Do You Have To Give Chickens Baths?

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Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 21 July 2020


You have to give your dogs and cats a bath, otherwise you might have some fowl smelling animals wandering about your house...but what about your chickens? Do they need to be bathed like our other household pets?

The answer is generally no, unless you see they are really, really dirty, and no amount of dust bathing will amend the situation!

Chickens keep themselves clean by dust bathing, which seems a little contradictory - but it really does work a treat!

When chickens start to feel a little bit dirty or gritty, they will dig a shallow ditch (in soil, mulch, sand, or other dry, loose materials), in which they will burrow and throw the dirt over themselves. They will do this until the dirt has coated their feathers and is settled down to their skin- where it is believed to absorb excess moisture and oil, and clog the breathing pores of parasites that may have found their way onto your chicken. They will then stand up and shake out all the dirt- so be sure to be standing away from the action, then proceed to preen themselves before getting on with their usual chicken business. Read more about this important hygiene ritual in this article.

Generally, chickens can stay clean simply by dust bathing, but in some cases your chickens may appear so filthy that this won’t cut it. So, if this is the case, you may have to give your chickens a quick rinse and repeat!

How to bathe your chickens:

Bathing a chicken is just like bathing any other pet. They may or may not like getting wet and may try to flap on out of the tub, but once you “get your feet wet” by giving a hen a bath, you’ll soon get the hang of it!

  1. Simply fill a utility tub with soothing warm water and holding the chook with both hands, dip her into the water gently splashing water onto her feathers to wet her.

  1. Using baby shampoo, a mild soap such as Ivory, or a pet shampoo, lather her up, rinse and wrap in an old clean towel and dry. Or if you prefer,you can add the soap to the water first.

  1. Some people even use a blow dryer to dry their girls giving them the whole spa treatment!

It’s as simple as that - your chicken will be back to her squeaky clean self in no time. For more tips on keeping your chickens at the height of hygiene, check out our Grooming and Maintenance article.

In order for them to stay clean, it’s important that your chickens have an area in the coop (if they’re in the run full time) in which to dust bathe - so if you get a Taj Mahal, Penthouse or Mansion, dig up a little dirt for them to splash around in!

From hygiene to healthy diets, we all want to do an eggcellent job when caring for our feathered friends. It's essential that you've got the right knowledge you need to raise happy, healthy chooks. Did you know 67% of chicken keepers surveyed experienced a chicken health or behaviour issue in the first 12 months that they didn’t know how to handle?

But don’t worry! Our feathered friends over at Chickenpedia have created a Chicken Healthcare Course. It is a comprehensive online course that includes everything you need, including what to look for in an unhealthy chicken and how to support your egg-laying hens to optimal health. All of their courses are really well structured and filled with vital information, which is why I highly recommend them to all of my readers! From raising baby chicks to feeding to behavior, you’ll find valuable information that’ll give you the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens.

Check out Chickenpedia today. As a member, you will also get access to the ALL of their chicken courses!

Sources and further reading