How to Correct Pasty Butt in Chicks
Pasty Butt, Pasty Vent, or Pasting Up is a common condition in most chicks and tends to happen more often to those shipped in the mail from a hatchery or purchased from the feed store (which were shipped there from a hatchery!). It is caused by soft feces or diarrhea that sticks to the chick’s fluffy down and builds up around their vent. When the poop dried and crusts, it can block the vent entirely and the chick’s excrement. This condition is potentially life-threatening though it is extremely easy to spot, treat, and correct. While is can seem like a big deal in the moment don’t fret! This happens all of the time and is something that every chicken keeper should know about. Working to prevent the problem is what makes a good chicken keeper!
Pasty Butt occurs when chicks are stressed or they become chilled. As you can imagine, it would make sense for chicks that have been shipped through the mail. Their temperature is continually fluctuating for several days.
Treating pasty butt is easy. Here is how I treat my chicks:
Using a q-tip or paper towel, moisten it with lukewarm water. Gently work away the dried poop and try your hardest not to pull out their fluff. This could potentially damage the chick’s behind. Using warm water works best to break up the poop, and it should generally come off after a minute or two.
Using a clean q-tip, dip in lightly in olive oil. Rub the oil around the vent opening. This will help prevent future poos from sticking to the fluff and vent area.
You can continue to swab the vent with olive oil every day for 2-3 days and check to make sure no more feces are sticking around. The condition should clear up on its own once the chicks have aged a bit!
If you are noticing multiple cases of pasty butt or simply want to do your best to prevent it from happening at all, there are a few methods that you can use.
Adding rolled oats to your chicks feed, crushed a bit more finely, is a great way to help keep their gut flora going strong. Ground cornmeal is another great contender for preventing pasty butt. You can also add some probiotic powder to their food or water along with some apple cider vinegar. All are wonderful ways to promote good health in their digestive systems!
A few good things to note as well is to give chicks their water at room temperature and even to offer them only water for the first hour or two when you bring them home before giving them food. This can help keep pasty butt at bay. Cold water can create fluctuations in their body temperatures. If you suspect diarrhea is the culprit, make sure that you are cleaning out the brooder on a regular basis and keeping poos out of their water and feeder.
Never fear! Chicks grow out of this condition after they age and bit, and it is most commonly found in chicks less than a week old. Your little fluffy babies will be back to normal in no time. As a chicken keeper, my thought is to always work to prevent these issues from happening. A good rule of thumb is to be aware of any problems that could arise beforehand and prepare yourself in case they do happen. A few other conditions that can occur in chicks and are easily correctable are splayed leg syndrome and curled toes. You can learn how to fix these conditions in my online course Finding Your Flock!
For the rest of the month of March I will be sharing all of my chick related tips and tricks with you here on the blog! It is going to be Chick Month here at Under A Tin Roof while I raise my newest babies and prepare them for life here on our farm. I am really excited to share all of the best chick information with you!!
My course Finding Your Flock is $25.00 - I am offering 25% off now through March 30th to all of our blog readers. Just use the code CHICKDAYS15 to receive your discount!
Be sure to stick around for the rest of the month to see the other chick posts I will be sharing!