How to keep chicken poop off feathers?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ChickenDizzle, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. ChickenDizzle

    ChickenDizzle New Egg

    Dec 2, 2012
    Hey everyone,

    So I've been a backyard chicken owner now for almost a year - it's going fantastic and I absolutely love it! Anyways, I have 1 question about keeping chickens looking good and (relatively) clean. Specifically, I'd like to know how to bathe a chicken and also any tricks to keep poop from sticking to the feathers on their booties? I heard mention of baby powder but was wondering of how that works (where to apply, how often, other miscellaneous info about such things...). I'm sorry for any repeat info from another thread this may cause, I searched for some time in the forums but couldn't find a "How To" post or advice anywhere!

    Thanks, everyone!

    P.S. in case there's some breed-specific info, this advice is for use on my white Silkie.
  2. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    First, [​IMG]

    I am pretty sure that bathing instructions can be found on this site. Silkies are a little different, as many use a hair dryer on their plumage, but other than that they are the same.

    In general, the procedure is:
    1. 3-4 tubs of warm water, 90-95 degrees, deep enough to submerge the bird's back, but not any deeper.
    2. First tub use a mild shampoo. For white birds we use a dog shampoo meant for white dogs, but I am not sure it really makes a difference. Get the feathers soaked, clean, legs and feet, too. Be prepared for a puzzled look on their faces. I call it the "We are NOT ducks" look.
    3. Second tub, clear water for rinsing. Rinse really well.
    4. Third tub, water with 1/2 cup vinegar. This helps strip out the remaining soap residue.
    5. Some people use a fourth tub that has water with a bit of glycerin in it. This helps restore some of the protective coating on the feathers. We have never done this.
    6. Then pat dry with a towel. You will not get them very dry. If it is not a real warm day we will put our wet birds under a heat lamp for a few hours. However, it is best to avoid that and do this in Summer. Make sure that they are not in a draft.
    7. If you have one of those "fancy" birds [​IMG], fluff them up with a blow dryer set on very low.

    Now, if you do not use a hair dryer it takes 24 hours for the chicken to be completely dry. Also, you do not want to do this too often, as it tends to take the oils off of the feathers. It takes 2-3 days for the chicken to distribute the oil from their oil gland back to their feathers.

    BTW, it is great fun. Quite the spectacle. People seem to like watching it (we work in a museum where we washed their hens this summer. Kids love it.)

    Now, keeping a white bird clean and white? I would like that answer as well [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  3. ChickenDizzle

    ChickenDizzle New Egg

    Dec 2, 2012
    Thank you! I'm sure it's all over this website, but my keyword searches were not pulling up anything [​IMG]

    So, has anyone heard about some trick with baby powder? I thought maybe it's to place baby powder on the feathers which get hit by the droppings (or maybe not?), and/or do you put some around the "place where the sun don't shine"? Thanks again, all!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012

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