So, we recently found out that our chickens have vent gleet. It’s not pretty – it literally looks like nasty-ness coming from their butts.
What’s the solution? How do you get rid of vent gleet?
Vent Gleet: The Dreaded “Nasty Chicken Butt”
Vent gleet is the traditional name for an avian yeast infection, also known now as cloacitis, thrush, or mycosis. A chicken with what can only be described as a “nasty butt”, is caused by the balanced ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria becoming upset in the chicken’s digestive tract.
Vent gleet can start out only effecting the “vent”, or anus, of the chicken, but if left untreated can spread all the way up the digestive tract to the beak. Because a chicken’s vent serves multiple purposes (expelling the fowl’s waste as well as the opening passage for hens to lay their eggs), keeping a chicken’s vent healthy is especially important.
Another important factor is that vent gleet has been known to be contagious to other poultry in the infected chicken’s flock.
Vent gleet has very distinct signs and symptoms. The beginning telltale signs of cloacitis are all concentrated on the rear end of the chicken. One of the earliest signs of mycosis is diarrhea, which because of its nature, will stick and cling to a chicken’s rear feathers, unlike healthy droppings. Hence the term “nasty butt”.
The chicken’s droppings will also take on a worse-than-normal smell. The next step in worsening thrush will be a decline in egg production. From there, the symptoms will escalate to the danger zone where there is a possibility of not being able to bring a chicken back to health and may have to instead cull it.
These dangerous symptoms of vent gleet start out with the loss of feathers around the vent, white sores on the rear area, white waxy patches (yeast) in the throat, and a red, swollen vent. As mycosis worsens, the bald patch that develops around the vent will grow. Other symptoms that may develop anywhere along the spectrum of things going from bad to worse include decline in energy, depression, weight loss, decreased hunger with increased thirst, and inexplicable laying problems in adult hens.
As those with laying hens usually like to eat their fresh eggs, curing vent gleet can create some challenges in options. Most store-bought medicines and probiotics have a withdrawal period that would prevent chicken owners from enjoying a chicken’s fresh eggs, or their meat for those so-inclined. Thankfully there are quite a few natural remedies that have been known to work on even tough cases of vent gleet.
• One of the best options is the natural probiotic of plain yogurt with live cultures. Each infected chicken should get a couple of tablespoons of yogurt a day until the thrush begins to clear up. As vent gleet can be contagious, it is usually a good idea to allow all the chickens in the flock to partake in the yogurt as there are no ill side-effects, thus combating the yeast infection in both the early and advanced cases.
• Another probiotic option is to add acidophilus to the poultry feed. Often, the easiest way to this is to buy acidophilus capsules found with other vitamins in grocery stores and drug stores. Acidophilus usually comes in the form of powder held inside a capsule. Simply open the capsule and pour the powder onto the chicken’s feed once a day.
• A third option is to add apple cider vinegar “with mother” to the chicken’s water supply. The acidity of the vinegar prevents yeast growth, thereby keeping the problem from getting worse. As this option does only attacks the bad yeast in the water supply and chicken’s digestive tract, it should also be used with one of the options above as both of those focus on aiding the good yeast. By combining the use of apple cider vinegar with a probiotic, this offers the chicken’s body the most possible support in regaining a healthy balance in the digestive tract.
Since vent gleet in chickens is a fungal infection, all you need to do is give them plenty of plain yogurt for a couple days and add some apple cider vinegar to their water.
Voila! They’re better!
Here are some pics of their nasty butts.