- decreased energy
- drop, or stop in egg production
- Loss of vent feathers
- pasted poopy feathers (white, grey, even green)
- red or bloody vent
- stinky whitish discharge from vent
- smelly droppings
- soft, swollen abdomen
- sour crop ( thrush/crop yeast infection)
- weight loss/ appetite loss
- white sores on the vent and/or in the throat (thrush)
Dear reader, just because someone says they are in the medical profession, that doesn't mean they know what they are talking about. There is a lot of bad science out there as well as bad doctors and nurses. Remember the likes of Frank Burns on M.A.S.H.? So if something a vet, or nurse advises or says doesn't sit well with you, trust your instincts. What this nurse said regarding the cause of vent gleet rubbed me the wrong way, her information wasn't correct. Since sour crop and the subsequent illness of vent gleet are fungal infections, that means the sole use of antibiotics are COMPLETELY USELESS in the treatment of vent gleet! No. that's not true, they will help the vent gleet get WORSE!
Now I must make a bit of a disclaimer here. I am not completley opposed to veterin-arians and their medical treatments, many of them do a lot of good. But their knowledge and treatments are limited by their experience. If they have no experience in dealing with poultry, and they are not the least bit interested in learning about them, then move on. Not much is worse than a person who lacks curiosity, or refuses to learn something new related to their chosen field, or vocation.
A good vet who feels it is necessary to prescribe an antibiotic will also prescribe an anti-fungal called Nystatin, or something similar. I can't tell you how many times I've per- sonally taken antibiotics to knock out a bacterial problem and was then rewarded with a yeast infection. "Yay," right ladies? After 20 plus years of being personally responsible for my health, I've finally learned to ask for the yeast infection treatment at the Dr.'s office along with my antibiotic prescription. And so, it is my opinion (gained by experience), that bacterial infections and yeast infections can go hand in hand. But in this case, it is far better to knock out the yeast, and then help populate the good bacteria with probiotics, like the ones found in plain yogurt, rather than kill all the bacteria with antibiotics.
Anyway, dosage is very important with any drug, so if you don't know how much to give your bird(s), don't guess! Unfortunately, I don't have that information right now, but I'm sure after hours of internet surfing, you'll find someone who might know what they are talking about. Or if the bottle has dosing information on the back, all the better. Okay, so the label may mention (metric) tons and large herds, but if you have a scale (to weigh your bird), a clean (metric) syringe, are good at math or can operate a calculator, then you are well on your way to proper dosing!
- bathing the affected hen in warm water to clean the vent area (no soap!)
- apply anti-fungal (like coconut oil) to vent area to sooth and heal irritated skin
- adding 2-4 Tablespoons/gallon of apple cider vinegar with the 'mother' (such as Bragg's) to their water (non metal container please!)
- give each affected hen 1 Tablespoon of plain unflavored yogurt per day
And now I will tackle some grey areas in the crazy world of natural remedies. I say crazy because there are some mythical and unreliable cures out there, and here are some I've run across. I'm sure there are more, but I will deal with what I know for now.
Molasses. I know there are some very reliable chickeners who advise the use of molasses in treating vent gleet and even sour crop, but again, that doesn't make them right. I'm a baker and I can tell you for a true blue fact that yeast (fungi) adore sugar, and use it for food, and food helps them multiply. No sugar, no food, yeast dies! Any vitamins or minerals that molasses may provide does not out weigh this fact. It makes no sense to feed that which you are trying to get rid of -- the yeast, not your bird.
It should be comforting to know that if you have caught the vent gleet early, then time is on your side. If the vent gleet is more sever, a mixture of medical and natural treatments is most likely the be the best way to go.
A clean coop/run, waterer, and feeder go a very long way in preventing a lot of diseases. Good nutrition is another obvious preventative. I can honestly and ashamedly say that I have been lazy on all of these subjects. As my husband would say regarding my admis-sion, "And that's what you get!" Yes dear reader, I know better, so I have absolutely no excuses. The ones who ultimately suffer by my lazy hands are my little birds, and yes I suffer too, knowing that I helped cause their illness and even death.
Caring for animals is far more challenging than caring for people, because they can't talk back to you. I will never hear my hens say, "Hey you lazy goat, you need to clean my coop, it stinks!" Or, "This chow tastes kinda funny." You simply cannot be lazy if you want healthy animals. Shame on me. I'm pretty confident that Myrtle will pull through, but I have to be prepared for the worst. She may not have what I think she has, it may be something else entirely, and she may die. This is yet another wake up call for me. Fortunatley, laziness is 100% curable. Thank God for that!