Buffy Slays Buffy was originally named Lorilei after my mom (Hi, mom!), but after a rough start and overcoming difficult obstacles at the beginning of her life, we renamed her Buffy after that ‘90s-era vampire-slaying high schooler…. because Buffy is one tough chick!
Her first challenge came when she developed pasty butt. Also known as “pasted vent” or “pasted up,” pasty butt occurs when the vent hole of a chick clogs with hard or “pasty” stool. The stool sticks to the downy feathers of a chick and doesn’t come off. This plugs the chick’s vent and prevents other stools from passing, disrupting the chick’s digestive system. If left untreated, it will kill a chick.
Once you purchase chicks from your local agricultural supply store or have them shipped to you via mail, give each chick a look over for the telltale signs of pasty butt: A lump of dark stool matted to the downy backside. If you see this in any of your chicks, you’ll remove the hard stool, being careful to keep as much of the chick’s down intact. While wearing disposable rubber gloves, hold the chick’s backside under running lukewarm water. VERY GENTLY pick the paste out of the down. Once the chick’s butt is cleared of paste, dry the area by gently dabbing it with a paper towel. Once the area is fully dry, apply a little petroleum jelly to prevent fresh feces from pasting up. Raising Happy Chickens has a great blog that offers more explanation of causes and prevention of pasty butt.
Once we cleared her backside, Buffy bounced back, but she was soon sidelined by a bum leg. We worried it was splay leg, which can be very harmful to a chick’s health if not caught and treated as soon as possible. Splay leg is a chick deformity that is marked by feet pointing to the side instead of forward. This hinders movement for the chick and can lead to dehydration and malnutrition because the chick cannot access water or feed.
Buffy didn’t have splay leg, but she just couldn’t support her weight by herself. We separated her from the other chicks and added Chick Boost™ Probiotic to her water. This helped her recover and rejoin her flock.
Today, Buffy is in perfect health and definitely rules the hen house. Chicks are resilient, but as a chicken owner it’s important to keep a sharp eye out for the first sign of illness or condition to ensure that your flock stays happy and healthy. For more common chick conditions and how to treat them, visit First Aid Kit For Chickens by MannaPro.