Dirty chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rosyposy, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. rosyposy

    rosyposy New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Feb 15, 2009
    Can anyone tell me if I should bath my chickens. The white hens are now dark grey and look awful, They are always digging large holes and using their wings to spread dirt over themselves and most of it seems to stick. This is their/my first winter as a chicken owner
    and I wonder if they will naturally clean up when the better weather comes.
    I add sunflower spread to the cooked vegetables I give them and I wondered if it was making their feathers too oily which would cause the dirt to stick.
    Apart from their appearance, they are healthy and they have each laid every day throughtout the winter.
     
  2. freddy22

    freddy22 Chillin' With My Peeps

    167
    0
    119
    Mar 2, 2008
    Illinois
    unless you absolutely feel the need to you should not have to bath your chickens, when they roll around in the ground and get dirty they are actually bathing themselves, its called dust bathing, im not sure if what your feeding them could make them oily though, but the dirt that they bath in will come out sooner or later
     
  3. Snakeoil

    Snakeoil Chillin' With My Peeps

    358
    1
    120
    Jan 10, 2009
    SE Iowa
    I am not giving a chicken a bath!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  4. Rhett&SarahsMom

    Rhett&SarahsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2008
    this is why I do not have any white hens. [​IMG]
    My Buff Orps are bad enough [​IMG]
     
  5. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    6,583
    14
    261
    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    I've bathed my banty hen a number of times. Between her twisted beak, cochin feathers, and the mud here in the Pacific Northwest, Tribble can get really nasty. She gets mites quite often, too. We're hoping to give the new chicks to her to raise in a couple of weeks, so it's critical to get rid of the mites.

    There's a link on wikihow about bathing chickens.
     
  6. Dar

    Dar Overrun With Chickens

    5,930
    10
    251
    Jul 31, 2008
    i have wondered that myself...my girls are looking really bad...i was hopin that once they molted they would be all nice and white again
     
  7. Alley

    Alley Chillin' With My Peeps

    139
    0
    121
    Oct 23, 2008
    Eureka, California
    My white girl is a PIG! She dusts in the dirt, it sticks to her and she looks nasty but have I ever thought about giving her a bath. No WAY! She makes herself that way so she can stay that way! [​IMG]
     
  8. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    4,654
    27
    251
    Jun 15, 2008
    I don't think it would do any good to wash them and then put them back outside where they'll roll in the dirt again. Kinda like washing a horse for a show and putting it in the pasture until your ready to leave. The first thing they'll do is go roll in the dirt. [​IMG] Unless they get into something unhealthy (which you should then cleanup or block off) or something they won't get into again (because you cleaned it up or blocked it off) then I see no point in washing them. At least not while spring weather is here and will only result in more mud puddles next week if not tomorrow.

    I wonder if a sand bath would help. Get some cheap play sand or I prefer handy sand since it's finer and either pile a bunch up somewhere or put it in a shallow rubbermaid container/cat litterbox for them to roll in. They might clean themselves off some that way and they might be less likely to go roll in the dirt if they have an alternative.
     
  9. rosyposy

    rosyposy New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Feb 15, 2009
    Thanks everyone for your replies and comments. I am going to leave them to it.
    They are obviously demonstrating natural behaviour and wouldn't be getting bathed in the wild would they - they just look so neglected and they're not. Trouble is our soil here in this part of Surrey England is extremely sandy so very suitable for chicken bathing (not good for growing plants - hoping the chicken manure might help). I think I will be getting some play sand and see if they will use that instead - thanks again.
     
  10. annaserv

    annaserv Out Of The Brooder

    95
    1
    31
    Jun 17, 2008
    northern Wisconsin
    My big old white Cochin got a bath last year. She had a filthy rear... Yuck, I hate the smell of wet feathers. Next time maybe I'll just take the scissors out and trim.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by