Spa Days for Chickens

By JerseyGiantfolk · Dec 1, 2012 · Updated Apr 14, 2013 · ·
  1. JerseyGiantfolk

    "You can seriously wash chickens?!"
    In fact, yes!

    Prevent fly strike if bird has poopy vent
    Scrub away external parasites
    Make it pretty for show

    Materials needed:
    • Tub large enough for your bird
    • Mild shampoo (e.g. Baby shampoo) (use flea and tick shampoo if bird has mites/lice)
    • Conditioner
    • Distilled white vinegar
    • Rubber gloves (if you don't like touching droppings)
    • Towels
    • Toe nail trimmer
    • Nail file
    • Toothbrush
    • Vegetable oil or Vet Rx
    • Blow drier (optional)
    • Cotton swabs
    • Corn starch or blood stopper
    • Dry cage (optional)
    • Plastic drinking cup
    • Helper (optional)

    Part 1.
    Get cage prepared (optional, more options in Part 2, step 4)
    Get tub and mild soap ready. Make sure water is not too deep. Water level should be under the hackles.
    Have someone hold your bird while filling tub with WARM water and soap, if needed.
    (Some chickens have a hard time being washed. Before shows it is good to wash, also if the bird has a poopy butt or has mites.)

    1. Place chicken in water to soak. Make sure you've got a hold of it.
    2. Soak the bird by splashing water under the wings, working the soapy water into the fluff and using the cup to get a good control of the back of the head.
    3. Rub any poop from fluff or feathers gently. Use rubber gloves if squeamish.
    4. Once fully scrubbed, have a helper, if needed, to hold your bird while you rinse out the tub and fill it back up with conditioner (I use "Classic" Pantene conditioner) Run some conditioner through the feathers from the head to tail. Rinse bird (don't worry about getting all the conditioner out) and tub.
    5. Next you can fill the tub with warm water and 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar. Stick bird in water, run water through feathers. No need to rinse the bird-- just the tub. Quickly wrap bird in towel.

    What is the use for vinegar? (Question asked by Marty1876)
    Vinegar neutralizes the soap, (if any is left on) to prevent irritation.

    Part 2.
    Get toenail trimmer, corn starch or desired blood stopper, nail file, vegetable oil or Vet Rx, cotton swabs, and blow drier (optional)

    1. Start off with the toe nail trimmer. If your bird has light toenails, it will be easy to see the quick. It looks like a faint red dart starting at the base of the toenail (diagram shown below). Sometimes you can accidentally cut the quick. Use a dab of cornstarch or desired bleeding stopper if that happens. If toenail is ruff after cutting, use the nail file to smooth it out.
    2. Next, shake vegetable oil or Vet Rx. Use a cotton swab or your fingers to rub desired product on the comb, wattles, beak, (don't get it in the birds nostrils) shanks and toes. This will keep the given areas moist and supple.
    3. Take a cotton swab or two and dampen it lightly. Swab out the birds nostrils. Don't be alarmed if your bird has lots of dirt in them (especially free ranging birds).

    4. (This step depends on the color or cleanliness of your birds shanks and toes) Put some Vet Rx or vegetable oil on toothbrush, scrub the birds scales if dirty.
    5. Blow dry bird using cool setting on drier, then put in dry cage. If it is a hot day, set bird in open cage in the sun to dry out.

    Now you know how to wash your chicken!

    I hope this helped!

    Written by JerseyGiantfolk, 2012

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  1. Tomtommom
    Too funny, I was loving on my rooster today and I told my fiance that I needed to lotion his comb or something, because it looked dry. And then I told him about folks bathing their chickens, he didn't believe me. Lo and behold! I will be oiling my rooster's combs now.. and maybe even wash his feet!
  2. lorain's fids
    As soon as it gets warm out the 5 girls will be getting a bath. I did bathe them last year but I didn't know about using vinegar as a final rinse for them--thanks for the info.
  3. Sally Sunshine
    Thank you JGFolk!!
  4. JerseyGiantfolk
    Parasites, poopy vents, and cleaning them up for show are reasons. When you show birds, its beneficial to wash them because if they have dirt particles on them you don't want the judge to mistake them as mites. Also, white birds get an off color when dirty.
    Trimming nails is a great regular thing to do. Yes, they do overgrow (sometimes curl which makes it very hard to trim). If they are too long and get caught, the whole toenail (or half) can come off.
    Some birds like baths, and some fuss. Usually the tame ones won't put up a fight. I know my roosters love bathes because they finally get to relax (for once!). My hens.... not so much.
  5. VintageLilFarm
    I love the article and it sounds like a great idea. Can you give practical reasons why bathing a chicken would be beneficial? If they have poo bottoms I can see why one would want to wash that off, but just wondering if there are health reasons why a tubby would be good? Also, why would I want to trim their nails? Do they overgrow? Do your birds seem to enjoy their baths or do they fight you?
  6. cluckcluckgirl
    Thank you! I thought you had a great chance of winning!
  7. ash11
    I will definately be trying this with my dirty silkies!
  8. JerseyGiantfolk
    Thank you! I read your "Pros and Cons of Raising chickens", really nice! Well thought out and organized!
  9. cluckcluckgirl
    Overall, great article!
  10. JerseyGiantfolk
    Google images, I'll put that in.
  11. cluckcluckgirl
    Where did you get the diagram?
  12. JerseyGiantfolk
    Vinegar helps neutralize the soap if any is still left on. :) Glad you like it!
  13. Marty1876
    Jersey, great article, and I love your title! What is the viniger in the water for?

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