Saturday, April 21, 2018

Treating Pasty Butt in Chicks

Pasty Butt - although kinda nasty - is a very common occurrence in baby chicks.



Basically, pasty butt means that a baby chick has poop stuck to it's butt.
Yeah, yeah, I know.  Gross! 
But, it's something that's very easy to treat and prevent which is crucial because if left alone, a chick with pasty butt could die from it.
(Warning: pictures of chicken butts and poop ahead :)

When we got our first flock three years ago, over half of them needed their little butts (actually called a vent on a chicken) cleaned almost daily.  We were new to having chickens and, although we knew we needed to clean their vent, we didn't know how to help prevent it from continuing to happen.  With our newest baby chicks we've been lucky.  We've only had two (our Golden Comets) that have battled the nasty Pasty Butt.

Now, my pictures aren't the greatest - it's hard to hold a squirmy chick in one hand and take a picture with the other....but you can get the idea.  As you can see, this poor baby has got a big ol' glob of poop stuck to its backside and vent.  


One of the most important things to not do is to just rip it off - OUCH!!!  In order to remove the caked on poop, you need to get it wet with warm water.  I like to fill a small container with warm (not hot!) water and let them soak.  They love it!  It's like a little mini spa :)

    

Once the chick has soaked and the poop has softened, very gently wipe the poop off of their vent/fuzz.  Just be very careful not to pull out their feathers or their skin - they're just babies after all!  If their vent seems red or swollen, use a q-tip to apply a small amount of Preparation H or Neosporin.  Just be sure that it does not contain a pain reliever.

Once the vent is all cleaned off, I like to wrap them up in a towel to help dry and warm them up.  You could gently blow dry on low to fully dry their bottom, but I feel like they've already been traumatized enough...so I generally skip that step :)


Once they have warmed up and calmed down, then I put them back into the brooder - under the heat - lamp to continue drying off.  It doesn't take long until they are dry and fluffy again.  But this time with a nice, clean vent!



Here are a few other tips to help with Pasty Butt:
  1. Add Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to the chick water.  It's important that it is true ACV - make sure it says 'With the mother' on the label.  A little goes a long way - I generally add 1 tsp to each quart of water.  And never add ACV to a metal waterer - it will cause it to rust.
  2. Offer your chicks chick grit with their food.  I mix about 1/4 cup of grit in with a quart of grower crumbles.
  3. Feed your chicks scrambled or chopped up hard boiled eggs as a treat - occasionally.  This is SUCH a healthy treat for them.  And, if your chicks are anything like mine - they go crazy for it!  It's like crack for baby chicks!
  4. Make sure your chicks have two zones in their brooder.  They need to be able to stay warm, but also get away from the heat if need be.  Many think that pasty butt is caused by chicks getting too warm.
  5. Add a small amount of Vaseline or olive oil to a chick's bum to help prevent poop from sticking.
Cheers!

~ Sara :)

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