I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite a while now and have spent a good deal of time learning and researching this syndrome. I was first introduced to this syndrome by fellow chicken keeper, Amy of The Spice Girls last year. Amy shared that she enjoyed treating her flock to handfuls of black sunflower seeds each day. What seemed to be a completely harmless way to show love and treat her flock, in fact lead to one of her girl’s demise. My heart sank.
Fatty Liver Diseases are illnesses that are not contagious. However, it is not uncommon to see an entire flock on the same diet suffer from the same fate if changes are not made to their diets. Often these chickens pass away with their owners wondering the cause. One moment they appear healthy and the next they are gone. Today’s post will touch upon both Fatty Liver and Kidney Syndrome and the more popular Fatty Liver Hemorrhagic Syndrome.
Fatty Liver and Kidney Syndrome (FLKS) mostly affects younger birds. It is caused by nutritional and metabolic issues- primarily a lack of biotin. To prevent FLKS, it is important that your chickens eat foods that contains biotin. For example, the organic chicken feed that I use contains soybeans. Manna Pro’s Life Lytes also contain biotin and so does sea kelp (Check out Cluck n Sea Kelp). Biotin is also known as Vitamin B7. Some sources of naturally occurring biotin include:
|Fresh cabbage. One of the flock’s favorite treats on a winter day.|
Some Causes of FLHS Include:
- high caloric intake
- excessive fatty foods- sunflower seeds, suet
- lack of exercise/sedentary lifestyle
- lack of biotin and Choline chloride in the food- both necessary for fat metabolism
- tainted chicken feed
Signs and Symptoms of both FLHS and FLKS:
- pale comb
- egg laying is slowed or halted
- fluffed up appearance
- sitting in one place, not moving around
- excess of abdominal fat
- Supplementing feed with 6 % oat hulls
- Trying a high protein feed (up to 20% protein).
- Adding Choline chloride, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12 and Inositol to their feed. (Merrick’s Blue Ribbon Poultry Electrolytes has all of these except for the Inositol. A good source of Inositol is cantaloupe.)
- Feeding biotin rich foods for proper fat metabolism
- fish meal
- alfalfa meal
- Increase exercise and free ranging
- Limit fatty foods