Bathing. Yes or no?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by The Scarlet Hen, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. The Scarlet Hen

    The Scarlet Hen Out Of The Brooder

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    I have done some reading about weather or not you should give your chickens baths. My reading tells me theres nothing against it other then they should only need them from time to time. However I would love your in site on the matter.

    If you do feel that chickens should be bathed from time to time how do you go about it? I live in New England and its pretty cold this time of the year, any tips?
     
  2. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 18, 2014
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    I don't think bathing every now and again is bad...i thinks its worse for them to have poop in their feathers. People bath for shows all the time. I have cochins, and they need a bath more often than most chickens, because they are so fluffy...if it didn't give them a bath, they would be caked in crap, lol :)

    Why do you have to do it?? If i do it in winter, i do it in the house. They would get too cold being wet and all.
     
  3. saltandpepper2

    saltandpepper2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't think its bad at all as long as the birds don't get chilled, I've done it before, and other than getting offended, the bird was none the worse! If it's cold, then you should do it inside. do you have a basement? Or a guest bath where the mess won't be as big of a deal? Just remember that is takes a bird up to 24 hours to get their down feathers completely dry.
     
  4. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens do not normally need to be bathed - they keep themselves clean and free of insects etc. with regular dust bathing and preening. The 'preen gland' at the base of their tail feathers (it looks like a large raised fleshy spot) contains oils that they pick up with their beak and spread around their feathers. This keeps them waterproof. If you ever pick up a chicken that has been out in the rain you should find that their outer feathers are wet, but that underneath they are still dry and toasty warm.

    However, from time to time things can go wrong - most usually as a result of illness. If a chicken is sick and has a lot of diarrhea then they can be unable to keep themselves clean. This is smelly and unhealthy in itself, and dried poop can actually block the vent, but in warm weather it can also attract flies which lay eggs in the mess, and then the hatched maggots start to attack the chicken's flesh (called 'fly strike').

    In situations like this, it is necessary to clean the chicken in order to remove the poop and clean the skin and feathers. The easiest way is to place the chicken in a bowl of warm water, let her soak for a few minutes, and then gently work the mess out of the feathers with your fingers. Detergent isn't usually necessary, but if you feel it is, then a drop or two of washing up liquid or children's shampoo can be added (you need very little, and you should only use it if it is really essential, as it strips the natural oils from the feathers).

    HOWEVER - a BIG warning - if the chicken appears to be suffering from a problem such as internal laying / egg yolk peritonitis, if the belly or rear end is swollen, red or hot to the touch, or if you are not sure what the cause of the diarrhea is, then immersing her in a warm bath of water can be the worst thing to do. The warmth could cause all sorts of problems in an infected intestine - increasing bacterial growth or leading to swelling and perforation of the intestine. In these circumstances you can actually kill your chicken by giving her a warm bath.

    If you are not certain of the cause of the problem, then it is best to stand the chicken in the sink or on the draining board, and swab the area gently with a sponge dipped in warm water. This is a much slower and more laborious technique, but it means that the chicken is not immersed in warm water.

    In either case, if you need to wash your chicken for any reason, then limit the washing to the areas that are absolutely necessary, towel dry the feathers, and then gently blow dry them with a hairdryer. As long as you start the hairdryer away from the bird, bring it towards them slowly, don't have it too hot and don't leave it in one place on their body for any length of time then I have found that even the most timid of birds seem to accept a hairdryer quite happily.

    In warm conditions you can roughly dry the bird and then leave her to finish air drying and preening herself, but if it is cold then you need to make her feathers as dry as possible before you let her go. Wet feathers will draw heat away from the body as they dry, and will provide no insulating effect to keep the body heat in.
     
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  5. The Scarlet Hen

    The Scarlet Hen Out Of The Brooder

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    No one seems to be overly dirty but a few are more dirty then they were in the warmer weather. No one seems to be sick or in any sort of distress form illness or anything of the sorts. I don't think all 15 need a bath there are just one or two that seem to be a little yucky. So If I'm going to bath them I will just need to keep them inside for 24 hrs to completely dry out. Now my only question would is keeping them in the garage over night so they can dry completely ok? Its where we had them when they where chicks under one heat lamp it stayed around 60 (we had to put three to keep them warm enough when they where growing up) but one should be fine right?
    Thank you for the advice!
     
  6. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When you say they are dirty, do you mean poop stuck to their feathers, or do you mean that they have dirt all over them from dust bathing in damp soil?

    If it is poop on the rear end, then I would agree that if it gets too much it needs to be cleaned off. If it is just dirt from the garden then I really wouldn't worry. I have a light sussex who decided to dust bathe in her favourite compost area just after it had rained - she ended up more black than white! I did consider bringing her in and trying to clean her up, but she's not at all happy at being handled, so I left it to see what happened. Within a week or so she was back to almost normal - the dirt dried and then she preened herself clean.
     
  7. The Scarlet Hen

    The Scarlet Hen Out Of The Brooder

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    I know ill take some pictures later today when I have some help and post them here. Then you can see what I am talking about! I think its more then just dirty but it is also not a ton of caked on poop or anything like that.
     

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