How do you wash chickens?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Phoenix Chicken, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Hi guys! I want to show my chickens, but I have no idea how to wash them. Do I do it inside or out side of the house? Do i use warm or cold water? How do I dry them off? Please reply.
     
  2. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    I use Tide laundry detergent for the wash. The water should be warm but not too warm, you don't want to end up plucking them. Using your hand wsh in the direction of the feathers. I use a soft toothbrush for legs & feet. Squeegie off as much soapy water before goung to the first rinse. In the first rinse water I add white vinegar which helps to remove soap residue. Again squeegie well before going to the final rinse. To this rinse water add either glycerin or unsecented conditioner. Squeegie again & then press with a clean towel. I then use a hair dryer to partially dry the feathers. Don't use too high a setting or you can damage the feathers. Finally I put the birds in clean individual cages to preen & finish drying. Best to wash them a few days before the show so they have time to get their feathers back in shape. Hope this helps.
     
  3. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Depending on the breed, you might want to avoid, or severely limit the glycerin. I used it on one of my silkies and the crest promptly lost all volume and body and hung downward rather than remaining in its natural shape. And the feathers similarly lost fluffiness. Took about three washings to get it back to normal. For hard feathered birds, though, the glycerin adds sheen.

    I tend to use a dog flea/tick shampoo.to prevent them from catching any mites or lice at the show (as well as making sure that they have none to transmit). If you are bathing in warm to hot weather, you can put the birds outside in the shade to dry; if cold weather, keep them inside, under a heat lamp until dry. With a hairdryer, for all birds except silkies and frizzles, blow in the direction the feathers grow--typically front of brid to back. For silkies and frizzles, blow in the opposite direction of feather growth.

    I also bathe in the tub under the running faucet--essentially giving them a shower.
     
  4. trailchick

    trailchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would use Dawn Dish soap......
    That is what re-habbers use when birds are or
    were caught in the gulf from hurricanes/oil spills
    because it is safe.
    Or any equine or dog soap
    that is safe for animals.
    Yes, and make sure it is warm or hot enough for
    them to get dry without getting chilled.

    Anybody else have any ideas??????
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
  5. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    Actually Dawn is used on birds that have been caught up in an oil spill because of it's grease cutting ability. I've even used it to degrease engines before rebuilds. That's exactly why you should not use it to bathe chickens. It removes too much of the natural oil from the feathers. I settled on Tide after many years of washing birds for show & trying a number of different soaps. It cleans well but is gentle enough to not harm the feathers. It also has colour brighteners that make the birds natural colour look it's best.
    Is you recommendation of Dawn based on your experience or just something you think would work well?
     
  6. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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  7. trailchick

    trailchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dawn is used on water birds that normally have a lot of natural oils for boyuncy (sp)
    and water repellent capability, so I dont think it would be so harsh that it would remove
    all the oils on the feathers. If it was, it would not be used in the way that it is.
    Also, any soap would need to be used sparingly in the soap water.
     
  8. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    There is a big difference in waterfowl and chickens related to the amount of natural oil on their feathers. Also, the oil from oil spills and the like is a much heavier weight oil than that of preen oil. Dawn is used BECAUSE it cuts through and dissolves the oil. If there is not a problem with excess oil or grease on the bird, then it would not be a good choice. Note that I am not overfond of laundry detergent, either, for much the same reason.
     
  9. trailchick

    trailchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I wouldn't use detergents, as they are a harsher product.

    For that matter, birds have used plain water, for millions of years, to bathe,
    and it has worked well for them. That and preening make
    them look fine.

    So it is just a matter of choice.
     
  10. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    You wont use detergents because they are a "harsher product". Have you looked into the Dawn product that you recommended to use? Did you know Dawn is that harshest dishsoap you can get. Call the Poison control and ask them what can happen when Dawn get into your eyes.


    Chris
     

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