Prevent Chick Pasting

The first droppings from newly-hatched baby chicks are naturally sticky, but stress and other factors can make it a real problem. Feces that aren’t the right consistency will stick to the bird on the vent area and clog up their system. It’s called “pasting,” but also known as “pasty butt” or “poopy butt.” If it’s not treated, it can actually be fatal for the chick.

Sheila Purdum is an extension poultry specialist at the University of Nebraska. She says a common cause of pasting is overheating in the brooder. Another is dehydration. Without water in their system, the chicks can’t digest their food properly. The droppings will harden and stick to their little tushes.

"Getting that water into a little baby chick is very important because it has dehydrated a little bit during the hatching process and shipment," says Purdum. "So dip the beak into a waterer, and make sure that they’re starting on the water as quickly as possible."

Treating a pasting problem is unpleasant, but not difficult. All you need to do is put on some latex gloves, gather up some patience, and clear the vent area so the bird can defecate normally.

"If you can, gently get the dried manure off the vent with your fingers. That’s fine. That will work to help get things going again," she says. "Think of it as kind of a hemorrhoid with a little bit of manure on there. It’s going to hurt the little chick when you first take it off the tender tissue, so a little bit of mineral oil might help."

 Dipping the chick’s rear end in a bowl of lukewarm water is another way to loosen up a crusty problem so you can wipe it away easier.

Check your chicken butts every day for at least ten days. Purdum says with the right brooder temperature, plenty of water, and good nutrition, you shouldn’t see any more pasty butts.

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