Vent Pasting in Chicks: Causes & Treatment

Vent pasting is a common issue with young chicks. Vent pasting is completely curable. However, it is often the result of stress or other health issues. Such problems may cause re-occurent vent-pasting if gone un-checked. In this article, I will be providing the causes of vent pasting as well as how to treat it… 

Vent pasting is not contagious, some of the underlying causes are. Since pasting can be caused by physical stressors, All the chicks in the group are at a higher risk for getting pasted vents if one is suffering from the problem.

Main Causes of Vent-Pasting:

  1. Over-heating or under-heating. ☀❄
  2. Transportation. 🚗
  3. Over crowded conditions. 🐥🐥‼
  4. Dehydration. 💦
  5. Parasites.
  6. Diet. (You can help prevent pasty manure by feeding chicks starter feed. Chick starter is nutritionally balanced to prevent pasty manure).
  7. Separation/loneliness. 😥
  8. Infiltration of bad gut bacteria. This usually is a result of a messy/unkept environment and contaminated food/water sources. 💩
  9. Disease.

Tips for Preventing Vent Pasting

Since young chicks commonly get pasty vents during transportation, you should check purchased chicks’ vents before bringing them home. You should also keep an eye on any chicks for the first week or so because chicks are more vulnerable in their early stages of life. Try to avoid stressing the chicks and keep them warm and comfortable. Make sure chicks have plenty of water and are drinking the provided water. Dehydration can cause vent pasting.

Before you take heed to the instructions below on how to treat vent pasting, please read this Important Note.

With young chicks, there is a scab where the umbilical cord was detached and dried. This is called the naval… or basically belly button. The vent is just below the tail and the naval is located slightly lower than the vent. Do not mistake the dried Umbilical cord scab for vent pasting. 

If the umbilical scab is broken or removed, it will likely result in the chick’s unfortunate death. 

Treating Pasted Vents in Chicks

You will need some dish soap or baby soap (non-toxic and non-scented). Chickens have very sensitive skin and even many natural fragrances can be irritating. You will also need a soft cloth that is wet with warm water. Make sure that the water is not scorching hot, but warmer than room temperature. Do not get the cloth so wet that it is dripping: Young chicks are very susceptible to chill.

Gently hold the chick in one hand and hold the cloth to the chick’s pasted behind with the other. This should soften the pasted manure a bit. Do not try to tear or break the clod by force. Also, do not rub or scratch it. Chicks have a lot of sensitive parts underneath the skin of the lower abdomen. These parts are delicate and still developing during chickens’ early growth stages. If the clod is stuck to the chick’s skin and not loosening easily, apply some just warm (not hot), food-grade oil to the caked manure with the cloth. After the clump has softened and begins to peel away, Gently wipe the clumps of manure off. Once the vent is clear, the chicks should recover rather quickly. However, keep an eye on the chick for awhile to make sure that the it doesn’t get repasted.

In cases where the Vent-pasting causes irritation and abrasions on the chick’s rear:

Apply some salve (aloe or a generic, non-scented antibacterial ointment like Neo-Sporain) conservatively to the vent area. Pay close attention to the chick. If the other chicks peck or even take interest in the injury, separate that chick to a place where it can hear/see it’s companions easily. Total separation is very stressful on chicks and my cause re-occurant vent-pasting.

Featured picture at the top of this post: My 4 crested chicks, Elly, Eustace Scrub, Marion and Cricket. After I brought them home, their vents got pasted. The problem may have been due to the long drive home, temperature instability and overcrowded conditions where they were purchased from. 

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