Surviving the Chicks

Aracauna Chick

This isn’t about the chicks surviving, it’s you about surviving raising the chicks! You know….you read all the blogs, articles and books, but it never really prepares you for taking care of new born chicks. What should have been the most exciting moment when we pulled the chicks out of the box for the first time turned a little cold when we found one with a broken leg. We had to put her down and it was then that it dawned on me, I have 30 little lives depending on me!!

Thank god the chicks delivery was delayed until Friday so I could spend 3 full days in a row with them before going back to work. On their first morning with us I woke up with a dozen of the little girls with a case of pasty butt! I read about, I laughed about it, but it’s a serious thing! The poop from a chick can get stuck on it’s butt and clog up the works causing toxicity and potentially death!

Pasty Butt

So what do you have to do? You have to clean the butts of every chick that has one of these crusty masses. Okay….so I do as the blogs say and pull out a warm cup of water, Qtips and little bit of olive oil. Dipping the Qtip in the water, I use it to moisten the clot until it breaks down and then wipe it off, cleaning the area and then following it up by applying a little olive oil around the poop shoot so the poop will just slide off next time! Amusing, but I spent almost 3 hours trying to be extra careful not to hurt or traumatize the little ones. Not wholly successful at that.

I started scouring the blogs again and found two recommendations that worked. Adding some ground raw oats to their feed to fix their stressed digestive system, and before Qtipping the chick, hold them under a tiny stream of warm water in the sink. I only had 6 to clean Sunday morning and none after that.

Then we found a little chick that was peeping really loud, looking weak and was getting bumped around, not able to get to the food and water. She was named Little Miss Peeps from that moment.Little Miss PeepsWe separated her into her own box, having to carefully regulate the temperature and trying to teach her how to drink water by forcing her beak into the bowl every 2 hours to be sure she didn’t dehydrate. After 2 days she finally caught on and started to eat with gusto.

Special Needs Chick

She spent her first night back with the other chicks Sunday night and is starting to blend in fine! It was touch and go there for awhile.


Now that the chicks are all healthy and we are getting comfortable, it’s starting to become apparently that they are growing FAST. We can already see full wings popping out of the downy fuzz! They are hopping around like jack rabbits!  The brooder is running out of space. Now we have a new issue to work on!