If your chicks have arrived by mail, before placing them in their brooder you should check them for ‘pasting up’. This is where their droppings harden and block their vents, preventing them passing any further droppings. If not quickly attended to pasting up will kill the chick.
Often pasting up results from stress incurred as a result of the shipping process. But variations in temperature can also cause the problem.
You should check the chicks and also any you have hatched yourself on a daily basis for at least a week. With some young chicks the problem may persist for weeks until they learn to groom themselves properly.
We recommend using a warm wet paper towel to soften the dropping and then with a Q tip or a toothpick carefully clear the blockage and pat the chick dry, before placing it back in the brooder. Vaseline or baby oil can be applied to help move things along.
Be particularly vigilant to chicks who have had a pasting up problem as the condition is likely to return again in the first week to ten days. Always ensure that plenty of fresh clean water is available at all times.
N.B Be very careful that you do not remove any umbilical cord, which may still be attached to the chick’s rear end, this will likely look like a long black string and may be caught up in the hardened droppings. Never pull this as you could cause the chick serious injury.