Check if it’s a good day for cleaning your chickens.,
Prepare the washing containers (tubs).,
Pick the chicken you’re going to wash.,
Put the chicken in the first tub, slowly.,
Transfer each chicken to the second tub and gently plunge up and down again to get all of the soap off.
In the third tub, just make sure the vinegar water gets all over the chicken’s body.,
Dry your chicken!,
Trim their beaks and nails if needed.,
Dust with flea or lice powder to control any mites.This step isn’t necessary unless you have a mite problem.
If preparing for a show, consider rubbing Vaseline on the comb and wattles of each chicken, to bring out the red color.
Take the opportunity to clean out the coop.
Obviously, check the weather to ensure that it’s sunny and warm; you wouldn’t want to wash and get a poor chicken all wet in the cold weather!;
, Prepare three tubs; plastic trash cans work well, or feed buckets, or other similar items. When selecting a bathing container, ensure that the container is just wider than the chicken, but deep enough to be half full and still submerge each chicken entirely, except for the head. This keeps the bathwater from displacing and spilling over. A narrow container also restrains their flapping, which is important to reduce panic and mess.
In the first tub, pour Ivory Liquid or Liquid Castile Soap. Then pour in the water (so it gets nice and foamy.) Use warm or lukewarm water unless it is a very hot day. Adding 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax to the bath makes it more effective, especially if your chicken is light or white.
In the second tub, just pour plain old water. This is the tub where you rinse the bird.
In the third tub, pour in a mixture of vinegar and water. (2 cups of vinegar to a gallon/3.7 liters of water). You might also add a tablespoon of glycerin for an extra ‘poultry show shine’, but make sure the chicken doesn’t drink any, or it will be very embarrassing at the vet.
, This is the one that needs to be clean, or is the dirtiest.
, If they’ve never had a bath before, this tub is where they’ll freak out. By tub two, they will hopefully be too tired to struggle.
Gently agitate them up and down in a smooth plunging motion. Do not scrub or rub or you will break their feathers.
After they’re soaked through, pull them out and hold them with both hands over the tub to ‘drain’. They will have soaked up a surprising amount of water! If you have an assistant, this is a good time to have them use a washcloth to clean their feet while they are ‘draining’.
If the vent feathers are matted with poo, you may need to soak for a few minutes to dissolve it with light agitation of the water. Any scrubbing of matted feathers must be done with utmost care, and only in the direction of the feather tips. Be patient, as poo usually dissolves in warm soapy water.
Don’t leave the chicken unattended, at any stage! Poultry can drown easily, even in a small container, if they panic or misplace their footing. Always keep the head above the water.
,, This will make their feathers shinier.
, Drain them by holding them over the rinse tub until they mostly stop dripping.
If it is a warm day, you can towel-dry them carefully by putting a dry bath towel over them and pressing without rubbing – simply pat very gently. Do the same under each wing.
If it is cold, you’ll want to bring them inside and blow dry them completely on the lowest setting so the blow-back does not break and frizz the feathers. (Probably best not to tell your wife what you did with the blow dryer.)
Warning: This can smell a little funky. You’ll also want to keep your hand between the blower and the chicken at all times. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for the chicken.
, Do their beaks or nails need to be trimmed? If so, then start trimming! You’ll only want to file back obvious over-growth so it returns to a natural shape. On the nails, cut tiny bits at a time and watch the blood line! (That’s the little red line you may or may not be able to see in the nail.) If your chicken has dark nails, you’ll want to cut teeny little bits at a time. If the nail starts bleeding, dip it into a powdery substance, like flour or baking powder.
Roosters may need their spur nails trimmed and filed blunt to limit damage if they get into a fight with other roosters.
,,, Don’t return show-ready chickens to a dirty coop! Either clean it out or place them in clean cages in readiness for showing.