I cleaned her butt and clipped the feathers too close to her vent that would cause her to get a dirty butt again. The skin around her vent is red and a bit swollen. My question is, can I apply Organic Coconut Oil to the skin around her butt to ease its irritation. Coconut oil is known to cure fungi and athletes foot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, coconut oil is safe to use on chickens. It also works great in the winter to prevent frostbite when rubbed on the wattles and combs.

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  28. I was diagnosed with candida by several doctors. I tried all the suggestions to no avail.
    My brother's doctor told him to use oregano oil. (surprised to learn he had it too!)
    It works!

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  29. Would Vaseline suffice as a replacement for Nystatin?

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    Replies
    1. No, Nystatin is an antifungal drug. Vaselineis not and should never be consumed. It should only be used topically.

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Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I look forward to reading them with each and every post that I write and I also love hearing from you.