I thought we were done with pasty butt when the baby chicks were a couple weeks old. I guess I was wrong! The hens are so fuzzy in the winter their butts look like giant cotton balls. It’s no wonder poop can get stuck in it!
As I let the hens out to free range one of the girls walked by with poop hanging off her downy feathers. I put on some gloves, grabbed some paper towels and tried to clean her off. Unfortunately, there was a lot more poop hidden deep within her feathers! To make it worse, much of the poop was dried up. It was time to bring in reinforcements! I got a dish tub of water and sat her her down in it. Luckily she didn’t fight or it could have gotten real ugly! When I pulled her up out of the water a lot of the poop fell off her into the tub. She quietly looked up as though saying “oh the humiliation!” After a number of paper towels we finally cleaned her up and patted her as dry as possible.
I felt so bad for her I gave her a handful of mealworms. She quickly perked up and probably forgot it ever happened!
It’s been a week with the chicks now. Nothing prepares you when you start to realize that 34 little lives are depending on you! The first morning 12 of the chicks had pasty butt. That’s when the poop sticks to the downy feathers of the butt and dries up, stopping up the poop shoot! Sounds funny but it can be fatal! The cure is to take warm water and a Qtip and loosen up the poop and pull it off…CAREFULLY. If that wasn’t bad enough, then you dip a Qtip in some olive oil and oil up the feathers around the poop shoot so the poop slides off next time. It took 3 hours of tedious work with not so happy little girls. I read more on this nasty problem and started adding ground up old fashioned oats to their feed and that helped. The next morning only 6 had it, and the day after, none had it.
One of the chicks had a screeching peep far above the others. It was a tiny Buff Orphington that was smaller than the rest and was getting bumped around, pushed away from the food and water. When she started to look like she wasn’t going to make it, we put her in her own box and forced her to eat and drink every 2 hours until she could do it herself and regained her strength. This was the first chick to get a name….Little Miss Peeps. She’s starting to blend in pretty well now.
The biggest problem now is the chicks have grown so big so fast that the brooder is in total chaos. They are trying to fly, jumping and bumping into each other causing a lot of screeching and pecking. I’d love to put them in the coop and set up a heat lamp but we have a snow storm predicted for the weekend and they aren’t ready for the temperature extremes yet. We have to come up with a solution fast before it gets completely out of control!