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Why Bathe A Chicken?

The most common predicament requiring a bath involves poop. Either a bird poops on another bird from a higher roost or a bird’s vent feathers become caked with droppings due to diarrhea. Less common reasons for bathing a chicken include:

  • injury: in order to assess a bird’s condition and clean its wounds
  • skunked: being sprayed by a skunk, which requires special de-skunking solutions
  • sickness: to help an ill bird maintain its own hygiene, which it may not be able to do via ordinary dust bathing

When I give my dog a bath, she gets the head-to-toe treatment, but chickens can be spot-bathed more often than not. For example, if the vent feathers are filthy, I only wash that area.

Chickens spend a great deal of time arranging and conditioning their feathers with oil from their uropygial gland, aka preen gland or oil gland. Feathers are better left unstripped of these natural oils if possible. However, in some cases, a summer bath is a necessity.

Supplies You’ll Need

Before you get started, you’ll need the following supplies.

  • several towels
  • rubber shelf liner
  • gloves
  • apron
  • baby shampoo
  • large cup
  • a nail brush (if feet are implicated)
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