How, exactly, does one wash chicken bottoms?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Astrid, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. Astrid

    Astrid Songster

    Dec 30, 2007
    Okay, I've got a Master's Degree, and although I"ve only had chickens for a year, I have raised and shown dogs and horses all my life, so I really should be able to figure this out.

    However......everyone posts about soaking their chickens' bottoms, or washing them, and for the life of me, I just cannot picture the process!

    Would someone please walk me through the process? I've got two Buff Orps and two Barred Rocks that are looking, well, a bit less than fresh. We've had a bout of runny poo around here, probably from too many treats, and I'd like to clean them up a bit if possible. I LOVE those fluffy Buff butts, and I can't imagine it's good for the chickens to have all that gunk stuck to their backsides.

    So step one? Get a bucket?

    Is it bad for them to walk around with wet feathers? How do you hold them still? Do you use soap? What kind?

    Feeling clueless,
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  2. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    Warm water, shampoo (baby shampoo would be great if you have it) washcloth or disposable cloth of some kind. Wash, rinse, repeat. *just kidding!* Just gently work the suds into the fluff feathers and around the vent, being careful not to bend any feathers too sharply or too quickly because that would hurt and/or stick the chicken and make them harder to work with. Then rinse the suds away so there won't be any skin irritation. Just think of it as giving a bath to a baby -- with feathers. [​IMG]

    ETA: walking around w/ wet feathers will not hurt them as long as they don't get too chilled. In these temps, that's not likely! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
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  3. LovinMyChickies

    LovinMyChickies In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Redding, California
    I felt the same way when my babies had pasty butt.

    I just held the chick and put its bottom under a warm slow stream of running water, until it dissolved. Sometimes you may need to "gently"pick at large clumps.

    I had tried other methods, but this seemed to work best for me.

    Good Luck,

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  4. pkeeler

    pkeeler Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    If you can see the vent, then it is just an aesthetic issue and there is no reason to clean them, imo. When their feathers come in, the paste will fall off with the chick down. Hopefully by then their diet and stress level will equal out and their poop will not be runny.

    If the vent is covered, then get a cup of warm water and a paper towel. Then just hold the chick in one hand while you wipe with the other. I would try not to get the chick too wet. If it is really hard you might have to pick at it a bit.

    The more utilitarian approach would be to simply pick the crust and some down right off. This will hurt the chick but will solve the problem as there will not be any down to catch the feces.
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  5. Astrid

    Astrid Songster

    Dec 30, 2007
    I guess I wasn't too clear--- sorry! My hens are over a year old.

  6. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    If you can get your girls to sit in a dishpan of shallow, warm water that is the easiest way to do it outside. Fill just enough water to cover their bums if they choose to remain standing.

    I know some show folks actually wash their chickens in the kitchen or wash room sink, but I personally prefer that my eating utensils and dirty chicken feet remain in separate quarters. (If I had to wash butts in the winter time, I would put a dishpan in the tub and bathe them in there. As mentioned previously, be sure not to let them chill.) I would use very, very little soap ~ I think the water does more good than the soap itself for cleaning off the feathers.

    You might want to have an old, clean, dry towel available for your gals to sit on after their spa treatment. This will keep them from mussing themselves right after their baths, and it helps their fuzzy bottoms dry off a bit. (You could keep them in a warm corner somewhere, or in a kennel or crate ~ or even on your lap ~ until they are cozy and dry.)

    Fanciers will often use a blow dryer on a very low setting to dry the feathers. I can only imagine the squawking that would incite in my hens, so I would prefer the "air dry" method. [​IMG]

    Good luck!

    Jen in TN
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
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  7. Dar

    Dar Crowing

    Jul 31, 2008
    ok i had to laugh when i seen this....

    my daughter was giving the chicken a bath in the wheel barrow yesterday and i grounded her for messing with the chickens...

    so now i guess i have to go upstairs and say i am sorry and unground her...

    I told her chickens dont take baths.....

    i was so worried about them getting wet i know what happens when you try to wash a down filled jacket in the washer...not pretty...i was thinking along the same wave length...i know i know they get wet in the rain but thats different......[​IMG]
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  8. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I washed one of my gals outside the other day, she had laid an egg without a shell and her BUM was all dirty and gross.

    I filled a tub with water from the hose - which was warm from being in the sun and I used the puppy shampoo that was RIGHT there handy. (peppermint Cain and Able shampoo) I had to rinse her off and just used the hose which was cold water, it was a SUPER hot day and I think she secretly enjoyed that.

    Let her go and she went back to her spot under the apple tree and looked funny!
  9. PippaP

    PippaP Hatching

    Jul 5, 2018
    Thank you Astrid, for starting this post.

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