Pasty Butt is a common ailment in young chicks. Sometimes chicks have runny feces that sticks to their vent and blocks normal excretion. In severe cases, it can cause the death of a chick because it is unable to defecate. Too many electrolytes in their water can cause pasting over the vent. They may also have this issue after being chilled in shipping, or if they become dehydrated.
See Also How to Care for a Sick Chick
This week I had a chick that had droppings building
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I realize that this isn’t a very fun topic to discuss, but if you have a chick with pasty butt, you’ll need to clean the fecal matter from its vent and treat to prevent it from reoccurring. Here’s what you need to do…
- Clean off the vent area carefully to avoid tearing the fragile skin
- Protect the cleaned skin to prevent chapping
- Feed probiotics to clear up diarrhea and digestive issues
- Add apple cider vinegar to their drinking water.
- Make sure chicks have clean water and they are warm enough, but not overheated
Clean Pasty Butt Off of The Vent Area
While you hold the chick gently, use a damp cloth or cotton swabs to moisten the dried on fecal matter. Gently remove the feces and be careful not to tear the skin. If a large deposit of feces has dried onto the vent area, it may be necessary to very carefully cut away the fecal matter.
Caution…this must be done with extreme care to prevent injuring the chick! (In this video I used scissors to remove a large blob of feces. I don’t recommend this unless there is a LOT of poo built up.)
Treat the Skin with a Protective Product
There are a number of different topical treatments that may be used. I have used an antibiotic ointment that does not contain topical pain relief. This time I used Petroleum Free Jelly. You may use regular petroleum jelly if that is what you have on hand. There are also some products available through farm supply stores or online that work well for treating injuries on chickens and chicks.
Give Probiotics, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Keep Them at Proper Temperature
Give your chicks probiotics to help populate their little digestive systems with beneficial bacteria. Provide plain yogurt with live cultures. If they don’t seem interested in the yogurt, sprinkle a bit of their feed on top to encourage pecking. They’ll get the idea quickly.
Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 quart of drinking water to treat the digestive issues that can cause pasty butt. In fact, it’s a good idea to use this solution to prevent pasty butt to begin with!
Make sure their water is changed every day and the container is cleaned out. Give them water that isn’t very cold. If they get chilled from drinking cold water, they may not drink as well.
You also need to make sure that your chicks aren’t too hot or too cold. If they are too warm they may become dehydrated and add to the problem. Too cold and they may be huddled under the heat lamp and won’t drink enough.
Keep an Eye on Chicks to Prevent Serious Problems with Pasty Butt!
I try to spend time in my chick brooder room every day to watch them for any signs of problems. Yesterday I noticed that one of my chicks had a buildup of feces on its vent. It was late and dark so I decided to take care of it today. I should have noticed this sooner and I feel pretty bad about letting it build up like that.
However, I was able to get the little one cleaned up today. I’ve slathered some ointment on the sore skin and now there is apple cider vinegar in their water as well as plain yogurt for them to eat. Hopefully tomorrow it
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Shared on the Simple Homestead Hop, Off Grid Hop
In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.
The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.