will chickens use a bird bath

Chickens do not ordinarily need bathing, they maintain their personal hygiene by dust-bathing, which essentially involves rolling in dirt. At the end of a dust bath, the dirt is shaken off and the chicken proceeds to preen and groom its feathers back into place. But there are times when an especially filthy bird will need a bath. Bathing a chicken is a lot like bathing an infant or a dog- the most important thing is to prevent drowning while accomplishing the objective with reasonable speed and a minimum of crying.This article addresses the basics of bathing backyard chickens, not bathing show chickens in preparation for a show.Chickens dust bathing in sand. Blue Ameraucana hen bathing in kitchen sinkBlue Ameraucana hen

So, when might chickens need a bath? The most common predicament requiring a bath involves poop: either one bird poops on another from a higher roost or a chicken’s vent feathers become soiled with droppings.

Silver Spangled Hamburg chicken with droppings on vent feathers getting a bathSilver Spangled Hamburg chicken in dire need of a bath

Fortunately, there are some excellent tips on the blog I provided above for keeping chickens cool during the summer heat. Below, I’ve bolded their advice and added my own analysis of how it will apply to me:

It seems silly, but I’ve been worrying about my chickens getting too hot in Michigan for a while. I’m frequently asked about raising hens in our harsh winters, but no one ever considers asking if they’ll survive 90 degree heat and high humidity. The body functions best in chickens below 75 degrees Fahrenheit; above 90 degrees, especially in heavier breeds, they can begin to have serious issues. On the extreme end of the spectrum, they can pass away from heat stress and cease to lay eggs. The chicks had only been here for a week when we had an incident. It was early March, the weather in strange Michigan zoomed up to the high 80s, the chicks were tiny and living in a brooder box under a heat lamp. When I got home from work, the baby chicks were lying down in the brooder box with their wings spread and panting. That probably left me scarred, and ever since then, I’ve been terrified of extreme temperatures.

With these suggestions in hand, I’m hoping that our “too hot” incident won’t happen again. I’ll be alert for symptoms of heat stress all summer long.

Although my dog receives the full spa treatment when I give her a bath, chickens can typically just receive spot cleanings. For instance, I only wash the butt area if the vent feathers are dirty. The reason for this is that bathing can deprive chickens of the benefits of their labor-intensive process of arranging and conditioning their feathers with oil from their uropygial gland.

So when might a chicken need a bath? The most frequent situation that calls for a bath involves excrement: either a bird from a higher roost poop on another, or a chicken’s vent feathers get dirty from droppings.

Silver Spangled Hamburg chicken with droppings on vent feathers getting a bathSilver Spangled Hamburg chicken in dire need of a bath

SCRUB-A-DUB-DUB A bathtub or a sink with a sprayer nozzle works well for giving my chickens a bath, but two big basins will do as well—one for washing and another for rinsing. To stop slippage, place a rubber shelf liner strip at the bottom of the tub. Run lukewarm water into the tub. Initially, there will be resistance and flapping from a chicken because bathing in water is not something that it naturally enjoys doing. Place one hand on the bird’s wings at all times to hold it firmly, and then carefully lower it into the tub.

Chickens do not ordinarily need bathing, they maintain their personal hygiene by dust-bathing, which essentially involves rolling in dirt. At the end of a dust bath, the dirt is shaken off and the chicken proceeds to preen and groom its feathers back into place. But there are times when an especially filthy bird will need a bath. Bathing a chicken is a lot like bathing an infant or a dog- the most important thing is to prevent drowning while accomplishing the objective with reasonable speed and a minimum of crying.This article addresses the basics of bathing backyard chickens, not bathing show chickens in preparation for a show.Chickens dust bathing in sand. Blue Ameraucana hen bathing in kitchen sinkBlue Ameraucana hen

FAQ

Will chickens drink from a fountain?

Yep, we purchased a chicken fountain and installed that bad boy last weekend. The chickens are happy with their fresh water all day long and we’re happy not having to do battle with that darn hose anymore.

How often do chickens need a bath?

Generally speaking, no. Chickens don’t need baths. However, if they do get something stuck in their feathers that they are not preening out, you can choose to bathe them. You may be especially interested in this if you want to show your chickens at a poultry exhibition.

Why won’t birds come to my birdbath?

Give Your Birds Perching Spots Some bird baths are deep, which isn’t really appealing to songbirds. Just an inch or two works best. If you happen to have a deeper bird bath, you can make it more appealing by adding in a few rocks in the middle or along the edges.