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Q: Pasted Vent Overview

A:

Pasted Vent Also called
Pasting, vent gleet, pasty butt

Prevalence-
Very common in chicks. Not common in adult chickens.

Signs
General signs -
Lack of appetite, lethargy, huddling near heat source and fluffed up down.
Cardinal or diagnostic signs -
Vent “pasted” shut with dried droppings. This condition can be fatal if your chicken is unable to defecate. A little poo on the down or in feathers that doesn’t obstruct the vent is unsightly, but it is not pasting. You can choose to clean the vent (see instructions below), or not. If there is very little, it’s usually not worth the stress to the chick of handling and washing, since that in itself can cause chilling and pasting. If the fecal mass is large and odoriferous, and especially when it occurs on an outdoor chicken, it can be a good idea to clean. In some areas, such a fecal mass can attract flystrike.

Cause/s -
Can be caused by anything that stresses chicks or causes loose poo, including chilling… and even heat! (Excessive heat can cause chicks to drink more water to cool down, causing loose poo.) Other causes include worms, coccidiosis, and other illnesses or conditions that cause diarrhea.

Communicability -
Pasting itself is not contagious, but the underlying condition may be (worms, for example). In addition, if one chick gets chilled chances are good the others in the same brood may have also gotten chilled if reared in the same conditions.

Communicability to humans -
No. Underlying conditions causing pasting may be communicable, however.

Incubation period -
Per underlying condition. Most baby chicks experience pasting due to simple chilling or overheating.

Latent
Per underlying condition. Most baby chicks experience pasting due to simple chilling or overheating.

Endemic
This can happen in any environment.

Home treatment and/or prevention -
Prevention: Provide the proper temperature in your brooder for your chicks’ age. Buy only from NPIP hatcheries and breeders. Practice good biosecurity. Keep your coop and run clean and dry.

Treatment: Remove the poo. Sounds simple, right? Sometimes it is, however, sometimes it is really cemented into down and/or onto skin. When that happens, you can soften the poo with warm (not hot!) water on a Q-tip or paper towel. Rarely, the poo will be dried into a “plug” in the vent. Warm, food grade oil can help loosen the mass so it can be passed. Be sure to thoroughly clean and dry your chick before returning her to the brooder, or else she may get chilled and repasted. Be sure to practice good biosecurity and wash/sanitize hands after handling fecal matter.

WARNING FOR BEGINNERS: Don’t mistake the navel/dried umbilical cord of a new chick for a pasted vent! The vent is beneath the tail; the navel is further down toward the legs/belly. If you remove the scab over an open navel, it will nearly always result in a dead chick, and the poor thing will die very painfully. Before removing anything, be sure you’re targeting pasting, not a healing navel.

Veterinary care - Vet care is very rarely necessary in most cases where the loose poo is caused by chilled or overheated chicks. If you suspect the pasting is caused by a communicable underlying condition or illness, you should consult a vet to get a firm diagnosis and treatment options. Do make sure the vent remains clear in the meantime, and again, practice good biosecurity.

Recovery - Recovery from pasting is usually very quick once vent is clear. The chick may have one or more large bowel movements. Be sure to check for repeat pasting, and if the chick is weak from the ordeal, make sure he or she eats and drinks until s/he’s recovered enough to eat and drink without help.

Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs:
Omphalitis, or an unhealed navel, can be mistaken for pasting.