Baby chick died, had pasty butt. Need advice for living chicks


In the Brooder
8 Years
Mar 2, 2011
My hubby and I are new to raising chickens. We bought 3 chicks at the feed store 4 days ago, 2 sicilian buttercups and 1 wyandotte. Both buttercups have had poop stuck on their bottoms. But pulling it off, or wiping it with warm wet paper towels distressed them, so we've left the stuck poop alone. Little did we know that poop on their butts was dangerous and could kill. I came home today after a few hours gone to find one of the buttercups (my 2 year old daughter had named her "Doe-Tee") dead. A little research led me to this forum and helped me discover the predicament Doe Tee must have been in. I checked her vent and it was stuck, totally closed off by the poop on the outside. I am so sad and wondering what else I have missed. Need some helpful advice. Do I need to check and regularly clean the other buttercup's butts, even though it stresses her out? Are there other things I can do? Does a bit of molasses in the water really help? How about some oatmeal in their chicken starter? What affect does temperature have? (They are indoors, house temp is usually in the 60s, they are in a bin with pine shavings and a 50 watt bulb, about 6-8 inches above them. The thermometer currently says 98 degrees in the warmest part of the bin.) We have been holding the chicks, letting them walk around a bit, and giving them mealworms as treats. Are they too young for that? When I put Doe Tee back in the bin under the light this morning after her treat time, she was the picture of health (other than the usual poop on her bottom), although I noticed her nuzzling up to the other two chicks as though she was cold.
Last edited:
You have to wipe there butts!!!! There is no way getting around that. It will distress them, if someone picked you up and started wiping your butt you would be pretty upset too. There is no food remedy that i am aware of, so all you can do is wipe there but regularly, and make sure they have water all the time. If you do this all the time they will eventually grow out of it.
I have one of my new babies with pasty butt. I clean it 3x a day and I apply a little bit of Vaseline with a Q-tip around the vent so the poop doesn't stick......
At the store they "cleaned" it up for me which meant just pulling off the poop and now it is pretty naked on the back side. I should have told them that I would do it at home........ oh well.
Thanks for the quick responses! I'll make sure to check and clean
But I would love to know if there is a nutritional/environmental factor causing the stuck poop, so I can fix it.
Sometimes if the chick catches a chill it will get pasty butt or if it is just a weak chick genetically. I prefer to pull it off. I am sure it is painful because it pulls off the downy feathers there but that is what I want. A nice clean surface. When I am careful and wipe it off after soaking-- it often comes back. When I pull, it rarely does.
If it pastes up over a week long then I would cull it or let nature cull it.
I don't have any experience with pasty butt I have been told that it just happens sometimes, it has nothing to do with food and no supplements will help, and they usually grow out of it in a week or so. I might suggest using a warm damp washcloth to soften it up first before cleaning it off. Germanchicks suggestion about the vaseline sounds right on too! Good luck! Oh, and welcome! There is just a wealth of knowledge and knowledgable people on here!
I run a gentle stream of warm water in the bathroom sink and put the chick's butt in the stream for a few minutes to soften it. I would never try to pull it off dry...too painful.
All good advice so far !!!!
As for treats I wouldn't give them treats as such a young age. Others might chime in and tell you when you can start giving them but what is important as this young age is to make sure they have a good gut flora of good bacteria.
The first drink my new chicks get is some plain yogurt thinned with water and some probios mixed in.
(In a very very shallow dish, lid to a glass jar etc, so they don't drown)
I read on here not to long ago that their gut starts out with a blank slate, no good bacteria and no bad bacteria. If the bad takes hold before the good (probiotics, yogurt etc) get a chance to get established it can be an up hill battle for them.

Are you feeding medicated chick starter? That will help prevent Coccidiosis which chicks under 20 weeks are prone to getting.
Some people prefer not to feed it because they want the chicks to build up their own resistence to cocci but others don't, kinda a personal preference. If you see the slightest bit of red blood in their poop you have cocci. At that point the medicated food won't help, you will need to treat with corid V or similar drugs made for treating cocci.
The medicated chick starter is not really a medication. What it does is doesn't allow the chick to absorb certain vitamins (I think the B vitamins) thus allowing there body to help develope resistance to the cocci. I may not have described that correctly but I think you know what I mean.
Not trying to scare you that they have or will get cocci but it is a very common protazoo (sp) that lives in the soil and thrives in wet or moist litter. So keeping the litter clean and dry will greatly reduce their chance of contacting it.
Sorry if I got off topic, not saying your chick had this, just thought since you are new to chicks this tidbit of info might help.

I agree with the poster that said that your little one may have gotten a chill. Most likely in transit to the store, at the store or on the way home. Either way, poor little chicky. I'm sure she knew she was loved by your daughter. Hope she is doing ok with the loss.

Good luck with the other two and Welcome to BYC !!

Ps I also pull it off their but, very fast. Most of the time it has dried because they are in the heated brooder and it dries quickly. If you catch it while it is wet it is a bit messier to clean up.
Last edited:
Thank you, FrenchToast! I love your idea about thinned yogurt and look forward to encouraging the chicks to drink some of that. Thanks for the heads up on cocci, too! It's nice to know what to watch for
If it is really stuck on good, fill a bowl with warm water, warmer than luke warm as chicks have a warmer body temp then us and you don't want to give it a chill. Soak their butt in the water for a few minutes and rub/pinch off the hardened pooh in the water. Then wrap up wet chick real good and dry it off well, and they should be fine.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom