Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Easy Way to Clean a Poopy Chick Butt and How to Sex Chicks

All our keets and chicks are doing well.  We got 4 Rhode Island Red (RIR) chicks and 4 Cuckoo Maran chicks from the farmer's market yesterday.  They were all 1 day old.  They were incubator chicks, we were told.  They all did great bonding with a mama hen, especially the RIRs.  The Cuckoo Marans really just wanted to sleep yesterday.  Today they are bonding with their mama hen very well.

Of course we wanted pullets, so we tried these methods we found online:

To determine the sex of a Rhode Island Red chick:

  1. Look at its feathers on the edge of the wing. If the chick has two uneven rows of feathers its female. If both rows are even, male. 
  2.  Females have dark spots on her head or back.  Males have stripes
  We really noticed a difference in the wing feathers- some were even, some were definitely uneven.  We chose all uneven.  It was hard to tell about the spots or stripes.

To determine the sex of a Cuckoo Maran chick:
  1. Females are darker, males are lighter. 
That sounds easy enough, but they all were generally the same shade of black.  Some had more white spots.  We chose the darkest ones available.

Today I checked all the chicks (and all the keets, too) for signs of a poopy butt.  Sometimes poop sticks to the bottom of a chick and dries, making the chick unable to poop.  This can kill the chick.  Mama hens will try to pick the poop off the chick.  One of the cuckoo marans had a poopy butt, and so I brought her in the house and had a great idea.  Last year when we had chicks, I used to wipe the chick's bottom with a warm damp wash rag and try to wipe the poop off.  The chick would scream and fight.  It wasn't a happy time for the chick.

This time, I put some warm water in the bathroom sink so it was just high enough to cover the chick's butt when she stood in it.  Then I put her in it and swooshed water around her bottom.  I held her there for about 5 minutes.  At first she fought, then she calmed down and almost went to sleep in the warm water.  It was a relaxing spa for the chick!  I took her out and wiped her bottom with a wet tissue, which is much softer than a wash rag.  The poop easily wiped off her butt in a second.   It was so easy!  I thought I'd share this concept, since that's what blogging is all about - sharing ideas.

I lightly dried the chick with a tissue and put her with her mama hen.  She took 2 steps and made the biggest poop I've ever seen come from a chick.  Then she flapped her wings and bounced around with the other chicks.  Problem solved!   


Nancy said...

Very cute chicks! Thank you for sharing. I shall remember this. Ok, I best make ah note ;-)

Kessie said...

I would think this a tacky subject if I hadn't dealt with the same problem with my chicks through the years. I never thought of soaking a chick. That sounds great!

As for sexing them with the shape of the wing feathers, let us know how that turns out! I hate sorting through straight-run and invariably picking out all roosters.

LindaG said...

What a great idea!
And thanks for the info on (hopefully) sexing those types of chicks. Good to know and hope it worked for you. :)

cmarlow41 said...

Who would have ever thought that I'd be reading, with a high level of interest no less, a blog on chicken poop. My how things change!

Razzberry Corner said...

Nancy - Lol, I am the biggest list-maker!

Kessie - We definitely need to share ideas to make this farm life easier for us all!!!

LindaG - I'll let you know! With my luck I got all roosters. Wouldn't that be funny!

Cindy - Ok, that is so funny! Just 3 years ago I would have never even thought about chicken poop. I mean, seriously, you and I work in the city. I don't think of us as country gals! I used to hate country life, wanted to live in a condo close to work. And here I am. Randy has changed me, I guess. Country guys will do that to you...


Knatolee said...

We are getting more chicks in a couple of weeks, so I will have to remember this poopy-butt rescue plan. Yours are SO cute!!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your page as I'm obsessed with knowing the sex of my Rhode Island red chicks. I was told that the females have the stripes so I picked out the two chicks that had the darkest chipmunk like stripes. I had to search all ur blogs to see what sex ur RIR's turned out to be. They were all roosters?! I'm sorry they were all boys but lets hope for my sake, that the stripes do in fact mean girl. Thanks! Enjoyed skimming ur posts!

Razzberry Corner said...

Anon, you must be right, the female RIRs must have stripes. Mine were all roosters. It was sad because I really liked those birds. Good luck!! :)