If we have to talk about chicken output, it’s definitely more fun to talk about eggs. However, to ensure that our egg layers are healthy, we have to monitor their droppings as much as we track their eggs.
Yellow chicken poop is primarily normal and caused by their diet. On the other hand, yellow droppings could also indicate coccidiosis and other serious illnesses.
This article looks at some of the common causes of yellow chicken poop and when to worry. Read on to learn everything you need to know about yellow chicken poop.
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Causes of Yellow Chicken Poop
It’s always alarming when your chickens’ droppings change color or texture. In the case of runny yellow chicken diarrhea, it could mean that the bird is sick and requires urgent treatment. Let’s look at some of the most common causes of yellow chicken poo:
1. Change in Diet
Most of the time, when you notice yellow chicken droppings could be because of a different diet. Corn, for example, could cause your chickens to bring yellow poo.
Sometimes yellowish or brownish-red droppings might also be caused by the shedding of cecal cells, which is normal.
However, another cause of yellow chicken poop is coccidiosis. This severe, sometimes fatal, intestinal disease affects many chickens worldwide.
The illness is caused by a parasitic organism that attaches itself to the walls of the chicken’s intestine. This damages the chicken’s intestinal tract, preventing the bird from absorbing the nutrients it needs for survival and good health.
Coccidiosis and Yellow Chicken Poop
The disease starts with an oocyst, or microscopic egg passed through the chicken’s droppings. The oocyst can stay dormant in the soil for a year without being infectious until the surrounding environment supports it.
Sporulation (the egg becoming infectious) typically occurs between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit in wet and humid conditions. Areas around waterers and feeders are prime for the parasites, especially if they’re not cleaned regularly.
After sporulation, the egg is consumed by a chicken, typically through drinking, eating, or scratching the ground.
Once in the stomach, acid then starts working on the oocyst’s hard outer shell. It hatches and invades the cell lining of the chicken’s small intestine. It goes through many life stages and multiplies exponentially and raptures bowel cells as it continues to proliferate.
All chickens are carriers of the coccidiosis organism. However, not all become infected with the disease. Coccidiosis can also be spread by unknowingly carrying the oocyst (eggs) on clothes and equipment such as pails or shovels into the chicken coop.
Young chickens under six months are most vulnerable to the disease since they haven’t fully developed immunity. Nevertheless, adult chickens can also get infected with the disease and spread it to other birds through their droppings.
The disease develops very quickly, with an incubation period of between 4 and 8 days. Symptoms could appear suddenly or develop gradually. Therefore, it’s not unlikely that a chicken will appear fine one day, fall very sick, or even die the next day.
The primary indicator of coccidiosis includes mucus or blood in droppings, turning it yellowish or reddish. Since reddish or yellowish poop does not always mean coccidiosis, the surest way to know the chicken has it is to have it looked at by a veterinarian. Other common symptoms include:
- Weakness and listlessness.
- Watery droppings.
- Weight loss in mature chickens.
- Ruffled feathers.
- Pale comb or skin.
- A decrease in the growth rate for young chickens.
- Failing to lay eggs or laying eggs inconsistently.
It’s important to know that not all chickens display these symptoms, and they differ between different chickens. If you suspect a chicken has coccidiosis, have its droppings tested by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Thankfully, there is a treatment for coccidiosis if caught early enough. Treating every chicken in the flock to contain the outbreak is essential. The most popular treatment is Amprolium, which blocks a parasite’s ability to uptake and imply.
Treatment is usually administered by mixing amprolium into the water supply. However, in cases where the chickens have lost appetite, amprolium is administered orally.
Treatment is repeated for 7 days, though chickens can show improvement within 24 hours. In hot and wet environments, the second dosage of treatment is recommended after a break to ensure the infection is eradicated completely. Amprolium can also be administered on an ongoing basis as a vaccine.
Prevention and Control
The best way to manage a coccidiosis outbreak is by preventing one from happening in the first place. While some of the measures below might not always prevent an outbreak, they go a long way in ensuring your chickens’ safety.
1. Practice Good Biosecurity
To keep your chickens healthy, don’t wear the same clothes or use the same equipment that has been used in another chicken coop. If you do so, you will risk exposing your chickens to a different strain of coccidiosis that they might not be immune to.
Always provide fresh and clean water so that the infected chickens are not weak due to constant diarrhea. It is also advisable to look for professional advice if the yellow dropping persists, especially if it is watery.
As we saw earlier, the coccidiosis parasite loves to contaminate water. As a result, you should provide fresh and clean water to your chickens. If possible, provide them with nipple waverers instead of open watering areas.
2. Keep Feeding Areas Clean and Dry
A clean, dry environment is necessary to avoid many diseases, including coccidiosis. Also, never throw food on the ground, where it can be contaminated.
Use Medicated Starter Feeds for Chicks
Unvaccinated young chickens should be fed with medicated starter feed to reduce the risk of exposing them to the coccidiosis parasite.
However, don’t use medicated starter feed if your chicks have been vaccinated. This is because the effects of the vaccine and the medicated starter feed cancel out each other.
Seeing yellow droppings in your chicken coop can be alarming. However, it’s comforting to know that most of the time, it results from dietary change or normal shedding of cecal cells. Nevertheless, observing your chicken for other symptoms is important to confirm if it might be suffering from coccidiosis.