Pasty Butt Identification and Remedy

Welcome to Stromberg's guide to identification and elimination to pasty butt

We put together this article and video so that you can be more successful raising your baby chicks. One health issue you can run into when you are raising baby chicks is pasty butt also known as pasting up. Read or watch the video to help you to identify and treat this common issue.

Pasty Butt Quick Facts

  • Droppings accumulate under the vent blocking the birds from being able to defecate.
  • Check you birds daily especially during the first week.
  • It is easily eliminated with warm water and a paper towel or cloth.
  • To prevent: make sure your birds are at the right temperature, have proper nutrition and are hydrated.

Questions Answered by this article

  • What is pasty butt?
  • Why is pasty butt a problem?
  • How do you identify pasty butt?
  • How often do you check for pasty butt?
  • How do you treat pasty butt?
  • How do you prevent pasty butt?

What is Pasty Butt

Sometimes when reading about raising baby chicks you will hear the term pasty butt or pasting up. You think, gross! This won't happen to my little chickie babies! But in reality usually one or two will have an issue. The term pasty butt refers to the vent of the chick getting plugged or crusted over with manure. Runny droppings can accumulate on the downy feathers around the vent. This will eventually cause pasting over and will prohibit the chick from defecating any further.

Why is pasty butt a problem?

Why is this a problem? Well, because your baby chick is taking in a lot of food and water in the first couple of days and being unable to defecate can cause death. Eventually they will be able to take care of this for themselves with grooming, but until then, it is essential to your chick's life to check for and if necessary remove this daily.

How do you identify pasty butt?

You will identify pasty butt very easily. Al you need to do is flip over each chick and take a look at the vent area. This is the area right below the tail. If you see a piece of dried up manure or droppings over the vent this bird will need treatment(see the graphic below to help identify birds with issues).

Photo Comparing a Bird With and Without Pasty Butt

How often do you check for pasty butt?

We suggest checking at least once daily for you new chicks. If you notice that you are having a problem you will want to check multiple times a day. Be certain you are checking each chick by having a box to separate the inspected chicks from the non inspected chicks.

How do you treat pasty butt?

The good news is that to do this is very simple: You will wet a cloth or paper towel using warm water. Use the warm water on the paper towel to soak the dried droppings. Gently wipe away any feces from the vent. If it is especially dried on; wet the area thoroughly and wait a couple of minutes. This will soften the manure and make easy to remove. Keep your chicks warm while you are in the process, they will chill easily. Also, do not just pull off the dried manure! You can cause injury to this delicate area and may cause infection. Usually Pasty Butt will disappear in a few days as the chick starts to grow!

How do you prevent pasty butt?

The good news is that to do this is very simple: You will wet a cloth or paper towel using warm water. Use the warm water on the paper towel to soak the dried droppings. Gently wipe away any feces from the vent. If it is especially dried on; wet the area thoroughly and wait a couple of minutes. This will soften the manure and make easy to remove. You can also use warm running water to just soak the manure and then work it out of the fluff with your fingers. Keep your chicks warm while you are in the process, they will chill easily.

Also, do not just pull off the dried manure! You can cause injury to this delicate area by pulling the fluff and feathers off of the skin and may cause infection. Usually Pasty Butt will disappear in a few days as the chick starts to grow!

How do you prevent pasty butt?

I feel like there are steps to take that will help prevent pasty butt. However, regular checking for the problem will always be suggested. Here are some tips on prevention.

  • Make sure you are feeding a commercial starter feed to your birds. We sell purina but there are many great brands of feed for you birds on the market.
  • Use chick grit for your baby chicks. This will provide them with the proper "tools" to digest their food. Birds do not have teeth but instead use small stones or grit to grind the food once they have swallowed it and it has entered their system.
  • Make sure that you are keeping your birds at the proper temperature. Chilled birds are more susceptible to pasting up. See our brooding baby chicks video to see proper brooding techniques.
  • Be certain that your birds are hydrated. I suggest using two waterers. This way the birds will always have access to fresh water. Sometimes dominant chicks will block the weaker chicks from the waterer if there is only limited space at the waterers.

From all of us hear at Stromberg's, good luck with your baby chicks!!

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