by Annie
(Whitesboro Texas)

I have four baby bantam chicks, one of which had a red butt, and I noticed the other three were pecking at it.

I've separated the sick baby. She/he wouldnt lay down, but was in the "sick chicken stance" of just standing up with its head down trying to sleep. But mostly it just keeps cheeping as if in pain.

I have applied "Tucks" pads which have witch hazel in them, as well as hemorhoid cream. Its only been a day, but it doesnt seem to be getting much better. They have 24/7 access to water and crumbles.

This is the second time this has happened to me, my last batch of babies had one with this problem, but I didnt catch it soon enough, and the others pecked its butt bloody and I couldnt save it.

I am very attentive to them, and I just don't understand why this is happening. I showed a neighbor who used to raise chickens, and he said he had never seen that and didn't even know about it.

What is causing these babies to have the protruding vent and get so sick?

Thanks for your help.

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by: Sharon

So sorry this is happening again. The first thing I wonder is if you use wood shavings as floor litter in your brooder. Some chicks will eat the shavings, which don't digest & can cause serious problems in the digestive tract. I'd recommend giving a few drops of vegetable oil a couple of times a day, if you think this could be the problem.

The swelling of the vent and protrusion can be caused by constipation - constipation caused by shavings or other digestive problem. Treating the swollen tissue as you have done is good, but the internal cause of the problem has to be addressed.

You haven't mentioned the droppings from this chick - if any. It's unlikely that swollen vent tissues have been the problem, just a symptom. Whatever is going on inside is likely causing the pain and illness.

I wish I could tell you if this little one could be saved. Often by the time they are so sick, it is very serious. The most important thing would be to get droppings moving through this chick, if possible, if not too late.

If you have been using wood shavings in the brooder, I would switch to news paper or paper towel layers, and just peel off the top layer to keep things clean. Chicks don't always know the difference between things good to eat and not good. Shavings are generally safe with more grown chickens. If they do eat some, it can pass through their system. Small chicks, especially bantams, can get their digestive systems blocked up with shavings.

If you haven't been using shavings, I would suspect some other digestive problem that has lead to constipation. Fluids, and things to help with digestion, like apple cider vinegar, yogurt, fresh veggies, can possibly set a chick right again. A tiny portion of a baby aspirin in water may also help with any discomfort and a few drops of a vegetable oil can help lubricate a blockage.

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