December 30, 2012 by suchandsuchfarm
The other day I noticed that one of our buff orpington hens was getting a really dirty butt. So being the concerned chicken mamma that I am, I quickly began reading up on it. She was acting perfectly normal and laying regularly so I knew it wasn’t anything serious, just hygiene issues. But if your chicken has a dirty butt and is acting funny, turns out that there can be some pretty some serious complications from this. She could get sick from any disease that may be harboring in her dried droppings, her vent could get completely shut and could potentially become egg bound, etc. Now, I get concerned when one of my chicken sneezes so obviously, I was on the case. I turned to Dave and said “Well, it looks like we’re giving the chicken a bath today” to which he replied, “Correction… you’re giving the chicken a bath today.” Well… here we go. Sometimes you just have to give a chicken a bath.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
1. A soapy wash basin that is partially filled with warm (not hot!) water. I used a tupperware container and Dawn dish soap. If it’s good enough to clean oil spills off of cute baby ducks, then it’s good enough for my chicken! You can also use and type of gentle shampoo, like dog shampoo or baby shampoo.
2. A rinse basin that is partially filled with clean warm water.
3. Bath towels and wash cloth.
4. Hair dryer (if you have one on hand… I did not.)
So I grabbed my girl and took her into the house. I had everything set up in the bath tub for her so I gently lowered her down in the wash basin and to my surprise, she was really calm and docile, probably because the warm house and water felt so good compared to the 30 degree weather outside. I then took a wet wash cloth and rubbed the dirt out of her feathers, being sure not to tear out any of her feathers while doing so. I found the easiest way for me to do it was to drab the dirt with the washcloth and rub my fingers together versus a pulling motion. I also made sure to talk to her the whole time and told her how good of a girl she was being! Very important! So after she was all clean, I dipped her into the rinse basin to make sure I had all of the soap off of her.
Next came the drying stage. I let her hang out and drip dry in the tub while I hand fed her some treats. This next part would have been a lot easier if I had my hair dryer on hand but I didn’t. If you do have a hand dryer, put it on its lowest setting and put it on warm (again, not hot) and gently blow dry her from a good 8-10 inches away. If you live with a bunch of boys and don’t have a blow dryer handy, just make a chicken burrito with a bath towel. Wrap her up so her head is sticking out one side and her feet the other side and parade her around the house to let everyone know she is the best chicken in the world.
After she was mostly dry, I took her back out to the coop, shut the door and let her hang out in there under the heat lamp for a while. We don’t want our girl to get a frozen butt, now do we? After some time, I let her out and by the end of the day she was completely dry, clean and happy!
And that, my friends, is how you give a chicken a bath.