Scratch and Poo ?s

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chalynm, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. chalynm

    chalynm Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2010
    NW AL
    We've got 8 black australorps, which arrived a week yesterday. I believe they were hatched on Sunday a week ago, which puts them at about a week and a half old. (We're first time chickens owners, btw.) I've been fascinated at how quickly they're growing, and the kids are really enjoying participating in their care.

    I've noticed over the past couple of days that the girls have really started scratching at the litter in the cage and pecking when they get to the bottom. 1) Do I need to worry about them eating any poo they may find? I feel sort of silly asking, but I've read in many places that you can't trust the chickens to know what's bad for them to eat. Better safe than sorry... 2) I'm wondering if I should be scattering some of their feed, so that they *are* able to find something they can eat when they scratch.

    Also, a non-scratch question...One of the girls seems to have a perpetually poopy butt. We did a thorough check for pasty butt on arrival, and then I checked again early this week, just to be sure that we didn't miss anything and that they all still looked healthy, and that's when I discovered the poopy one. She is growing, although she's a bit smaller than most of the others. Feathers seems to be coming in just like the others. She's just as active as the rest, doesn't separate herself or get pecked on, and seems to be eating and drinking appropriately. I happened to see her poo this morning, and she did peep quite a bit and flap her wings while going (don't know if this is abnormal or not). The poo also seemed to be more urine than most of the others, but again, I don't know if this is abnormal or not. I've read that watery poo can be a sign of overheating, so I've double checked the temp in the cage and adjusted the heat lamp a bit, and I'm also making sure their water stays cool.

    Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

    Chalyn
     
  2. acid_chipmunk

    acid_chipmunk Polish Silkies d'Uccles O my!

    Mar 29, 2010
    I can't really help with the poop question, but if you do a search, there is a poop sticky or thread with pics of normal and abnormal poops.

    As for the scratching, that is what they do. They are looking for something good. You can sprinkle their food in there and let them scratch for that. I have never seen my chicks or ful growns eat poop, but that's not saying they don't.
     
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    One of every 10 or so droppings will be a cecal dropping: usually dark, liquidy and foul smelling. This is perfectly normal.

    http://www.chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=17568.0

    Chickens, like other birds, don't have liquid urine, but solid. It's the white pasty part of their droppings. Sometimes when a chicken is stressed for whatever reason, including overheating, their droppings will have a clear, sort of mucousy component. Our vet told us he sees a lot of droppings like that from birds visiting him, because they're stressed to be at the vet. It's nothing to be too concerned about if it's occasional.

    I try to check bums on a daily basis, twice daily for very young chicks, since pasty butt can develop very fast and kill swiftly.

    I noticed my chicks "tasting" poo once or twice to see if it's something to eat, but they seem to figure out pretty quickly that it's not, with no ill effects.
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I don't think you'll have to scatter any of their feed; over the course of their life in the brooder, they'll manage to scatter some of their own feed into the litter! [​IMG]

    If you keep adding litter instead of changing it all out, they'll have more fun scratching, and will also start making their own "litter baths" like the dust (lor dirt) baths they'll make when they are outside. Occasionally they'll pick up a bit of dried poo and run around with it like it's a prize, or taste some of it, but they really won't eat it.

    I use the "deep litter" method in the coop AND in the brooder. I just add more pine shavings. It's very absorbant.

    Also, if you change their waterer to a poultry nipple waterer, then there won't be any mess from spilled water, AND the water will stay clean. The chicks can't kick shavings into it, or poo in it. MUCH healthier.

    Check chicks daily for pasty butt.
     
  5. chalynm

    chalynm Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2010
    NW AL
    Thanks guys! I didn't realize that I should be checking daily for pasty butt. I thought it was only a concern during shipping. How long should we be checking?
     
  6. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    Quote:It depends on how much of a worrier you are. I had a scare with a week old chick. Between late afternoon and 11 a.m. the next morning, one chick developed pasty butt with a huge back up. I shudder to think of what could have happened if I hadn't spotted it when I did. It was purely fortune, because I was not doing daily checks.

    After that scare, I checked twice a day until every chick was two weeks old, then dropped back to once a day.
     

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