A Dusty Chicken is a Clean Chicken
by dare2dreamfarms Chickens have a natural way of keeping their feathers clean, healthy, and free of pests: dust baths! Rolling around in the dirt is a fun, social and preventative health measure that is important for all chickens… Continue Reading
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Avoiding Fecal Impaction, a Life Threatening Problem
You can’t always see if there’s a problem just by glancing over the chicks, so pick each chick up check for fecal matter. It’s always good practice to handle your chicks anyway, so this is a good way to socialize and take care of them at the same time. If you find a chick with a poopy wad, use warm water and a cloth to gently clean it off, if it’s hard and stuck like glue use a drop or two of soap. Soap seems to soften the fecal matter and allows you to work it out. It’s absolutely vital to check all your little chick’s bums for fecal matter every day or you will surely have a much bigger problem, such as a treatment for an impaction, or worse, death.
Danger Signs of Impaction
Young chicks commonly suffer from fecal impaction, and if left untreated they will die. The warning signs are listlessness, stumbling, and sometimes a swollen abdomen. Most likely your ailing chick has a dirty bum with caked on fecal matter hindering the ability to poop.
What to Do
Soak the chick in a warm sitz bath for at least 5 minutes and gently remove all the fecal matter using a few drops of soap to help soften. After treatment, keep chick isolated so you’re sure the little guy poops. Remember, chicks chill easily and it’s important to provide an adequate heat source as soon as possible after the sitz bath.
You’ll need 3 buckets, any will do, but personally I like the 5 gallon size. Use Ivory liquid soap in the first one for the bath. You can add 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax to the bath for a positive effect if your chicken is light or white.
Fill a second bucket with water, use this to rinse the soap off the bird. If your bird is white it’s okay to add 1/2 teaspoon bleach to each gallon of water. This will help brighten the white.
In the third bucket mix 2 cups vinegar to each gal. of water, this will make the feathers shine. If you want that show shine appeal, add 1 tablespoon glycerin.
Gently pat the chicken with a towel, or confine to a clean cage to dry. Using a blow dryer is okay too, just make sure it’s not too hot, and diffuse the air stream with your hand at all times. The blow dryer can frizz or break feathers, keep it on low and take your time.