As more and more people start to keep their own backyard chickens, we have noticed a spike in the number of people who are actually hatching their own chicks with a large number of these people reaching out for advice on how they are able to take better care of these chicks.
One of the more common problems that is commonly seen in newborn chicks is issues with constipation and impaction and we often see people reaching out and ask how they can help a constipated chick.
Thankfully, the majority of baby chicks that hatch will usually be fine but there are a small number that will suffer from constipation with many of these constipated chicks usually being fine if you offer them a helping hand.
Thankfully, the methods that we will be covering throughout this article to help your constipated chick are easy and a beginner should easily be able to effectively use them.
There are a small number of constipated chicks who may need assistance from a vet though but this does tend to be very rare. If you do decide that you need the assistance of a vet then booking a quick video call with a professional vet is usually the best option.
Video calls with vets are usually cheaper than a trip to your local vet while also being able to book the session with the vet for a time that suits your busy schedule too.
Why Is My Chick Constipated?
The three most common reasons that your chick may be constipated is due to a blockage at your chicks butt, impaction in its digestive system, and a poor diet.
Thankfully, a blockage at your chicks butt and a poor diet is usually very easy to fix but impaction may require assistance from a vet.
The most common of these three is a blockage of poop at your chick’s butt and you will usually be able to easily see this if you look at your constipated chick’s butt.
If this is the cause of your chick’s constipation then you are usually able to use a q-tip swab dipped in some warm water to hydrate the poop that is causing the blockage and then remove it once hydrated with the q-tip swab.
If your baby chick is constipated due to a poor diet then this is usually another very easy fix and simply switching over to a suitable chick feed may be enough to treat the constipation.
Many people feed their chicks feed designed for adult chickens and although some chicks are fine on this, the higher fibre content in the feed can cause constipation in a baby chick.
Can You Give A Chick A Laxative?
Although some people do make their own magnesium sulfate concoctions to use as a laxative for their baby chicks that have constipation, we always recommend against using this.
The reason that there are no commercially available laxatives for baby chicks on the market is due to their system being so sensitive and any type of laxative presenting a risk to them.
There are some specialist laxative products that vets can provide after checking the chick to try and relieve any constipation that is due to impaction but they tend to try and avoid giving it out.
As we touched on earlier in the article, laxatives tend to only help if the constipation is due to impaction too but people usually try to give their chicks laxatives for issues that they can’t fix.
If your chick has some dried poop blocking its butt and you give it laxative all that is going to happen is that the pressure behind the blockage will increase and potentially cause problems with your chicks insides.
A pressure build up is rarely enough to clear the blockage itself and it does usually need some warm water and a stroking motion applied to clear it with laxatives not offering any benefit and only offering disadvantages for this cause of constipation.
What Can I Give A Constipated Chick?
You should never give a constipated chick any type of laxative unless your vet has specifically told you to.
This is due to laxatives only treating one of the three main causes of constipation in baby chicks and actually making one of the causes much worse than it would have been without the laxatives.
If your chick is suffering from constipation due to its diet then giving it a suitable baby chick feed may be enough to treat the constipation.
This is usually the best thing to give a baby chick with constipation if you are confident that its digestive issues are due to the food that you are feeding it rather than anything else.
If you have a constipated chick and can see a physical blockage when you check its butt then there is no need to give your chick anything to deal with the constipation. The issue is the blockage and you should use the q-tip in some warm water method that we explained earlier in the article to clear the blockage.
Once clear, your baby chick should start to poop again as normal after the initial release and not have any additional issues. It can be a good idea to keep a close eye on chicks who have had constipation due to a blockage like this though as some chicks can be prone to the issue until they grow larger.
That brings our article going over the various things that you are able to do to help a constipated chick to an end. We hope that we have been able to help as many of our readers as possible understand that each of the three main causes of constipation in chicks usually need a different treatment to clear the issue. We see so many beginners instantly think of using a laxative to solve their problem but this is often not the right path to take and it can sometimes make the situation worse.