Washing a Chicken

by Bo
(Mcdonough GA)


Warts on Legs: How many times a week should a chicken get washed?

There are a few good reasons for washing a chicken. Most common is a show bird that is about to be exhibited. There are show bird shampoos made for chickens.

The next reason is if they have gotten abnormally dirty; got into something muddy, greasy or toxic that should be removed as soon as possible.

Bathing might also be called for if you find lice or fleas, but the usual treatment is a dry powder or oral medication.

If a chicken has trouble with diarrhea their vent area can become too dirty for them to clean. In the summer, caked feces can attract flies that will lay eggs in the feces.

The vent area feathers could be carefully clipped, but bathing won’t hurt as long as the bird stays warm until thoroughly dry.

Chickens actually love “dust (dirt) baths”. It’s like dry powdered shampoos for people and animals. The dust absorbs excess oils and can deter skin parasites.

Healthy happy chickens need dust baths, so to wash them often would work against this instinct. Grooming themselves after a
dust bath is a great source of natural minerals from the soil.

Chickens also have an oil gland near the base of their tail. They work this oil through their feathers to keep them water resistant and

Most species of birds do this. Washing often will remove too much of this natural oil and poorly conditioned feathers won’t keep them warm or very dry in winter and wet months.

I can think of one other reason you might want to wash a chicken often. If the chicken is a pet and you spend a lot of time together,

I could understand keeping it much cleaner than a barn yard chicken. (I had a friend with a Silky rooster that came in her house every night and roosted on a parrot stand in the living room.)

If you choose to bathe your chicken often, find a mild, pH balanced formula, made for chickens and use the smallest amount. Dry skin on a chicken can cause ingrown feathers and discomfort.

If you purchase a chicken or rescue one that has been in dirty conditions a good bath is a great way to go. I usually find a tub about as tall as the chicken and fill it half way with nice warm soapy (shampoo) water.

If I have a chicken with dirty legs, feet or butt, I place a wire top on the tub and weigh it down to hold it in place, and let them soak for about 10 minutes.

This will loosen most clods of mud or feces. Rinse well with nice warm water, bundle them up in a towel to absorb excess water.

If it’s a nice day I just put them in a small cage in the sun and let them groom themselves dry about an hour. But when cold I have used a blow dryer on low heat.

If their environment is kept clean and dry, no baths are usually needed.

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Wash a Chicken

by Lisa Wray
(Jefferson, Georgia, United States)

Wash a Chicken: We rescued 2 chickens who escaped from a nearby chicken house, they are our pets now,but their behinds are filthy.

We have read ways to wash them in 3 different buckets with soap, bleach and vinegar. Is this really safe? I have just bought 2 silky bantams (1 week old).

I want to make sure in the next several weeks that the older chickens are healthy before I mix them together.


Set-up. If the weather conditions are too cold do this project indoors. Start by getting 3 containers, plastic trash cans work well.

You want to be able to fill them half way with water. The trash cans need to be large enough to be able to dip the chicken in the container without submerging it's head.

Find a mild shampoo like Ivory liquid soap or a cat shampoo if your chicken has fleas. Fill the first container with warm water and add shampoo.

Fill the second tube with lukewarm water. This will be the container used for rinsing. Adding a half of teaspoon of bleach per gallon will help control mites.

In the third container mix 2 cups of vinegar to every 1 gallon of water.

The Wash Never leave the chicken alone and remember to keep his head above the water. Do not scrub the feathers. We start by holding the chicken and putting it into the first container.

Gently move the chicken up and down. The soapy water should dissolve all the poop. Keep the process up until you feel your chicken is clean. Pull the chicken out of the water and let him drain.

The Rinse. Once you drain the soapy chicken use the same process to rinse him that you did in the first container.

The Finish. Dip your chicken in the vinegar water and drain.

Dry Your Chicken Once you drain your chicken take a towel and pat dry. Do not scrub the chicken this can damage feathers. If you are doing this inside because of cold weather you can use a blow dryer set on the lowest setting.

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