Vent Gleet - Symptoms, Causes and Natural Treatment for Backyard Chickens

I'll spare you the gory photos of a chicken afflicted with vent gleet, but suffice it to say, these girls don't have it - and if they did, it would not be at all pretty to look at. You can google images of 'chicken with vent gleet' if you really want to see what it looks like, but to find out how to easily prevent and treat vent gleet naturally, just read on....

We affectionately call our chickens 'fluffy butts' and that's exactly what you want to see in your flock. Vent gleet, which is a fungal yeast infection also referred to as 'thrush' or 'infected cloaca', often shows itself in the form of a dirty, foul-smelling vent due to copious whitish discharge and diarrhea. Missing or pasted feathers around the vent, redness and swelling are also signs that you are dealing with vent gleet.  

Vent gleet is not exactly an illness in itself, but instead manifests itself due to increased ph levels and an imbalance of bad bacteria in a chicken's digestive tract. Although not normally fatal if treated quickly, it can spread to the reproductive system quite easily and also result in sour crop and becomes more difficult to treat the longer it goes on. Not contagious, it often shows up in multiple flock members since logically they have all been subjected to the same stressors that caused the vent gleet in one.

Vent gleet should never be treated with antibiotics; antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria. Instead, concentrating on restoring a healthy bacterial balance in the intestinal tract by boosting the good bacteria with probiotics is the goal of a natural course of treatment. Treatment should continue until you see clear signs of improvement (it should only take a few days if you catch it fast enough and start treatment immediately). Your entire flock can be treated with this natural remedy which reintroduces good bacteria into the digestive tract.

~Vent treat can be treated successfully using probiotics, ACV and molasses to realign intestinal ph levels~
Causes of vent gleet can include ...
  • being deprived of clean water
  • eating moldy feed or scraps
  • excessive heat
  • stress
  • general poor health
Symptoms of vent gleet can include ...
  • diarrhea
  • whitish discharge from vent
  • smelly droppings
  • loss of vent feathers
  • pasted feathers
  • red or bloody vent
  • soft, swollen abdomen
  • white sores on the vent and/or in the throat
  • sour crop
  • weight loss/decreased appetite
  • decreased energy
  • drop in egg production
Treatment includes ...
  • bathing the affected hen to clean the vent area
  • offering a molasses flush consisting of 1/2 Cup of molasses per gallon of water - free choice for several hours then replaced with fresh, plain water
  • adding 2-4 Tablespoons/gallon of apple cider vinegar with the 'mother' (such as Bragg) to the water
  • giving each affected hen 1 Tablespoon of plain unflavored yogurt per day
Prevention includes ...
  • providing fresh, clean water and fresh feed, discarding old, wet feed immediately 
  • adding 1 Tablespoon/gallon of apple cider vinegar to the water
  • adding probiotic powder to the daily feed
  • offering a small amount of plain unflavored yogurt as an occasional treat
~A bit of plain yogurt as an occasional treat is always enjoyed...and will help keep intestinal tracts healthy~
Being vigilant and treating any sign of vent gleet immediately should result in quickly restoring the good bacterial balance in your flock's digestive system, while a few preventives will go far to help keep it from happening again. And remember, fluffy butts are the sign of healthy hens!

~Health 'fluffy butts' enjoying their breakfast supplemented with probiotic powder in their feed and ACV in the water~



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  1. you sure can tell a lot about an animals health by their but and droppings. My kids I talk poop too much...
    Love Leanne

  2. I have been treating vent gleet for 3 weeks now , is this normal to still have it? It is only one hen from the flock and I have her segregated from the others.

  3. Hello,
    How long should I be treating this? It has been 2 weeks now and I have another hen with it. :( Total of 3 now. I am a little scared that these hens wont get better because these Brahma hens are little angels and so good with the kids. help!!