Vent Gleet is a fungal infection in chickens that causes a yellow or whitish paste-like discharge from their vent. If left untreated, vent gleet can spread to other chickens and cause some other serious health issues.
Vent gleet is the name given to a cloacal fungal infection caused by Candida albicans.
Candida albicans is one of the most prevalent causes of fungal infections in humans and the fungus that causes thrush, so you may have heard of it. It’s
It’s not a nice sight seeing a case of vent gleet, that much I can tell you. As I cover in this article, however, it’s treatable and something you can get under control without (hopefully) too much of an issue.
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Symptoms of Vent Gleet in Chickens
Of all the issues backyard chickens can get, vent gleet is one of the more obvious ones - but spotting it early is important to curing it and stopping it from spreading.
Hen’s will typically be eating, drinking, and acting normally. The main symptoms that give it away are:
- Yellow or whitish pus-like discharge from their vent
- Crusting of their tail feathers
- A foul smell - often enough to make other chickens stay clear of them!
- Sour crop
- Diarrhea and smelly droppings
More often than not it’ll be obvious from the backside of a hen without getting too close. When you do get close and take a good look, however, it will be very obvious, both in the foul odor and visible signs.
How Do You Treat Vent Gleet?
For most cases of vent gleet, you are going to be able to resolve it yourself with nothing more than warm water, Epsom salts, and some antifungal cream.
Here’s a step-to-step guide of how to treat a hen with vent gleet (with a video, please be aware that the images can be a little gross!):
Step 1 - Fill a bowl large enough to place your chicken in with warm water and add two tablespoons of Epsom salts.
Step 2 - Place your hen in the water so her vent and the entire infection is completely covered. Allow her to soak for around 10 minutes, most of the pus/infection should come away from her feathers.
Step 3 - Remove your hen from the water and gently towel her down.
Step 4 - Apply Canesten cream around the vent area, making sure a little gets just inside the entrance. Canesten cream is an anti-fungal cream that is used to treat thrush among other things.
Step 5 - Repeat this every 48 hours until the infection has clearly gone. If it looks like you’re fighting a losing battle, speak with an avian vet.
Step 6 - Add a little apple cider vinegar to your chicken’s drinking water and provide probiotics to help her make a full recovery.
Obviously, the key here is identifying when one or more than one of your hens has vent gleet as soon as possible. It’s very contagious, and can easily spread among your other hens.
Something else to keep in mind; if you have a rooster in your flock, there is a small chance that your hens have a herpes virus, not the Candida albicans.
Related - Benefits of eating Epsom salts for chickens.
Will Vent Gleet Kill a Chicken?
Vent gleet can kill a chicken if left untreated for a long time, yes.
I’m not trying to scare you, it’s rarely fatal so you don’t have to panic if you’ve recently spotted vent gleet in your flock.
If left untreated, however, it’s known to cause sour crop. Soup crop is also known as Candidiasis or Thrush and is a yeast infection that causes the contents of a hen’s crop to ferment.
This means chickens cannot digest food, and this can quickly cause some serious health issues.
The infection itself can also spread to a chicken’s digestive system. Resulting in a lack of good nutrition, which will quickly cause a downward spiral in their health.
How Long Does Vent Gleet Last?
If you don’t treat it, vent gleet is only going to get worse. When you do start treating it following the steps I covered above, however, in most cases it should clear up within a few days.
I know some chicken owners who swear by giving their chickens probiotics to help clear up and prevent vent gleet.
I think it’s certainly worth trying. Probiotics boost the good bacteria in a chicken’s digestive system, which is always a good thing.
You can give your hens a tablespoon of unflavored yogurt, or use a probiotic supplement. Either way, a little boost of probiotics will go a long way.
Does Vent Gleet Go Away on Its Own?
Vent gleet will not go away on its own. You’re going to have to take action to cure it by either going through the steps I covered above, or taking your hen to a vet and acting on their advice.
The important thing is that you spot it early and do something about it!
Vent gleet is a fungal infection that is usually caused by general poor health, stress, excessive heat, eating something bad, or being deprived of water.
While it may look (and smell) bad, vent gleet is usually fairly easy to clear up with the right course of action.
Image credits - Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
About Candida albicans - MedicalNewsToday.com