How do my chickens doo?

So, Lee was out in the garden last week with the hens and one of the girls laid a really big splat in front of him instead of the nice tight chicken poop like you prefer to see. Obviously we’ve put it off too long–we really needed to do something about the loose poop problem they have developed.

In the August/September 2009 issue of my Backyard Poultry magazine there was a letter written in response to an article on Fall Season Herbal Wormer & Alternative. The guy who wrote the letter said he hadn’t used a commercial wormer in 25 years and his birds always pass health checks from vets when he ships them out of state. Okay, I think, so I will try this and see if we can clear up these runny poops from our hens.

His directions were take five or six cloves of garlic and blend them with some water so you have a puree. Then put that mixture into 3 or 4 gallons of the chicken water. Take away all of their other water sources and leave it with the chickens for a 24 hour period. Or leave it with the chickens for 2 or 3 days of you suspect a health problem. He does this process once a week or every other week.

I tried it. Want to see the results? Come on you know you do!

Since we seemed to have a problem we left the garlic water out for 3 days. I haven’t seen any squishy, splatty, runny poop since we tried this. I am feeling really happy with the results so far and plan on starting a regimen of putting out garlic water for them every couple of weeks.

In other chicken news, we have 2 Bob’s here that are looking really scruffy. Like we need to have chicken dinner scruffy. I can’t figure out a reason why so I am hoping that they are trying to molt. They just keep looking worse and worse. They will be a year old by the end of this month. Other than looking rough they seem to be okay. I still can’t find any mites on them.

And the last news I have on the chicken front is we have started to track how much food they are eating in a given time. It took our 11 hens 18 days to go through a 50 LB bag of food. We don’t know how much they eat when closed up, but our chicken book says they should eat about one third pound (per bird) a day. So that means that we saved about 24% on our feed cost by letting them free range.

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6 Responses to How do my chickens doo?

  1. Lynn says:

    Hi Robin, glad you cleared up the chicken poo issue! It sounds like a good idea to give them the garlic water every few weeks, anyway. Do the eggs from those days taste any different? Did the chickens mind the garlic water?

    Chickens certainly do like to eat grass and bugs while free-ranging. If we don’t put our chickens’ food outside, it seems they really don’t go inside the coop much during the day to eat, and they only go inside at night at the last minute to sleep.

    Happy birthday to your pullets this month! Soon they will not be pullets, but hens!

  2. Leigh says:

    Robin, thanks for this! I have at least one with runny poops and I haven’t been sure what to do about it. I tend to shy away from antibiotics and commercial products unless absolutely necessary. I will definitely give this a try.

  3. Ron says:

    Awesome! I’m going to try that!

    That’s nifty that you tracked your feed for the hens. I know that the few times we’ve been gone for a few days mine have gone through WAY more than usual. Now that I’ve cleared up a rodent problem here, I’m back to scarcely noticing any feed gone every day.


  4. That is a good idea. I’m going to bring this up and see if we need to try it with our chickens. Usually, when we are going through a lot of feed, there is another animal getting in there and getting it!

  5. lee says:

    Lynn – We didn’t notice any difference in the eggs while the chickens were on the garlic water. We don’t really track the collection day, but I know I haven’t eaten any eggs recently that had a garlic flavor. Quite a few of our eggs are getting boiled and frozen now for the pigs this summer.

    I’ve read that it’s not “really” free range unless the feeders are outdoors, but our chickens are like yours–they hardly go inside! When they do, they all go, and then there all back out in 5 minutes again pecking around.

    Leigh – I was glad to see to see it worked too. This wasn’t a terribly scientific test .. we didn’t measure parasite load before and after .. but going by the poop there was an improvement.

    My sister-in-law has been working with some people locally that don’t worm their sheep with chemicals either. One of them has been improving a formula with vinegar, garlic, and some other ingredients and the vet said they had one of the cleanest parasite tests he’d ever seen. We’ll be asking them for the recipe when we get our sheep one of these days.

    Ron – I wish we’d been tracking when they were locked up during the move. It would have provided a better baseline. We’ve picked a fixed spot in the feeder as the refill point and we’ll mark each 50lbs on the calendar. I’d like to start counting eggs to, as that would provide a useful eggs/lbs measure and we could see how that varies with their access to pasture. Need to get some wheels on the chicken coop …

    Laura – Thankfully we haven’t had any trouble with rodents so far. With our little adopted stray cat Jack, hopefully it will stay this way.

  6. Pingback: Chicken molting » Farm Folly

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