This is not something I ever thought I would spend an evening doing: wiping a chicken’s bottom.
One chick, who shall remain nameless (since none of them have names yet) had a crusty green bottom when I got home from a teaching seminar I am taking this summer. The other chicks look soft and fluffy on their bottoms, so I knew it couldn’t be normal. I took her to my neighbor, Mary, who is a chicken expert. She suggested soaking the chick’s bottom in olive oil.
Surprise — it’s not as easy as you might think to soak a tiny chick’s bottom in olive oil. But perhaps you’ve never considered the problem. First, I held the little guy in my hand — as you might hold something breakable you are trying to hide in a magician’s shell game. Next, I used my other hand to uncap and pour the olive oil onto his crusty bottom. I let it soak in awhile and let her run around.
No change — still a crusty bottom.
Next, I tried YouTube and found a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxXYfo83Qfo
where a woman showed how to clean a tiny chick’s tiny bottom. The woman said to dip the chick’s bottom in warm water. Then wipe gently with a cotton ball until whatever is caked on comes clean. She also recommended adding protein to their diet — hard cooked egg — and even probiotics. Apparently, chicks peck at their mother’s poo, and pick up beneficial bacteria that way. So when a chick is shipped out before she knows her mother, that can affect her health.
Different sites recommended washing the chick’s bottom with Dawn dishwashing liquid, baby shampoo, or a bath of warm water. I tried soaking her bottom in a child’s teacup of warm water (which she did not like one bit!) Then I tried the the warm water wipe thing, dipping a rag in warm water and wiping her bottom over and over. After a half hour of steady wiping on this poor little chicken bottom, I think I got most of it off — except a little nub of brown.
Was that in the chicken’s bottom? Where exactly was the bottom? I checked the other chicks. the bottom looked higher up, under the tail. Maybe I had just been washing some crusty thing that didn’t even bother the chick.
I put her in with her friends under a heat lamp to warm up. I still hear her peeping!