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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by silverlaced44, Apr 18, 2016.
Can I use dawn soap for giving my chicken a bath?
They there... I would say no - don't use dawn. Chickens usually don't need a bath in the first place, but if you're dealing with poop issues then sometimes it's definitely merited. I've never had to use any soap at all - just warm water, gloves, and a little patience. The thing to remember is how much time chickens spend preening and spreading oil on each feather (their oil glad - the uropygial gland) is located at the base of their tail. Things like Dawn detergent and vinegar can strip that oil off the feathers.
If you have the bird soak in the warm water for a bit, usually the dried poop will soften and you can work it out of the feathers with a gloved hand, gently without pulling. I've been able to - no soap needed.
WHY do they need a bath. Generally they don't need a liquid bath, rather they dust bathe and there are products to use for mites and such that are dry. However, if there is a reason like a chemical/oil spill and such then yes Dawn is typically safe to bathe animals in.
JadedPhoenix is right that Dawn is good to use on animals after a chemical or oil spill, because it cuts through that oil and gets it off feathers and skin. But chickens have good oil all over their feathers that you don't want to strip off. No bath and no soap is best. But if you have to bathe, no soap.
I talked to my 4-H chicken leader, and he says its fine, they use it. Are you saying he is wrong?
Can't answer that until we know why you need to bathe the chickens. Like I said before, it is safe if there is a need but to bathe for any other reason than to save the chicken from a chemical spill or oil and such is not necessary. In fact, as KerryP stated, an unneeded bath will strip the chicken of vital oils. So will it harm a chicken? The answer isn't straight forward. If it is a bath just for the sake of bathing then it isn't advisable but if it is because the chicken can face unforeseen consequences otherwise, then bathing with Dawn is better than leaving a chicken to die from exposure to harmful chemicals.
Why is the 4-H leader washing chickens with a water bath in the first place would be the better question? As said if you have a valid reason to wash the chicken with soap, like them being covered in oil then sure Dawn is better than the alternative, but normally there is no reason to wash a chicken with water... As said Dawn strips oils very, very well, it will actually cause harm if it's done for no valid reason as it will strip the good and essential oils out of the feathers and skin...
Some people will wash them prior to slaughter to remove any fecal mater, dirt and the sorts to make for a cleaner de-feathering process and in that case Dawn is acceptable...
Others might choose to use it as a mite wash, as it does a decent job of killing mites, but again this causes potential harm as it removes the good oils as well, so you have to weigh in to see if the good outweighs the bad...
I'm guessing the reason for the washing is for showing birds.
That’s a good question, what is the best thing to use to wash a bird? I don’t know but I’d guess the 4H leader would have a good idea. If the leader says Dawn, I’d use Dawn. I assume the leader at least knows why you are asking. We sure don’t. Silverlaced you will usually get much better answers on here if you give enough information for us to know why you are asking. It’s hard to give specific answers when we really don’t understand the question.
Another possible reason to wash a bird not yet mentioned is if a hen sits on an egg that breaks she could be a real mess underneath. There are plenty of reasons a hen could sit on a broken egg, thin-shelled or no-shelled eggs occasionally being laid. I’m thinking mainly a broody hen because that could get bacteria inside her hatching eggs but I would not want any hen with rotting egg on her feathers sitting on eggs I want to later eat.
Chickens normally don’t need to be washed but not all situations are normal.
Yes, birds need to be clean for showing, and most birds not only don't mind a bath but actually enjoy it - especially if you blow them dry after. House chickens are often bathed regularly to keep down dust and dander. I would agree that regular bathing is not necessary for outdoor birds, as it will remove the oils they need to help keep them dry. Dawn is a powerful oil remover.