Lethargic Chicken With A Dirty Vent (1 Reason Why + What To Do)

The health of your chickens should be a top priority. Unfortunately, a variety of illnesses can make your bird sick and a lot of illnesses can kill your bird.

If you notice that there is something wrong with your chicken, internally or externally, then you should address it. If your chicken is lethargic and has a dirty vent this article will explain why. 

Lethargic chicken with a dirty vent:

The vent is a small but very important part of the chicken. It plays a role in reproduction and waste removal. It may deal with waste but it should always be pink, clean, and moist.

If your bird has a dirty vent, and if the bird is lethargic, then the bird may have vent gleet. 

What is vent gleet?

Vent gleet is a chicken disease that causes the bird’s cloaca to become infected. It can be caused by a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans.

It can also be caused by stress which will cause a ph imbalance in the bird’s body. If the bird’s body becomes too acidic or alkaline then the bird will be more susceptible to vent gleet.

A yellow or white discharge will develop at the bird’s vent if the bird has vent gleet. This discharge will stick to the bird’s vent feathers and make the area dirty, vent gleet will also make your bird lethargic.


In addition to the bird’s vent being dirty, the feathers becoming soiled, and lethargy in your bird, other symptoms of vent gleet include:

  • A swollen vent 
  • A bloated abdomen
  • Sticky white/yellow discharge coming from the vent 
  • Sitting on the ground not roosting 
  • A bleeding vent 
  • A strong unpleasant smell coming from the bird
  • A gassy chicken 
  • The birds head tucked under the wing 
  • A decrease in egg-laying
  • Fluffed feathers 
  • Partially closed eyes 


Isolating the bird:

If you suspect that one of your birds has vent gleet then you’d need to start off by isolating the bird, isolating the bird will keep your healthy birds from catching vent gleet from the sick bird.

Keeping your sick bird isolated will also keep the other birds from pecking at the dirty/red/ bloody vent, getting pecked will be painful for the sick bird. 

Soaking the bird:

You need to clean the bird’s vent by soaking the chicken every day until the bird is healthy again. Create a warm water bath for your bird and mix in some dish soap and Epsom salts. This solution will help cut through the discharge and droppings. 

Soak the bird on a daily basis for about 15 to 20 minutes removing the droppings from the bird’s vent as the bird soaks. Clipping the feathers around the bird’s vent area is also recommended. 

Apple cider vinegar: 

This vinegar will help to keep the yeast growth in your bird under control. It can be diluted and given to your birds on a daily basis until the bird gets better.

Make a solution by diluting 1.5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into 2 C water. Make a new mixture for your bird daily and remove the old mixture at night.

Note: This solution can dehydrate your bird, giving the bird yogurt will help relieve dehydration.

Note: Do not use this solution as a preventative measure. If given daily as a preventative measure it can cause a ph change in the bird’s body which you don’t want


Yogurt is filled with probiotics with live cultures. Yogurt is also helpful as it will keep your bird from becoming dehydrated throughout the day. Give your bird a few tablespoons of yogurt daily until the bird gets better.

Fungal creams: 

Applying some over-the-counter antifungal cream will help treat your bird’s vent gleet. Use this after you’ve washed the bird. Canesten cream is an antifungal cream that can be used on chickens. 


This is an antiseptic spray that you can use on your bird’s vent to relieve pain and help heal the vent area, it will also moisturize your bird’s red and sore vent.

Epsom salts: 

This can be given to your bird as a one-time treatment to remove toxins in your chicken’s body.

This product is a detoxifier and is a laxative that will flush out your bird’s system. Expect to see clear liquid diarrhea from your bird after offering this treatment, this is normal. 

Give the bird a one-time treatment of Epsom salts mixed in with one ounce of water. You can slowly drip this solution into the bird’s mouth using a syringe, or, you can give this mixture as your bird’s only water source.

Give the bird access to a lot of water after offering this treatment, the bird will be very thirsty after drinking the Epsom salts solution. 

When to visit a vet:

If none of these treatments work for your bird then you should take your bird to see a vet, or an avian vet if you can.

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Chicken Bloated And Lethargic,  Dead Chick In Incubator,  Vent Gleet Or Egg BoundChicken Swollen Below VentSwollen Chicken Vent 

Lethargic Chicken With A Dirty Vent (1 Reason Why + What To Do)
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