INFECTED TAIL AREA
QIhave an ex- bat hen that has an infected tail area. Bathing this with disinfectant has not sorted it. Can I get antibiotics to give to her? She is still laying some eggs and we do eat them.
If you want to use antibiotics in a laying hen there are few that are not only licensed but have nil egg withdrawal: Tylan Soluble is one. You will need to take your hen to your vet to obtain some of the powder, which can be dispensed in small quantities for just one hen, so don’t get charged for the whole bottle! You may need to phone them first to ensure it is in stock. It goes in the drinker (plastic only to avoid zinc toxicity) and must be dissolved by vigorous shaking in a small pot before adding to the water, otherwise it sits in the base of the drinker and does not get to the hen. It needs to be given for five days; the dose is 1g of powder in 2L and if some of the solution has to be disposed of at the end of it for just one hen, so be it. It may be that the ‘infected tail area’ could be an infected or blocked preen gland. This is situated just behind the tail on the back (small and shaped like a biro point with a tiny feather tip) and may need squeezing gently. This is used by the hen to put the oily gland excretion on her feathers by wiping her beak on it before preening to put inactive vitamin D on the feathers which then turns to active D3 in sunlight, the hen preens again and ingests the active vitamin. If you are feeding maize, this makes hens aggressive in warm weather, so separate this hen and only feed a little whole wheat to them all to avoid feather pecking and further damage.