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Questions about bathing chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SusanD, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    My parents and I gave our chickens a partial soak today with my goal being to get some dried poop off their feathers and some dirt of their feet. I found that they liked the warm water [​IMG] I also found that it was hard to get the dried stuff off even after soaking them without pulling feathers off with it (my Dad who was helping me did not want to soak them very long, so maybe that was part of it) .

    How long do you soak before trying to remove dried poop (assuming that's the best method? And how necessary is it if the bird is otherwise fine?

    If you use a brush to clean their legs (which I haven't tried), do you go toward the feet or away from them?

    What would the purpose of adding soap or epsom salts to the water be? If you use eposom salts in the water, does the bird need to be rinsed off before you dry it?
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    A touch of soap will aid in removing dirt and poop. The birds should be rinsed after. If your brush the legs go with the scales, brush toward the feet. People use a touch of bluing whitener for white birds if going to show. Just a touch or it will tinge the feathers blue.

    Other than showing or wanting cleaner birds there is no real need to bath them. I provide an old wash bin under the coop (it's on stilts) that is filled with wood ash. Mine dust bath in that which aids in pest control. Yet to have a need for worm, flea or mite medication.
     
  3. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Letting them have poop stuck to their rears and feathers is ok? I haven't bathed mine yet but was thinking maybe it was time to; they take dust baths but it doesn't seem to be cleaning this part of them. So it doesn't cause any health issues? Have only had chickens one year and I was wondering also.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    It can cause serious problems, especially in warmer weather....search for 'fly strike'.

    If they are not preening themselves clean, there may be another problem that needs addressing.
    If a bird has constant loose/soft stool that sticks to the feathers, it could be indicative of an illness or need for a diet change.
    Some of the fluffier butted birds are more prone to dirtier butts.
    I've had to grab a dangler off a few, had to use scissors on a few too as I don't do chicken baths.
     
  5. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks aart, yeah, they have pretty fluffy butts.
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Fly strike on a bird? We must be talking about different levels of poop. In my flock at any given time one or two birds might have a streak of poo that will dry and flake off in a few days. I don't raise Cochin or English Orpington but do have more than average fluffy butts. It's a fault in this variety I'm working to get rid of.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Yep, have read a half dozen stories where it happened.
    No, not talking the streaks or a few dingle berries......
    .....but large soft poops that get stuck, or repeated loose poops that build up, close to skin during fly season.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  8. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. I should specify that I was talking about the odd piece (one or two) of dried poop. Also, one bird looked like she had some urate staining on her feathers. As best I can tell, it doesn't seem to have been at the level where flystrike would be an issue. They look pretty good now, but will have them checked if it looks like they are developing an issue.

    They are not show birds (they are hatchery stock, so I doubt they would meet breed standards). My goal with any grooming I do would be to prevent health issues, and also to keep them reasonably clean (I want to be able to be proud of them, not ashamed, if a poultry vet or a fellow chicken keeper were to see them). My parents made me second guess the whole giving them a bath thing, as they both think that chickens should be self grooming [​IMG]
     
  9. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi,

    I had a followup question to this. It looks like one of my birds is developing a messy behind again. I don't suspect vent gleet, because it isn't damp messy, more like dried. She is laying and pooping just find, so I don't suspect her of being blocked. Besides cleaning it up again, the other things I could think of to do would be to get her fecal tested, check for lice and mites (I'm not sure what I'm looking for, but will give it a try), and trim feathers. Is this a good reason to do fecal testing (i.e. If she had a worm or a bacterial issue would that cause this)? If not, do you have any advice on feather trimming?
     
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    Most of the time, runny poo is caused by worms.
    If your chickens have poop caking their feet, it's time to clean out their coop. The feet should not be messy, unless they are feather legged.
     

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