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How to Treat Pasty Butt in Baby Chickens

Updated: Mar 18

Pasty butt is a pretty common ailment in baby chickens. As a chicken owner, pasty butt is gross and you would probably rather not clean a chicken's butt, but pasty butt can cause death if not cleaned. A pasty butt or poopy butt is simply just a build-up of poop below and around the vent. If it's really bad and hasn't been taken care of there could be poop stuck on the vent and that's when it becomes dangerous to the bird.


Whenever we are holding our baby chicks, we check their bums. It has become a habit of flipping them over just to make sure they are clean. Just like a baby needs a diaper change, baby chickens need our help and care to keep their bums clean.


Pasty butt in chickens, three baby chicken butts, keeping a chicken vent clean

First things first, check your chick's bums. If there is poop stuck to their feathers, it's time to bring them to a sink where you can get warm water from.


I turn the water on to get it heated just hot enough that when I put my finger under the water it isn't scalding hot, but warm enough to break apart the poop. Any unfamiliar noises to the chickens are going to scare them, making them squirm. You want a calm chicken when you are doing this.


You are going to want to flip over your chicken, as shown in the picture.


Holding a chicken to clean pasty butt
How to hold a chicken to clean its vent
A chickens vent that is clean, cleaning pasty butt, how to hold a chicken to clean its butt

Slowly and gently, start taking your finger and rubbing warm water onto the poop in circular motions. The poop will start to disintegrate and you will start to see clean feathers once again.


If there are any stubborn dried poops on their bums, I sometimes take my nail and gently scrape the poop off the feathers. Sometimes, their baby fuzz will come out, but remember that feathers will replace the fuzz soon enough. There should never be so much fuzz coming off the chicken that they are bald, a couple of pieces that are connected to the poop are fine. Sometimes putting the chicken's bum underneath the water is the best, but I try to avoid this as it gets them soaked.


A poopy chicken vent

If your chick got significantly wet in the ordeal, please dry them off before putting them back into the brooder. Even with the heat source, a wet baby chicken makes it hard for them to regulate its temperature.



There are ways to prevent pasty butt which include:

  • maintaining a proper temperature in the brooder. Consider switching from a heat lamp that can cause overheating to radiant heat. Our personal favorite is the Cozy Coop Heater.

  • add probiotics to the chicks' water

  • not feeding the chick's treats right away. they can have some treats but always offer some type of grit, like crushed oyster shells, sand, or even a root ball from pulled weeds.





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