Pasty butt

Pasty buttOur
chicks came from the hatchery with
pasty butt — poop adhering to the feathers around their vents. 
This photo seems to be the best shot I got, but many had much bigger
wads of poop.

Depending on who you
talk to, pasty butt is either a life threatening condition or is merely
a symptom of stressed birds.  If you believe the former, you will
carefully pick the poop off the feathers of your birds to prevent the
feces backing up inside the chick.  Some folks go so far as to
clean out the actual anus of the bird with a pin.

I’m still a beginner
when it comes to chick care, so I at first I tried to remove the poop
from our tiny chicks’ behinds.  But the birds were clearly
traumatized by the experience, and I really couldn’t get the poop off
without hurting them.  After considerable squawking from the
chicks, I decided to take a more laid back approach, waiting to see
what would happen if I left the chicks alone.  Except for two
chicks who died on the first day due to stress in transit, all of our
chicks came through fine and didn’t seem harmed by pasty butt. 
The symptoms subsided on their own after a couple of weeks.

What has your experience
with pasty butt been?  I’d be curious to hear if anyone else let
nature take its course with good (or bad) results.

It’s essential to keep chicks with
diarrhea well hyrated.  Our
homemade chicken
ensures that your chicks have access to
clean water at all times.

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