How to remove tar from a chicken?


10 Years
Jun 9, 2009

Yesterday I rescued a hen from the ditch by my house. I have no idea how it got there, but I couldn't leave the poor thing there!

I think it was hit by a car, and it looked like its head and comb had blood crusted on it. I relocated it to an old dog kennel and set out some cracked corn and water to see if she'd make it through the night, and she did.

What looked like blood now appears to be road tar. I tried to wash it off with a little water, but it isn't thinning or washing off.

So, my rather odd question is this: How do I remove tar from a chicken?

I've found a lot of helpful advice today on this forum, and I guess I'm in need of some more.

Thanks in advance!

Oh, that's so nice of you to help her! You know how much we all love pics... *cough cough*
I think you could try dish soap, the grease-cutting kind, but I don't know. Good luck with her.

Funny. I was taking the camera outside as you were posting your reply

The thumbnail should be clickable.

I originally thought she'd lost an eye, but it was just tarred shut. I picked the tar out of her eye and she decided to thank me by strutting around her cage trying to hide from the camera!

Oh, and thanks for taking what probably *sounded* like a prank post seriously!

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What a wonderful rescue! Just when I think the world has gone to Hell someone like you comes along and reaffirms my faith. I'm not an expert but I would think that the tar will eventually slough off when new skin is created and the old skin attached to the tar falls off. Another thing you could try is rubbing it with baby oil on a cotton ball. The cotton ball stays soaked with the baby oil while a paper towel just soaks it up and it's not as effective. You could also try a Q-tip. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
I found this online - I dont know if you can use it on their combs or not, but you can call the number below to find out.

CITRA-SOLV natural cleaner and degreaser is a concentrated solvent made of citrus oils, surfactants, and limonene (from citrus peel oil) that safely cleans chewing gum, ink, oil, grease, tar, gummed labels, and even sticky fly paper "goo". It is the only solvent safe for use on bird feathers, but it should be removed after it does its work. Using your thumb and first finger, rub a few drops of the Citra-solv thoroughly into the sticky goo or grease on the feathers. Remove it with a washcloth. Then rub Dawn liquid detergent into the feathers. It is crucial NOT to add water until straight detergent has been worked into the feathers. ONLY after you have thoroughly worked the detergent into the feathers should you add warm water. This also applies to cleaning grease from feathers. If you cannot locate a source of Citra-solv, call the distributor at (800) 343-6588 from 9-5 EST.

Hope this helps!
Try a little nail polish remover on a cotton ball or swab. It sounds horrible but it will work and wont harm the animal. The acetone in the nail polish remover will evaporate very fast.
Thanks for the great & timely advice, all.

I did some more searching on the net, and I found a similar post on.... BYC!

Someone suggested an orange cleaner to remove pine tar, and from what I can see it should be safe. (Unless chickens are allergic to vitamin C

Honestly, though, the tar has hardened, so I think I'll just wait and see if any odd behavior/symptoms develop before doing anything.

Now I guess I'll post on the rest of her injuries

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