01 Sep Main causes of watery faeces in poultry
Excess water in feces is a sign of alarm, an indication that there may be a health problem and that the gut may not be converting feed into meat or eggs as efficiently as it should. Wet feces also lead to welfare problems such as footpad dermatitis and skin burns, while increasing the risk of carcass contamination and foodborne infections.
Watery feces may be related to excessive secretion of water from the urinary system, due to excessive drinking or to kidney malfunction, or to poor gut health.
Causes related to the urinary system
Whenever animals drink more than normal or there is kidney damage, polyuria will appear (polyuria is an excessive or an abnormally large production or passage of urine).
In chickens, the ureter carries the urine into the cloaca, where the urine is mixed with feces, making it difficult to determine if wet feces are caused by a kidney disfunction or a digestive problem. As a general rule, watery feces related to a kidney disturbance are very wet, clear, and don’t have the typical white parts (urates).
The main causes related to the urinary function are the following:
Heat stress: when the environmental temperature is high, birds tend to drink more and, as a consequence, more water is excreted through the kidneys. Heat stress also damages the intestinal epithelium, the intestine fails to absorb water and feces become watery.
Excess protein in the feed, that increases water intake.
Low feed intake: If feed intake is reduced for some reason but animals keep drinking normally, droppings are likely to become watery. Whenever watery feces are observed, it is advised to check the water and feed intake of the flock.
Viral infections: kidney damage produced by Marek’s disease, Newcastle disease, Infectious bronchitis, etc.
Mycotoxins: kidney damage produced by ochratonin A, citrinin, aflatoxins.
Overdose of salts and/or minerals: salt or minerals fed at high levels, by accident or intentionally. Drinking water with a high amount of soluble salts, especially sulfates and magnesium, also may lead to watery feces. In both cases, the loss of water can happen in the kidneys but also in the intestines due to osmotic stress.
Watery feces related to digestive problems
Damage to the intestinal epithelium (rancid fats, mycotoxins, heat stress, anti-nutritional factors, etc): during digestion, water absorption happens in the distal part of the small intestine and in the large intestine. Epithelial damage prevents water from being absorbed, and the intestinal content and feces become watery. A less known cause of damage to the epithelium is the particle size of feed: if it is very fine, it results in digestive irritation.
Feed that contains viscous cereals (wheat, barley, and rye) with a high content of water soluble non-starch polysaccharides -NSPs): as we discussed in this article, water soluble NSPs form a gel that traps water and prevents it from being absorbed. Feces are not only watery, but also gummy, often described as “sticky droppings”.
Infections, mainly coccidiosis, necrotic enteritis and dysbacteriosis, but also infections caused by E.coli, Campylobacter jejuni, spirochaetes or virus. For a differential diagnosis, it is recommended to observe the presence of the following:
- Blood or think mucus: coccidiosis
- Undigested feed: dysbacteriosis
Investigating the cause of watery feces in our farm
Whenever we observe watery feces in our farm, we should investigate the following possible causes:
- Feed and water intake levels
- Feed composition and homogeneity
- Quality of feed ingredients, especially fats and cereals
- Mycotoxin contamination in feed
- Mineral content of drinking water
- Environmental conditions inside the house
- Signs of kidney damage at necropsy
- Signs of digestive diseases at necropsy
Products of choice
GrowthPlus© is added to feed to maintain and improve digestive health. It is formulated with synergistic ingredients:
- Bactericidal and fungicidal plant extracts, combined with organic acids for better effectiveness, that reduce the number of pathogenic microbes in the digestive system.
- Plant extracts with prebiotic effect, that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
- Immunostimulant and antioxidant plant extracts.
- Silicates with mycotoxin binding function.
It is especially useful in cases of gizzard diseases, necrotic enteritis, feed passage and other enteritis. It is also used as a natural growth promoter and to replace antibiotic growth promoters.
PlusProtect Digestive© is intended for digestive health in birds and rabbits of all ages. It is formulated with synergistic ingredients:
- Essential oils with bactericidal and fungicidal activity
- Plant extracts with prebiotic effect.
- Immunostimulant and antioxidant essential oils
PlusProtect Digestive© is useful to improve gut health in the following cases:
- Candidiasis in beak, crop and gizzard
- Bacterial infections in gizzard. In severe cases, it is better to give together with our PlusBind© line (mycotoxin binders)
- Bacterial infections in the intestines (necrotic enteritis; E.coli; Salmonella sp.)
- General digestive imbalances, such as feed passage.
SupraPlus© is intended to maintain and improve digestive health and to improve hydration in poultry, ruminants and swine of all ages. It is given through drinking water and is formulated with synergistic ingredients:
- Plant extracts with prebiotic effect, that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.
- Electrolytes to maintain hydration
- Sugars that are quickly absorbed and can be easily used as a energy source
- Vitamin E
It is especially useful during the first week of life, to promote a healthy development of the digestive system and improve hydration; in case of digestive diseases, to improve gut health and restore the levels of electrolytes; in episodes of heat stress, to prevent digestive problems, restore the levels of electrolytes and fight with the body oxidation caused by free radicals.
PlusBind© is a mixture of carefully selected silicates intended for the prevention of diseases and productivity losses related to the presence of all types of mycotoxins. It is indicated in poultry, pigs, aquaculture and ruminants.
The silicates present in PlusBind© have a highly expandable molecular structure. This characteristic gives the product a wide surface available for the adsorption of mycotoxins and therefore allows a high effectiveness at lower doses (0.5-1 kg per ton of feed).
PlusBind Bio© is a mixture of carefully selected silicates intended for the prevention of diseases and productivity losses related to the presence of all types of mycotoxins. It also contains plant extracts with prebiotic effect.
It is indicated in poultry, pigs and aquaculture.
The silicates present in PlusBind Bio© have a highly expandable molecular structure. This characteristic gives the product a wide surface available for the adsorption of mycotoxins and therefore allows a high effectiveness at lower doses (0.5-1 kg per ton of feed).
PlusBreathe© contains essential oils with natural antiseptic, antioxidant, expectorant and mucolytic activity. It has a refreshing taste.
It is indicated to improve the functioning of the respiratory system and to mitigate heat stress in birds, ruminants, pigs and rabbits of all ages. It can also be nebulized in the farm environment.
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Certain health statements may not be applicable in your region.