[This series is a diary of our experience with raising chickens for our home flock. ]
Today, we began adding some grit on top of the baby chicks’ food. The grit is made from small pieces of crushed granite. The chicks will eat some of the grit and store it in their gizzard, where they will use it to grind the food that they eat. They don’t need very much, so we just sprinkled some on like you would do when salting your own food.
We didn’t have any “chick grit” on hand, but we did have a previously opened 50 pound bag of adult sized grit, also known as grower grit (a 50 pound bag of grit lasts a long time). This “grower” grit is too big for baby chicks, so we made chick grit by crushing or grinding the grower grit.
At first, we crushed it with a hammer, which worked pretty well but was slow, then with a little experimentation, we found that we could grind chick grit much more quickly and with better results by rubbing it between two large stones that each have a flat surface.
Yesterday, we noticed that some of the chicks were starting to “paste up” a little. This means that their manure was sticking to them, close to the vent. This is not uncommon with young chicks. It is caused by stress and usually clears up within a few days, but it is important to take care of it promptly. The best way to do this is to get some warm water and a cloth, such as a wash cloth, then gently work at the manure with the warm, wet cloth until the manure loosens up and you can remove it. This was a pretty mild case, so it came off easily. We’re keeping an eye on them in case they begin pasting up again, but so far, they’re all doing great.
Below is a gallery of photos. You can click on any of the photos below to see a larger view. It is interesting to compare the size and shape of the wing feathers on the different breeds.
This is my first flock. I’m so excited. Two of the chicks I got at the feedstore had “pasty” butts. I just read my first blog here and it has all ready helped. I cleaned their little bottoms the way that was described. No more dirty bottoms. It’s been wonderful watching the girls grow. I’ve had them for 8 days now. I read ‘Day Nine’ with increasing interest. I handle them several times a day so hopefully they’ll be tame when I move them to their outside home. I let the dogs up to the brooder to see them so they’ll be used to dogs, but my Lab/wolf hybrid is sure they are just bite sized treats I’ve brought home. We’re working on that.
Thanks for the info. I am a self taught chicken fanatic so a lot is trial and error for me. I’ve lost chicks with pasting and didn’t know what it was called, but when l’ve bought some chicks at the feed store it has been a common problem, although I’ve figured out it was harmful and removed it. Never knew why or what caused it .