Constipated Chicken: Signs, Effects, Causes, and Treatment

In this guide, we will cover all about constipated chicken. Here, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of constipation in chickens.

Constipation is a common problem in chickens that can lead to serious health issues if not treated. Sometimes it may be fatal if untreated.

What Do You Mean by a Constipated Chicken?

Constipation in chickens is a condition where the digestive system is unable to move waste out of the body effectively. This can lead to discomfort, pain, and other health issues if left untreated. 

There are several reasons why chickens may suffer from constipation, including poor diet, lack of free-ranging, dehydration, and certain medical conditions. 

A diet that lacks fiber can be a major contributor to constipation in chickens, as well as the lack of movement that prevents the chicken from expelling waste naturally. 

Dehydration can also cause constipation, as chickens require adequate hydration for their digestive system to function properly. 

Egg-laying chickens may also suffer from constipation due to the physical strain of laying eggs. 

It’s important to understand the symptoms and treatment options for constipation in chickens to ensure their health and well-being.

Egg Bound Vs. Constipated Chicken (How To Differentiate?)

As a chicken owner, it’s significant to be able to recognize the signs of different health issues that can affect your flock. 

Two common conditions that can cause discomfort and pain in chickens are egg binding and constipation. 

While the symptoms of these two conditions may appear similar, there are distinct differences that can help you determine which issue your chicken is suffering from.

Egg binding occurs when a chicken is unable to lay an egg due to various reasons, such as an oversized or misshapen egg or a lack of calcium

Symptoms of egg binding include lethargy, decreased appetite, and a visible bulge in the chicken’s lower abdomen. In severe cases, egg binding can be life-threatening and requires immediate veterinary attention.

On the other hand, constipation in chickens refers to the inability of the digestive system to move waste out of the body effectively. 

Symptoms of constipation include straining during bowel movements, a reduced appetite, and a swollen abdomen. 

Unlike egg binding, constipation is not typically life-threatening and can often be treated through dietary adjustments or medications.

Pasty Butt Vs Constipation in Chicken (How To Differentiate?)

Constipation and Pasty Butt are two different things. Pasty butt is mainly seen in baby chicks, and is caused by temperature changes, poor quality feed, dehydration, and parasitic infestation.

In Pasty Butt, chicken poop becomes sticky, and in constipation, poop becomes hard. The poop in Pasty Butt blocks the vent area of the chick from the outside skin, while in constipation it becomes hard inside the intestine.

Pasty butt can be easily treated with a few early steps, while constipated chicken requires little more effort to treat. Pasty butt is usually seen in baby chicks, but constipation is a health issue in all ages of chickens.

Signs and Symptoms of a Constipated Chicken?

The followings are some signs and symptoms of constipation in chickens:

Straining to defecate with abnormal walking : This is the most common symptom of constipation in chickens and can be easily identified. 

If your chicken is straining to defecate, it may indicate constipation. Mostly constipated chickens try to defecate with abnormal walking and stopping for a few minutes.

Decreased appetite: You will note a decrease in your chicken’s appetite, as constipation can cause discomfort and pain that inhibits their desire to eat.

Hard stomach: You can early feel the blockage inside the intestine by slowly pressing on the stomach. This is because of the large poop lumps inside the stomach because of constipation. 

Lethargy: By far the most serious symptom of constipation, lethargy is a sign that the chicken’s health is declining and should be addressed immediately.

Prolapsed cloaca (in severe cases): In severe cases of constipation, the chicken’s cloaca, or vent, may become prolapsed. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate veterinary attention.

Abdominal distension: Abdominal distension is a sign of constipation and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as straining during bowel movements and decreased appetite.

Effect of Constipation on Chicken

Constipation in chickens can have serious effects on their health and well-being. When waste is not effectively removed from the digestive system, it can lead to discomfort and pain in the chicken. 

This can cause a reduction in appetite, lethargy, and even depression. Additionally, constipation can lead to other health issues such as impacted crop, where the crop becomes blocked with food, and vent prolapse, where the vent becomes enlarged and protrudes from the body. 

Ensuring that your chickens have a balanced and fiber-rich diet, access to clean water and opportunities for exercise can help prevent constipation and maintain their overall health. 

If you suspect your chicken is suffering from constipation, seeking veterinary attention is important to prevent further health complications.

Causes of Constipation in Chicken

The following are some common causes of constipation in chickens:

Dehydration: Water is most significant for digesting food in chickens, birds, humans and other animals. As well as, it helps to lubricate the food inside the intestine and for easy absorption. 

Lack of water leads to lack of water inside the intestine and in the end it causes constipation in chickens. Always remember to check the waterer every day when you visit your chicken coop.

Lack of exercise (No free-ranging): This type of problem is mostly seen in caged chickens. Like humans, chickens also need exercise for proper bowel movement.

Caged chickens very rarely go outside, and they are not free-range. This is also a cause of constipation in chickens. 

Poor diet: In most of the cases’ constipation in chicken is caused because of a wrong and poor diet. All chicken raisers must understand the correct feeding methods.

They must understand the difference between daily feed and chicken treats. Feeding excessive protein treats sometimes cause constipation in chickens. A good amount of fiber in food is essential for a healthy chicken gut.

Internal parasites: Worm infestation in the intestine is a major cause of infection and blockage and dry poop. Worms suck all the essential vitamins from the food inside the intestine, which causes constipation.

Egg binding: The egg binding may cause constipation in chickens because the hen was unable to lay an egg and the blocked egg compresses the intestine. This leads to slow passage of stool, which causes constipation.

Poultry owners must ensure their birds have access to clean water at all times and feed them a balanced diet of fiber-rich foods such as leafy greens.

Treatment of Constipated Chicken

Treatment of Constipated Chicken
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The first step towards treating constipated chickens is identifying the underlying cause. After determining what’s causing your bird’s problem – dehydration or internal parasites – you should take steps accordingly.

Some remedies include:

Adding apple cider vinegar: Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per gallon of water daily for one week. Always use fresh water, so it will help the chicken to clear her gut.

Warm water bath: Putting your constipated chicken’s vent area in a warm water tub is one of the most efficient ways to treat. Don’t forget to mix Epsom salt. Hold the chicken for about 10–15 minutes in the tub. This will soften the vent muscle and help her to push out the poop.

Increase fiber intake: In acute constipation in chickens, you can feed sunflower meals (SFM), oat hulls, soybean hulls, pea hulls. These it came are rich in fiber, which will help your chicken to defecate.

Provide exercise opportunities: Allow them space outside their coop, so they can stretch their legs. Allow your chicken to freely forage in your backyard. It induces bowel movement and softening of poop inside the intestine.

Lubrication through vegetable oil: Mix one tablespoon of vegetable oil with 1 cup of warm water, then administer orally using a dropper. Also, you can lubricate the vent area using the same vegetable oil or Vaseline.

Enema: This is an easy process for professional chicken raisers. Giving normal saline (NS) IV solution as an enema will rapidly solve the constipation problem. First make the chicken comfortable by holding it.

You need an ear bulb syringe and fill normal saline water in it. Then gently push the NS solution on the vent area. 

Some solution will go inside the vent, and you will see a small amount of poop will come out. This will soften the blocked poop, which helps in defecation.

If your chicken still shows signs after taking these measures, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Summary

Constipation can be a serious health issue for chickens, leading to various complications such as prolapse or even death if not treated promptly. 

By understanding its causes and symptoms and appropriate treatment options, including added fiber intake through dietary changes or administering mineral oil orally – you can help prevent this condition from affecting your birds’ overall well-being!

Bijaya Kumar
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