I was reading the coolest book last night called "The Fairest Fowl", mostly photographs of show chickens. One breeder who was interviewed shared his method for bathing his show chickens:
He uses four 5-gallon buckts.
In the first is Ivory detergent with a little bluing.
In the second, vegar and water.
In the third, bluing and warm water.
In the fourth, he uses cool water and then pats them dry and puts them in a cage with a light on them.
I'm not sure what bluing is - maybe a form of bleach?
I don't think bluing is bleach, at least not bleach as I know it (chlorine). My mother used to put it in the rinse water with her white clothes. It just made them look brighter from the blue color it has.
You know, I have no idea exactly WHAT bluing is made of, but it was once commonly used to whiten laundry to prevent the yellowing of cottons. I think it is actual a very light sort of dye, which might mean it only covered up the yellowing. Really, it makes sense that some blue would change our perception of colors. People use bleach now, which actually damages fabric with too much use, so I wonder if it would be better to try some bluing on white tee shirts etc. Hmmmmm... I may look for it to try!
I've heard of people using it on show dogs, and on grey show horses, or just on horses with light/white manes and tails too... I believe it is not dangerous if used carefully and in moderation, but my hens won't ever need it since they're homebodies!!!
I used a couple drops of bluing in the rinse water when I washed my white silkies only and not for colored birds.
I used 5 gallon buckets. One was filled to half way or 3/4 full, depending on the size of the bird I was washing. I added a full cap of Woolite to this bucket. The water had to be luke warm and not too hot . The secon bucket also contained luke warm water for rinsing. Dont forget to wash the legs and face, covering the nostrils when doing so. I then wrap up each bird in a towel and place in a cage in the sun if the weather is warm enough or next to a heater or in a heated room with out wind drafts.