Vent prolapse and witch hazel


Aug 2, 2016
i have a 5 day old chick with a slight bump above her vent. She has problems with pasty butt, and I am keeping her clean. I read on another thread that witch hazel helps with the protruding tissue around the vent. I have begun applying it. My question: Is witch hazel toxic to chicks? As soon as I finish cleaning and applying the witch hazel, she preens her rear end. I know she has to be ingesting some of the witch hazel I just applied...
Your chick is "preening" after you apply witch hazel to her vent because it stings like crazy. She's trying to make it stop hurting by pecking at it, much as you would do by holding a sore thumb you just got through smashing with a hammer.

Try coconut oil. It soothes, heals inflamed tissue, and will prevent infection. If the swelling refuses to go down, try Preparation H.

More to the point, her vent is swollen for a reason. Perhaps she's constipated and is straining to poop. If she is chirping madly when she squats, she's probably constipated. Pasty butt often results in constipation, too.

As a precaution, I recommend treating her with coconut oil to be sure things are moving as they should. Chill the coconut oil and then break off tiny bits and place them onto her tongue. She will automatically swallow. Get one teaspoon of the oil down her if possible.

Make sure the brooder isn't too hot and the chicks have enough room to find cool space away from the heat source. Also, be sure they are all able to access their water okay.
I too would think the witch hazel is burning her.
Coconut oil is great.
Witch hazel is not toxic to birds. I'm not saying you should pour a bottle in the waterer, but if used on wounds etc. and animals lick at it, it's ok. I used to work with parrots, finches, parakeets, etc. and we used witch hazel in spray bottles when misting them for baths, when cleaning cages, on wounds, etc. It is generally mild and non-toxic. Also it stings far far less than things like rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide and has many of the same benefits.

I do not have experience with prolapse. I just wanted to chime in and assure you that you will not poison your bird by using witch hazel as a disinfectant.
So, the take-away here is, witch hazel won't poison your chicks, but it hurts when applied to extremely sensitive tissue such as the vent, so we don't advise using it for this purpose.
Maybe not the best thing to treat a prolapsed vent, though it's generally used for its soothing properties and shouldn't hurt. It's used on diaper rash, acne, dry/itchy skin, sunburn, poison ivy, hemorrhoids, etc. I'm skeptical that it's causing more pain, but not disagreeing that this may not be the best remedy for this little chick. Sounds like the coconut oil might just do the trick!

Also, back to what @azygous mentioned earlier, I think it's important for you to look more deeply into what could be the possible cause of this problem so that the cause is being treated and not just the symptom. What are the most common causes of pasty butt in chicks? Are any of your other chicks having problems?
Some chicks can have prolapsed vents, or may become swollen from constipation. That can happen after being shipped home or to a feed store. Shipping stress, being dehydrated, or too hot or too cold can cause pasty butt.A lot of feed store chicks I have seen have pasty butt in the stores, and can continue to have problems if they remain there without being cleaned. Sometimes their waterers become filled with pine shavings and don’t get cleaned and refilled quickly.
Place a cheap thermometer in your brooder under the warmest spot on the floor, and keep the temp 90 or slighly lower, always having a cooler spot to get away.
Clean the vent daily until it no longer pastes up which may take a week or so. Make sure the chick is drinking well, and dip it’s beak to show it the water.
Thank you all for the replies. I will try the coconut oil. I had rubbed some olive oil on it earlier (also a suggestion I found from another thread). She has loose stools right now. I know this can actually be a sign of constipation... that only the super watery stuff can come out. I’ll feed her a bit of coconut oil as well. Glad to know the witch hazel isn’t toxic. It is the main ingreadient in the prep-h cooling wipes. Otherwise she’s acting well

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