What is Pasty Butt?

When you are raising baby chicks from their early stages of development, your chicks could develop something called “pasty butt.”

Chickens have one hole that is used for laying eggs, pooping, urinating and mating.  This hole is called the cloacal vent.  A chick’s mother hen keeps her chicks’ cloacal vents clear, but if you are raising the chicks yourself, the vent can become clogged and you end up “pasty butt.”  I have read that this can happen during shipping – some say from temperature changes, some say from stress. A chick can actually die from pasty butt because it cannot poop until the pasty butt is cleared.  The result:  you need to clean your chicks’ bottoms.  Use a warm wash cloth and move it slowly on the chicks’ bottoms.  You can use a Q-tip and olive oil or mineral oil to rub around the vent and surrounding area.

Some people actually run the pasty butts under warm water to help dissolve the poo.  Make sure your room is well heated.  Dry the chicks off before putting them with the other chicks so their bottoms do not draw attention. You may end up plucking some of the pasty goop, irritating the skin, which then may cause other chicks to peck at it.

Check your chicks’ bottoms daily for the first few days to look for buildup.

When your chicks first arrive, give them sugar water the first day to help increase their energy levels; feed them chick starter food and scrambled egg.  Yes, egg.  I know it sounds cannibalistic.

In the meantime, watch those chicken butts! This YouTube video shows what it looks like and demonstrates the cleaning technique:

6 Responses

  1. Love protein? Raise your own eggs « Cynthia Rosi

    […] that don’t get enough heat get pasty-butt. That’s when their poop dries on their butt and they can’t eliminate any more poop. The […]

  2. raja mohd azam
    raja mohd azam at |

    1. problem come from customers pinpoint to my hatchery because of pasty butt.
    All this happen after few days after delivery’.

  3. Chicks butts | Kinolyar
    Chicks butts | Kinolyar at |

    […] What is Pasty Butt? | Pet ChickensMar 26, 2010 … When you are raising baby chicks from their early stages of development, your chicks could develop something called pasty butt.Chickens have … […]

  4. Melissa @ Bless This Mess
    Melissa @ Bless This Mess at |

    We just got our very first chicks ever. I brought them home and 2 are just a mess. They had a ball of poop the size of a quarter stuck to their ends and I’m sure they are sick. They can’t even stand up! I washed them with warm water but their bottoms are just so raw looking now. Can I put anything on them or do they heal on their own!

  5. admin
    admin at |

    Mary wrote directly to Melissa: “It sure does sound like pasty butt. Did you continue to soak them? Although their bottoms do look so raw, they do usually heal. How are they doing?” and Melissa answered with this good news: “They are doing great! We’ve had them for just under a week now and it’s shocking how fast they are growing! We are just in love. The two that were the worst off still need their little bums cleaned daily but they are doing really well I think. I had a neighbor lady come over and look at them. I didn’t end up putting anything on them and their feathers are regrowing well. I’m sure it was that dreaded pasty butt. I hope they get over it soon, but I’ve been told it can take a few weeks. I did get great info from your site though, so thanks! It’s amazing how fun being a hobby farmer is already. Thanks, Melissa”

  6. 4 Lessons Keeping Backyard Chickens Have Taught My Kids

    […] first flock of chicks we lost one within 3 weeks of having them home. It wasn’t malnutrition or pasty butt. It was a red tailed hawk. My husband was in the driveway constructing the coop and I had the chicks […]

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