Chick and Human Health
© 9/21/20018 Abby Black
We were still coasting on a high of "Baby chicks! So cute! We're getting eggs every day in a few months!" when Mom starts researching everything that can go wrong. Sick chick, fatally sick chick, chick that decided that falling asleep in the water dish was a good idea, etc. Fortunately for my family, we only encountered what is listed below. This may prove helpful for other first-time chick owners, or if we decide to revitalize our own flock in however many years.
Poopy Butt / Pasty Butt
- This is where the baby chick's poop gets stuck on the butt fluff, dries, and blocks the anus, keeping new poop from coming out. This will be fatal if not treated.
- Put the chick in a tub of warm water. They definitely don't like getting wet, so you're going to have to hold them down. (Don't worry. Their litlle matchstick legs are stronger than they look.) Keep them in the water until you think the poop has started to dissolve. Then take a paper towel and wipe it off. Put the chick back in and it'll forget all about what happened as soon as the fluffy feathers dry.
Poop in Food or Water
- Use a paper towel to pick out poop from their food. You will need to empty the water every time there's an incident.
- Chicks are narcoleptics. They'll fall asleep anywhere, including standing up. If they fall asleep while drinking, there's risk of the head going underwater and then drowning. Put marbles or rocks in the water so this can't happen.
- Fortunately for us, there was only one incident and it happened around a month and a half into this new adventure. One chick was jumping around and landed on another, causing the poor victim chick to start limping. Chicks are vicious to the injured, so we had to take her out and put her in isolation for a week.
- Mom worried it was a broken ankle. I got on the floor and inspected the chick. It wasn't warm to the touch, I didn't see or feel any bones out of place, and it was a tad swollen, but the chick was certainly favoring the leg. We deemed it a sprain and she went back in with the others as soon as she was healed up.
- While conventional taps and a strict "No" don't seem to cut it with birds, as there's little incidents each day to this day, we had one tiny chick who was meek and constantly battered by the others. Mom took her out every day for around an hour, showering the chick with comforts and praises. She's now one of the boldest, smallest hens in the flock.
- Wash hands before and after handling the chicks. Before, to keep whatever bacteria on the things you've been touching from getting on the chicks. After, to keep the bacteria on the chicks from getting on everything you touch.
- Oh, the dust. As our little balls of fluff started looking like birds, those adorably soft fluff feathers are coming loose and going EVERYWHERE. Like cat hair. We needed to dust every couple hours, but that didn't stop the congestion. One time, our family left for four days, leaving our ten bundles of joy with a sitter, and when we came back the dust was around an eighth inch thick. And we were sneezing for hours after we finished cleaning up.