You’ve done your research and finally made the big decision: you’re going to keep chickens in the backyard. You’ve ordered them, but when the big day finally arrives, and they show up at your door, you noticed something peculiar on their backsides. Yes, it very well could be poop on the chicken’s bottoms, aka pasty butt. So What is pasty butt in chickens?
Pasty butt is a big deal and typically affects young chicks that have been sent by mail. If left untreated, pasty butt can be lethal. That is not how you want to start your backyard chicken raising adventure. But don’t worry, if you suspect something is wrong, read on learn just what to do to prevent and treat pasty butt.
A Detailed Explanation of Pasty Butt in Chickens
Pasty butt has several different names that are common. It is also often referred to as pasted butt or pasted up. Mostly, pasty butt occurs in young chicks when their poop becomes hard and covers their butts. This blocks additional waste from making a clean exit and eventually can poison the chick. Chicks need to rid their bodies of waste. If they can’t do it, the waste will begin to spread internally and could eventually kill them.
If you suspect that your chicks have a pasty butt, you need to act immediately. Keep reading to see why chicks get pasty butt and what you can do about it.
Why Do Chicks Get Pasty Butt?
Pasty butt is far more common in chicks that are separated from their brood. This, in turn, causes the chicks to be stressed and become too warm. Overheated chicks need someone to clean them since they can’t do this themselves.
Alternatively, chicks can get pasty but from being too cold. Finally, It is far rarer, but some viral and bacterial infections can also cause pasty butt.
If your chicks hatched naturally and are still a part of the brood, you likely will not have to deal with a pasty butt. And, if a chick in a brood does by chance get pasty but, the mother hen will take charge and clean the chick.
Chicks cannot clean themselves. If you ordered them through the mail and they have pasty butts, it will be up to you to clean them.
Typically, pasty butt only affects chicks in the first week or two of their life. If a chick is older than that, you are probably safe.
How to Tell if Your Chicks Have Pasty Butt
After your chicks arrive, you will need to check them to see if they have pasty butts. It is simple to tell, and you will know it right away. Examine them and take note if there is a hard mass on their bottoms. This is dried, matted chicken poop, and it acts as a plug.
However, while you are checking, you will need to make sure you are looking in the right spot. The belly button can sometimes be confused with the vent on the backside. Make sure you are looking at the vent where waste comes out and not the belly button.
You will know the difference because the vent is positioned above the belly button. You should also know that the belly button can have a dried mass around it after birth. There is no pasty butts and should not be removed.
Before you even examine your chicks, there are some signs they that might show they have pasty butt. For example, chicks with pasty butts often have less energy. They also might be growing more slowly, not sleeping well or not eating or drinking as much as usual.
Signs of pasty butt:
- lack of energy – slow growth
- not eating or sleeping well
- not drinking as much as normal
If you notice any of these symptoms in your chicks, examine them right away. Better yet, even if you don’t notice these symptoms, you should be checking your chins routinely the first week or two.
What to Do If Your Chicks Have Pasty Butt
Once you have examined your chicks and determined they have a pasty butt, you will need to clean them. To clean a chick with pasty butt, you can run room temperature water down their backside. Before too long, the poop should soften. Once it softens, removed it gently. You can then try the chick with a towel. Finally, use a hairdryer on low to completely dry the feathers. Here are the steps again listed below.
How to clean a chick with pasty butt:
- Run water over the chicks backside
- Once the poop softens, remove it
- Dry the chick with a towel
- Use a hairdryer on low to completely dry the feathers.
Some other things you will want to include as you clean your chicks are hand protection. Latex gloves will come in handy while you are cleaning your chicks. Also, if you have several chicks that need cleaning, you will want to make sure you have an excellent waiting area for the ones who are still dirty. You will also need a space for the chicks you have cleaned.
Finally, note that your chicks will be chirping up a storm while you clean them. This is normal. If you are careful, you don’t need to worry. You are not hurting your chicks.
Ways to Prevent Pasty Butt
Obviously, better than successfully treating pasty butt is preventing it. If you can keep your chicks from getting pasty butt in the first place, you will be starting them off right.
Ensure the temperature is too hot or too cold.
If the brooder is too hot or too cold, increasing the chances of your chicks getting pasty butt. Check the temperature often and make adjustments as necessary.
Give the chicks the space they need.
Make sure the chicks can move around and be active.
Try to keep your chicks stress-free. As noted above, stress is one thing that can increase the likelihood that your chicks will get pasty butt.
Clean food and water.
Make sure you change the water regularly and give them only food proper for their age.
You can keep your chicks well supplied with grit, such as sand. Don’t worry. They will know how much to eat.
Use a good heat source.
Glow lamps can get the chicks too hot. Try the EcoGlow Brooder instead. It offers radiant heat that is better for chicks.
Here are 4 Products That Can Help You in Your Fight Against Pasty Butt
Purina Start and Grow Feed – A good feed can go a long way in making sure your chicks are growing the way they should. The Purina Start and Grow feed is a good choice because it has probiotics and is fortified with vitamin A. It also is brightly colored so you can tell when your chicks are eating it, or not.
Fresh Flakes Bedding for Chicks – In addition to using the EcoGlow Brooder for heating, you want to make sure your chicks have proper bedding. Fresh Flakes bedding is a good start. It will keep the chicks warm and help them regulate their body temperature.
Latex-free Gloves – Alright, this one is for you, not the chicks. But if you are going to have to do the gross work of peeling poop off their butts, it might be nice to have some latex gloves. For owners of chicks gloves are always nice to have on hand (pun intended).
Mealworm Treats – Once you start giving treats to your chicks, you will want to make sure it is something good for them. Pick Neb mealworm treats are a good, healthy way to give treats to your chicks. When it comes to pasty butt, just make sure you add a little grit to the treats. This will help the chicks stay pasty butt free.
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