How to Treat Pasty Butt in Baby Chicks

Treating Pasty Butt in Baby Chicks

How to Treat Chicks with Pasty Butt

A common ailment in young chicks is pasty butt, or 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

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This week I had a chick that had droppings building up on its vent area, threatening to paste over the area. I had been giving the chicks electrolytes, probably longer than needed. They are off the electrolytes now and are getting probiotics and ACV (apple cider vinegar) to help clear up any lingering issues.

Here’s how I cleaned the chick up and protected its skin from chapping…

chick with pasty butt, getting cleaned up
This little chick isn’t too happy about getting cleaned up.

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 it to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

Here’s what 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

How to Clean a Chick with Pasty Butt

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.

Chicks shipped from a hatchery are at a higher risk of pasty butt.

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.

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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 this can add to the problem. Too cold and they may be huddled under the heat and they won’t drink enough.

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Prevent Serious Problems with Pasty Butt in Chicks!

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 its sore skin and now there is apple cider vinegar in their water as well as plain yogurt for them to eat. Hopefully tomorrow it shows improvement.

Do you have any tips for treating pasty butt in chicks? Leave a comment!

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Treating Pasty Butt in Baby Chicks

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