If you are a brand new baby chick owner, or have raised baby chicks before, you may or may not have come across a fun little symptom called Pasty Butt. This is my second go-around raising baby chicks and I had 4 baby chicks with it! What was going on? Here’s how to get rid of pasty butt in baby chicks.
Perhaps you were like me and frantically searching the internet for solutions on how to get rid of pasty butt. I didn’t want to read about the causes of pasty butt until I could figure out how to get rid of it first. So here is a quick run down of what pasty butt is:
A clump of poop stuck to a baby chick’s butt that needs to be immediately cleaned. Believe me, you’ll know it’s pasty butt once you’ve seen it.
How to Clean Pasty Butt
Calm down and don’t freak out. Cleaning pasty butt is very simple.
Get a drinking glass and fill it with luke-warm water (not hot water). Using soft cotton balls, dip the balls into the warm water and gently scrub the chick’s butt until the poop comes off. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as it can tear the chick’s skin. Take your time and be gentle.
Using wet cotton balls concentrates the area of the chick that gets wet. This way, only the chick’s butt gets wet and the rest of her stays dry. Baby chicks need to stay warm, so the less wetness the better. Dry the chick’s bottom with a towel.
If you want, put Vaseline on the chick’s bottom to keep the poop from sticking again.
Another way to clean pasty butt is to put the baby chick’s behind under warm running water and gently scrub the poop off. Once the poop is gone, use a hair dryer to dry the chick’s behind.
Personally, I think this method gets the chick too wet. I found that Method One worked the best for me.
Yes, the chicks are going to cry because you are scrubbing their behinds. But you are their momma (or dadda) and just like a human baby will cry when it’s getting it’s butt wiped, your baby chick needs the same attention. Don’t worry, as you soon as you put them back into the brooder, they forget all about it and move on with their little lives.
Why is it crucial to take care of pasty butt?
Pasty butt in baby chicks, if not taken care of immediately, can cause the baby chick to die within one hour. This is a very serious thing.
Soft poop droppings stick to a baby chick’s vent, harden, and then seal the chick’s vent shut. The vent is the opening on the chick’s behind from which poop comes out and also where the egg comes out when the chick is grown. They have the same purpose.
If the pasty butt is not removed from the chick’s vent, it causes a blockage. The poop in the chick’s system backs up. And we all know that chicks poop A LOT. The back up of poop causes the chick to die.
How do baby chicks get pasty butt?
Great question! Pasty butt is usually found in baby chicks that have just hatched and are less than one week old. Pasty butt can be caused by being chilled, being overheated, or having improper feed. If you have shipped chicks, they may have been chilled during shipping or drank water that was too cold as their first drink.
A good method is to have drinking water in the brooder that is at least 95-100ºF as the first drink for baby chicks. Chicks should also be encouraged to drink water well before they start eating.
Electrolytes are a must-have in baby chick’s water. But, if baby chicks are dehydrated and drink more water than usual, they drink too much electrolytes. This can also be a cause of pasty butt.
How to Prevent Pasty Butt in Baby Chicks:
You just spent all that time either incubating those babies or paid money for the chicks to be shipped to you, only to have them die from a poop blockage?! Not on my watch.
The best way to prevent pasty butt is by ensuring that the water is the correct temperature. You can also add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per quart of water to the chick’s waterer to help prevent pasty butt.
Only feed baby chicks the correct starter feed. If you find that pasty butt continues to occur, check to see if you are using the right feed.
Knowledge about pasty butt is something that every chicken owner needs to know. Pasty butt may also occur in grown chickens and should be looked out for at all times. For me, once I cleaned my chick’s bottom for pasty butt, I haven’t had the problem since. It’s still good practice to check the chick’s butt often to ensure that pasty butt does not occur again.