Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pasty Butt

Sometimes small peeps can develop what is called Pasty Butt.  This is very important to be aware of if you plan on raising chickens.  I have had 3 different flocks of peeps and I have always had to deal with this with a few peeps of each flock, this flock included.  Of the 25 peeps we have now 4 of them developed pasty butt.  Basically paste butt is when the excrement from the peep does not fall free from the body and it gets stuck in their butt feathers, dries, and crusts up.  This build of waste will eventually block the vent hole all together and can cause death.  At the least it causes irration, redness, attention, and pecking from the other peeps.  It is easy enough to remedy.  All you need is a quick hand to catch the peep, a dish of hot water, an old tooth brush (preferable one that is no longer in use!), and some olive oil. 

Since I have had peeps before, I was on the look out for pasty butt to get it cleared up and nip it in the bud before their little hiney's got all irratated and pecked.  With the help of my boys, I managed to catch all of the ones that were showing signs of pasty butt.  I put these peeps in the box that they were shipped in - since I still had it laying around.  Working quickly so they did not get chilled, I donned some purple gloves and handled each peep individually.  I turned them over so I had good view of their rear and commenced to wash their butt with the hot water and tooth brush to dissolve away the crusted poop.  You have to be very gentle here as you do not want to scrub their delecate vent hole or their skin.  It does not take very long to clean them up.  I pat their butt dry with paper towels and then apply a smearing of olive oil to prevent poop from sticking again.  I turn the poor traumatized peep right side back up and talk gently to her, as she shivvers in my hand and protests loudly.  I put them back in the brooder under the lights to warm up again. They run and dive under the rest of the peeps cowering in the corner as they all think they will be next.  One by one I clean them up and put them back in the brooder to join the rest.  Just part of chicken ownership.  As I was placing the last peep in the brooder I overheard one of the first peeps recounting her traumatic experience and telling the others how brave she was to escape and return to the flock.  The other peeps were mesmerized by her tale and were wide eyed and bobbing thier heads up and down in agreement. 

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