Week old chicks, pasty vent, grit, vinegar and other questions.

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We're brooding some chicks and have had them a little over a week. We've been feeding them Purina start& grow and fresh water, thats all. Have one chick that has developed a blob of paste on it's vent. We've been washing it off a little at a time. The chick doesn't seem to have any problems and still poops fine. It still has one blob attached but we don't want to pull it off. The chicks vent seems slightly protruded and pink. I've read all similar posts in the archives and now I have more questions. Some recommend adding grit, do you add this to their feed? Some recommend adding medication to the water, we have not given any medication. Others recommend adding vinegar to the water, what is the purpose of this? We have given them some fresh greens from the garden and a few worms.

-- Emil in TN (eprisco@usit.net), March 24, 2002


You can add grit directly to their food if you want to. I usually brood mine on sand, so they eat sand and that is their "grit". For the pasty butts, I grind up some steam-rolled oats and mix it in their food. You do need to pull off the blob, or it could completely clog up the vent and then they wouldn't be able to poop. If it won't pull off, just hold the chicken's butt down in a cup of warm water for a little while to loosen it up. That is the method I use!

-- Tracey in Alabama (tjrlanier@cs.com), March 24, 2002.

Gently, gently! Soak it first, otherwise you may experience the horror I did many many years ago. If you are too aggressive, you can actually pull out the intestine with the "blob". It is difficult, but occassionally necessary, to euthanize a tiny chick! GL!

-- Brad (homefixer@SacoRiver.net), March 24, 2002.

I have raised several batches of chicks and have never lost one (mine do great until they start laying eggs, then the foxes/raccoons/neighbor's dogs eat them, lol). I do add a little vinegar to their water, but the other thing I do that I think helps, although I am not sure why, is that I feed them a little bit of stale bread soaked in milk. A couple of tomes I have noticed what seemed like runny stools, but after a day or two of the bread and milk they are back to normal and I have not had any mortalities. The milk thing I think I read about in an old farming book but I can't remember what the benefit is supposed to be. I just know that my chicks have done well, so it hasn't seemed to hurt them, at least! Never had a problem with pasty vents, either.

-- Elizabeth (ekfla@aol.com), March 24, 2002.

Another idea on getting that "blob" off.....try crushing it with tweezers.

Give them ground up oats like Tracy said; that'll take care of any more pasty vent.

Since you're giving them fresh greens, sprinkle grit in their food dish like you would salt. I've heard of people brooding on sand, like Tracy; sounds like a wonderful idea. Good on their legs and easy to clean out the poop!

I wouldn't add any medication to the water unless you see obvious signs of illness. You could add the vitamin/electrolyte mixture to their water for an added boost, but it's not necessary.

Good luck!!

-- Buk (bukabuk@hotmail.com), March 24, 2002.

Cider vinegar is added to chickens/chicks water to help with mineral absorbtion and as a natural control of salmonella and other bacterial nasties. Salmonella is a big problem with chickens and it usually makes it's home in chicks from when they are very young, and will remain at home in their guts the rest of their lives if not controlled somehow, salmonella lives in most all soil so effective control must done naturally and daily.

Cider vinegar ( yes, it HAS to be real cider vinegar, not cider flavored vinegar, read the label carefully!) is added to all chicks/chickens water at the rate of one ounce per gallon of water, change this daily, do not just add more water to their water dispenser.

I have always used cider vinegar in chicks/chickens water their whole lives, and have never lost a chick to disease and have always raised them totally organically, no medicated feed used at all. Plus, my adult birds are remarkably healthy, with no egg eating, feather picking, worms, mites or any parasites at all.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (annie@1st.net), March 24, 2002.

I usually just throw in a handful of dirt from the garden for grit. When the chicks box needs cleaning out, we just dump it back in the garden.

We've had another problem we've recently experienced that I will adress in its own post so more are likely to see it and benefit from it.

-- Lav, Maryland (lavenderbluedilly@hotmail.com), March 24, 2002.

The Chick Starter is already broken down, you don't need grit. Pasty vent (droppings on the rear end) are usually caused by stress. (Too hot, too cold?) You can hold the chicks rear under warm water and work the poop with your fingers to get it off. Or, you can cut it off with scissors. If you don't remove it, they can't poop. Not good! The stress could have come from the fresh greens and worms. The chick's systems are too young for this in their diet. The protrusion is prolapse. Separate the chick from the others before they start pecking at it. Click the link for a solution that many have had success with. Good luck.


-- ~Rogo (rogo2222@hotmail.com), March 24, 2002.

use the electrolite /vitamin mix into the water can usualy prevent the problem . when it occures we gently remove the dried blob and dab a bit of cooking oil on the but to help prevent reocurance one greasing usualy does the trick or just grease them all while your at it its harmless just a dab with a q tip on the area wher it sticks

-- george darby (gardenalways@yahoo.com), March 25, 2002.

if chick is still going ok , and the other ones arent pecking it , leave it alone,

purina start and grow is all fine ground, they dont "really" need grit.... of course they dont really need the alfalfa i put in there for them either...... :) but its sure fun to watch them scratch at it ....

i just love it , wheneveri read the books , its usually after i have jumped in blindfolded already, now i see i am not supposed to have them on straw .. but , this is hand threshed straw and still has some good garin on it , and they scratch for it, so dont tell the chicks......i dont put anything in the water, but when i make cheese i do give them some of the whey, about 2 cups for 50 chicks or so

-- Beth Van Stiphout (willosnake@hotmail.com), March 25, 2002.

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