|You are going to do what to me?! A bath?!|
Today we had unseasonably warm temperatures for January, which was wonderful since I needed to "poop scoop" my yard. I turned the hens loose for grazing and frolicking while I performed this chore, and everyone was enjoying themselves except my Americauna hen, Bluebelle. Blue had droopy wings, and just did not feel well. I checked her over and noticed she had what looked like blood coming from her vent and diarrhea all over her bottom. I had never given a chicken a bath, however with some tips from the friends on the Facebook page, I decided to try it.
I first filled the bathtub up to the chest level of the hen, with luke warm water. (I needed to make sure it was high enough to soak the debris off the feathers below the vent.) I used a very mild Aloe and Oatmeal shampoo for cats to wash her with, figuring cats are fairly sensitive and hoping if it was safe for them it would be safe for a chicken. (One reader suggested baby shampoo and she used it with great success, but I didn't have any of that.) I scrubbed her up and got all of the junk off her, and then I refilled the tub and rinsed her well. From there I put her on a towel in between my legs and dried her with my hair dryer. This took about 20 minutes. Then I bedded down a dog crate with towels and left her in the bathroom for several hours just to make sure she was good and dry before returning her to the coop.
This whole process went better than I thought it would, and I must say bathing a chicken was easier than bathing a dog! I think Bluebelle might have enjoyed having a bath. She never once flapped her wings to try to get out of the tub or get away from the hair dryer, and she was actually falling asleep towards the end of the drying.
I checked on her bum before returning her to the coop, and it actually looked a lot less irritated already. I think some of the other hens were pecking her, which is what caused all of the blood and combined with the poop issue, it was just a mess! I took a stool sample into the vet office to make sure she didn't have a coccidian infection, and she didn't, so I am hoping she will recover quickly. Fingers crossed!