3 week old RIR female chick struggling to poop - should I be worried?


5 Years
Sep 30, 2014
This is our first go-round with chickens, and we are having so much fun. Our 3 week old RIR female chick is having a hard time pooping. She is otherwise content, eating, drinking, playing with our other chicks, but for some reason when she needs to poop she has difficulty - fluffs out her feathers, sometimes closes her eyes, makes a strange chirping sound. None of the other chicks are bothering her when this happens, and after a minute or so she is able to go. I've observed her pooping without struggle in the last few days also, but this seems to be a trend. They were all vaccinated for Mareks, and are on medicated chick starter. We have added grit to their starter since day 3. We've taken them outside to let them scratch around for a bit in the last week, and we also gave them some dried mealy worm treats last week. I've added electrolytes and probiotics back to their water since I've noticed her struggling. Any tips? Do we need to be concerned?
Congrats on your first bunch of chickens!:) They certainly are so much fun to have around!. I haven't personally had this problem before but I think if it continues and your chick does seem to be struggling then it may be an issue. Obviously it could just be one of those things that clear up and is nothing to worry about. Have you checked your chicks vent to see if there are any abnormality's? (I know it's not the nicest thing to do). Also are the chicks poops the same as your other chicks?. If the chick looks uncomfortable or is struggling you could try stimulating the chicks vent with a slightly wet/warm cotton bud. Some of my chicks raise their wings when going to toilet so behaviour like that is completely normal but the chirping sound could be an indicator your chick is in discomfort
Thank you so much for your input! As far as I can tell her vent looks normal, although being so new at this it might take some time to know what normal really looks like, lol. We will just keep watching her - if it continues for too much longer I might see if I can find a chicken vet in the area - I know the university here has a great poultry program, so hopefully can get some insight there if need be. Thank you again for the encouragement! They are so cute and funny.
You may want to watch her vent for any prolapse in the future if she continues with this problem of constipation. Prolapsed cloaca, which can occur when part of the inside of the vent tissue sticks out, usually affects egg laying hens when they are older, but it sometimes will happen in a chick or a rooster when they are constipated continually. The probiotics are good, and though you don't want to give her diarrhea by using these things, applesauce, apple juice, and molasses have laxative effects in chickens. A Q-Tip with olive oil may help lubricate the vent if needed. Here are a couple of threads about prolapse in case you ever need the info:
Thank you for your help, Eggcessive! I didn't even think of constipation. The threads you linked were helpful - we are using witch hazel on her vent, and we will try to make sure she's getting enough to drink in the days to come. Poor little thing. Hope this is just a hiccup.

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