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Pasty Butt in Baby Chicks.

I've noticed that some of my chicks have droppings stuck to their backsides near their vents. Why is this happening, and how can I handle it?

"Pasty butt," or "pasting up," can happen for a number of reasons, including suboptimal temperatures in the brooder and poor-quality chick feed. Chicks are also more prone to developing pasty butt during their first week of life.

It's important these dried droppings don't cover their vents--a chick that's unable to properly eliminate its waste may die. If chicks are hatched and raised by a broody hen, their mother will take care of the issue. However, if you're the "parent," you'll need to remove pasty butt by following these instructions:

* Hold the chick firmly in your hand. With a bit of warm water and a wet paper towel, gently soften and remove the dried droppings. This will take some time. Never pull the dried paste off. This can lead to missing feathers, bleeding, and trauma to the chick's vent.

* After the droppings are removed, dry the baby chick and return it to the brooder. You can apply a small amount of triple antibiotic ointment if you have some on hand.

* To prevent pasty butt, verify that the brooder temperature is appropriate for the age of the chicks. Be sure it isn't drafty or overheated.

* Use a red heat lamp to curtail pecking when your chicks are exhibiting pasty butt. Sometimes you may accidentally remove a few feathers when taking care of this affliction. The red light will help prevent other chicks from pecking at the newly bare bits of the affected chick's bottom.

* Monitor the chicks for a recurrence. If pasty butt continues to recur, consider changing the brand of chick feed you're using to a higher-quality product.

--Melissa Caughey,

Caption: If you purchase chicks through the post, part of your parenting duties will be checking your chicks for digestive issues, such as the inability to eliminate waste.

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Title Annotation:Ask Our Experts
Author:Caughey, Melissa
Publication:Mother Earth News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2018
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