Chickens Health Issues

How to Give a Chicken a Bath

One of my favorite things about my chickens is their fluffy butts!  My husband always chuckles when I say this, but I truly do love to watch as their heads are down on the ground discovering tasty treasures while their tail and fluffy butts reach for the sky.  Sometimes, though, not all fluffy butts are beautiful.  Sometimes, certain hens have more difficulty, for whatever the reason,  keeping their fluffy butts fluffed.  Oyster Cracker is one such girl. Every now and then she needs a chicken bath.

She is my most beautiful henny girl.  She is the fullest, heaviest and is the best looking chicken in the bunch.  She is really a sight to see; except when you get to her back side on a bad day.  Her fluff  is sometimes replaced by poopy, clumped together feathers.   If you have ever seen a chicken poop, then you know the skill necessary to keep the fluff clean.  I am not sure why Oyster Cracker is the only girl in my flock who is prone to a dirty butt.  There are a number of potential reasons why.  Perhaps, she is not as skilled as the others.  Perhaps, she actually poops more because she eats so much.  Maybe it is because she likes to start sleeping out on the floor of the coop before jumping up to the roost.  Or, maybe she has looser stools than the others.  I am just glad that she is washable.  I typically, let her try and clean herself the best she can.  Sometimes she does a really good job.  However, other times, it seems to keep getting worse until finally, the majority of her butt fluff is coated with poop.  Here is how I give her a bath.

Items needed:

3 old bath towels
2 large bins or bowls
Dawn dish detergent (This is what they used on the wildlife after the oil spill in the Gulf.)
warm water
hairdryer

Preparation:

Create a washing station.  I like to do this in the garage.  Spread a towel out on the floor.  Fill the two bins with warm water and add a few drops of Dawn to one to create some bubbles.  One bin will be for washing and the other for rinsing.

Spread the second towel on the ground and create a hair drying stations away from the washing area.

Retrieval:

Once you catch the chicken, while holding your hands over the wings, loosely wrap their head and upper body in a dry towel.    Remember to keep talking to your chicken through the entire bathing process.  After a few times, they will look forward to you giving them baths.

Bathing/Drying:

Place the chicken in the bin with soapy water.  Cup some water with your hand and wet the soiled area.  Yes, there really are not too many feathers there once wet.  You will then be able to loosen to poop off the affected feathers by rubbing each feather between your fingers.  Be careful not to pull the feathers.  Also, clean the feathers very well around the vent.  This may take some time.  Once satisfied, transfer the chicken to the rinsing bowl and try to remove as much soapy water and remaining poop from your bird.

Once rinsed, squeeze the excess water out with your hands and then towel dry your chicken.

Now, move over to the drying station.  On the lowest heat setting and speed begin to dry your chicken.  Keep the dryer constantly moving and continually fluff the feathers as you dry with your free hand.  After about 5 minutes, poof, your chicken’s beautiful fluffy butt will return.

Oyster Cracker mid-action

It is pretty simple if you ask me.  Sort of like washing a dog.  You know, we really have a nice time while I bathe her.  She does not seem to mind anymore.  She talks a lot to me but she never tries to run.  Today, she even stood still without the towel on her head as I dried her feathers.  I usually sit on the floor while doing this with her between my legs.  As I bent over her to dry the feathers on her chest, she pressed her cheek against mine.  I felt her warm little comb and wattles against me.  She was happy.  I think, she even gave me a chicken kiss.


If for some reason your chicken’s fluffy bum seems to be missing feathers and is not improving, please check out vent gleet.




This post is linked up to the Clever Chick Blog Hop.

Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest

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