Yes, really. Only it’s called a “clearing a clogged vent.”
One of the most frequent health problems of baby chicks is a clogged vent. The vent is the single hole in the rear of a chicken responsible for waste and laying eggs in adulthood. As a chick, sometimes their feces gets stuck in their baby fuzz, thus clogging the vent and keeping them from defecating. This results in low-weight, starvation, or disease.
Sometimes you can simply pinch-off the clog. Especially if you catch it early. However, other times the vent gets infected or the clog is deep into the vent and if you try to pull it out, you could cause their insides to be pulled out and kill the chick.
So, what do you do?
As I’ve noted in other blogs. I’m not a vet. I just speak from experience. And your experience may be different. But this has worked for me.
How to clear a clogged vent:
- Draw a small bath of warm water, in a bowl or other receptacle. Be sure it is not too hot. Slighly more than lukewarm. As you would do a baby bottle. Add a bit of hydrogen peroxide to the bath.
- Grab the chick and gently place her in the warm bath. Surprisingly, most chicks do not go crazy when you do this. They often just chill in the warm water like it’s a vacation hot tub.
- Hold the chick in the water for at least 15-20 minutes. This will help soften up the dried feces. After 15 minutes or so, take them out and gently touch the feces. If it is soft, go ahead and pull it off. If not, place the chick back in the warm bath.
- Continue this process until the feces is softened. And once softened, pull it off with a tissue or soft cloth.
- Afterwards, pour or spray a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on the wound. Also, follow up with a good spray of “Blu-Kote” or other disinfectant.
- Keep an eye on the wound. You may want to isolate the chick, or continue applying Blu-Kote.
This has worked for several baby chicks. However, since I’m not a vet, sometimes it has resulted in prolapse and the chick has died. For best results, consult a veterinarian.
NOTE: The chick in this picture survived and is a happy healthy chicken.
Ben North lives and writes from a homestead in Iowa.