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Ulcerative Enteritis

Ulcerative enteritis (UE) is an inflammation of the digestive tract, caused by the Clostridium colinum bacterium. The disease has been found primarily in game birds (quail, pheasants, grouses). Chickens and turkeys are usually affected by a similar disease called Necrotic enteritis. Both diseases tend to occur in birds under stress and/or suffering from a concurrent infection such as coccidiosis or infectious bursal disease.

Birds infected with UE will shed infectious spores in their feces. UE is transmitted between birds by ingestion of litter, soil, feed or water that is contaminated with feces containing C. colinum spores.

Clinical Signs

Watery white diarrhea
Ruffled feathers
Loss of weight


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Bacteriologic culture


Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.
AntibioticsSpecifically those designed to affect gram-positive bacteria (such as virginiamycin, bacitracin, or lincomycin)


Scientific References

Age Range

Younger birds (between 4-12 weeks of age) are more susceptible.

Risk Factors

  • Maintain good sanitary practices and comply with designated biosecurity practices
  • Don't mix birds of different ages or species in the same habitat