Vent Gleet in Chickens – Causes & Treatment

Do some of your chickens have smelly and disgusting white discharge on their vent areas? If yes, your birds could be having vent gleets. This condition is also known as cloacitis. It occurs when poop dries in a chicken’s vent area, making it difficult for the bird to pass out poop.

vent gleet chicken

Baby chickens are highly susceptible to vent gleet because they have undeveloped muscles for defecating, unlike adult chickens with developed muscles.

What is Vent Gleet?

Vent gleet is a condition that occurs when your chicken’s cloaca has inflammation because of difficulty defecating. The most apparent sign of vent gleet is a yellow-whitish discharge on a chicken’s vent area.

Symptoms of Chicken Vent Gleet

You can tell when your chickens have vent gleets because the symptoms of this condition are pretty straightforward. For instance, the most apparent sign of a vent gleet is a stinky yellowish-white discharge on a chicken’s vent area.

The yellowish-white discharge sticks to the feathers around the bird’s vent area. Birds with vent gleets also have bloated abdomens. Their feathers, especially those around the vent area, look more shiny than usual. Chickens with vent gleets are also gross and smelly.

Chickens with severe vent gleet problems have firm abdomens. They also have swollen vents and usually pass out bloody droppings.

vent gleet symptoms

Causes of Vent Gleet in Chickens

Your chickens could develop a vent gleet for many reasons. Hence it’s prudent to understand why your birds have this horrible condition. These are some of the common causes of vent gleet in chickens.

  • PH imbalance- A chicken’s cloaca is the last part of the bird’s reproductive and digestive tract. Your chickens are more vulnerable to vent gleet if their cloaca gets too alkaline or acidic. PH imbalances in a chicken’s body make the fowl more vulnerable to vent gleet in the long run.
  • Stress and hormonal imbalances– Hormonal imbalances and external stress can impact a chicken’s whole body and digestive system. These factors can contribute to vent gleet in chickens.
  • Parasites– Internal parasites like protozoa and other worms can affect a chicken’s digestive system, leading to vent gleet. Moreover, internal parasites also affect chickens’ cloaca, making them susceptible to vent gleet.
  • Bacterial infection– Bacterial infections on a chicken’s cloaca and digestive tract can also contribute to vent gleet. Chickens with vent gleets due to bacterial infections can remain with the condition for weeks or even months. Their bodies can also be resistant to the many treatments you give your birds to help them overcome vent gleet.
  • Fungal infection-Chickens with fungal infections on their digestive tracts and cloaca are also prone to vent gleet. Fungal infections can also contribute to severe cases of vent gleet in chickens. Furthermore, chickens with fungal infections can take months to heal from vent gleet.

Treating Vent Gleet in Chickens

vent gleet treatment

Although vent gleet is a messy condition that is likely to affect your fowl at some point, this condition isn’t an actual disease. It takes time for chicken raisers to determine the precise cause of vent gleet in their chickens.

Fortunately, you can treat vent gleet in your chickens, especially if they have milder cases of vent gleet. However, it’s wise to consult an avian vet if your chickens have severe cases of vent gleet. These are some of the ways to use for treating mild cases of vent gleet in your chickens.

  • Quarantine the affected fowl-Vent gleet can spread rapidly from one affected fowl to the other. It’s prudent to isolate the sick fowl from the rest of the flock to prevent the spread of vent gleet. Quarantine the affected chickens to protect the birds from the other curious, pecking flockmates.
  • Provide fresh water daily to your affected birds– Keeping your chickens hydrated is a sure way of helping them retain a healthy cloaca and digestive system. So provide the birds with fresh water daily. You can also introduce a probiotic or supplement in the water throughout the whole treatment duration. However, ensure you administer the supplements you will be using for treating your birds as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Provide grit to your ailing chickens– Chickens with digestive problems are more prone to vent gleet than chickens with a healthy gut. Providing grit will help enhance your chickens’ digestive systems, lowering their possibility of getting vent gleet, because grit will help the fowl digest all the foods they consume daily. Mix some grit with chicken feed to ensure your flock has an easy time digesting food.
  • Clean your chickens’ vent areas daily-Cleaning your affected chickens’ vent areas will also help treat mild cases of vent gleet. Regular cleaning can help your chickens maintain a healthy cloaca. Furthermore, cleaning will remove the dry poop from the chickens’ vent areas, stopping further stool blockage, which can lead to chronic vent gleet. Clean the vent area with mild detergent and warm water. Dry off the birds after cleaning to keep them warm. Also, clean your birds gently to avoid suppressing their vent areas further. Most importantly, avoid cleaning your chickens with harsh cleaning detergents because such detergents can irritate their vent areas.
  • Apply an anti-fungal cream on your chickens’ vent areas– You can use anti-fungal creams on your chickens’ vent areas after cleaning your birds. Anti-fungal creams are suitable for ensuring the vent gleet in your chickens doesn’t become more severe. However, you need to ensure the anti-fungal cream you use on your chickens doesn’t contain harsh ingredients.
  • Trim the vent feathers– Trimming the vent feathers on your affected chickens can help keep the birds clean. It also helps remove the sticky discharge around the vent area. Avoid trimming the vent feathers too close to a chicken’s skin lest you injure the bird. Trimming the vent feathers on your chickens can be safe if you trim the feathers with someone else. Your partner can gently hold the chicken as you trim the vent feathers.

How to Prevent Vent Gleet in Chickens?

Vent gleet is a messy condition that is challenging to treat, especially if your flock has chronic cases of vent gleet. You can use simple measures to protect your flock from getting a vent gleet. These easy measures will help protect your flock from this messy condition.

  • Ensure chicken feed is suitable for your flock– It’s good to feed your chickens suitable feed, depending on their maturity stage. Giving your newly hatched baby chicks layer feed, for instance, can contribute to vent gleet because their stomach can’t digest layer feed. Baby chicks should consume a starter feed because it isn’t hard on their guts. Younger chickens must refrain from consuming tough foods because such foods will strain their stomachs, making them prone to vent gleet.
  • Always give grit to your chickens-In most cases, your birds will have vent gleet because of digestion issues. Chickens that can’t digest food properly are at risk of vent gleet. Older birds should consume poultry grit to help them digest the hard feed and other foods they eat. Baby chicks need chick grit to help them digest the finely-milled starter feed.
  • Introduce probiotics to your flock- Probiotics will help your chickens develop a healthy gut, hence preventing their possibility of having vent gleet. Probiotics will also help prevent fungal and bacterial infections in a chicken’s body. These infections are the leading cause of vent gleet in chickens.
  • Supplement water with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal products– Many over-the-counter antibacterial and antifungal products can help keep your chickens’ digestive systems healthy, ultimately preventing vent gleet in your chickens. Supplement your chickens’ water with such products.

Is Vent Gleet Contagious?

Vent gleet isn’t a contagious condition. However, the underlying causes of this condition can affect your entire flock. These causes can also lead to unexpected vent gleet outbreaks.


Vent gleet can be a messy condition. Although it isn’t like other illnesses that affect chickens and domestic fowl, this condition can be challenging to treat. That’s why preventing vent gleet outbreaks in your flock is the ultimate way to stop this condition from affecting your flock.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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