Saturday, May 19, 2012

A bath for Sugar

Well, it certainly wasn't on my list of things to do today.  Give a chicken a bath, that is.

I came home after the gym and went out to collect eggs and found one smashed in a nest.  It didn't look pecked and eaten, it was clearly smashed.  I had my suspicions on who it was but before I went checking for sticky chickens, I got a big tub out and filled it with warm soapy water.

Thank goodness I've read enough other blogs about giving chickens a bath and had the foresight to keep a bottle of Dawn in the back of the cupboard.

The whole time I was gathering my supplies Sugar kept coming into the door of the garage and looking up at me with this face.  This face that said, "Mom, something's wrong.  Mom, will you make it all better, please?"

So I filled up my tub with luke warm soapy water and went to go pick up Sugar.  She does not like to be held.  Never has.  And I've never pushed it with her.  I don't want to upset her.  So I knew something was amiss when she just stood there.  I reached down and felt her tummy and yep.  All sticky and gooey.  So into the tub she went.  And she really didn't protest.

At one point she slipped and then she protested.  So I'd definitely add a little rubber mat to the tub next time.  But I didn't want to risk leaving her there so I just her her up with one arm and rubbed her belly till she was clean.  A quick rinse and on to the drying cycle.

I'm surprised that the noise from a hair dryer doesn't freak out chickens.  But it doesn't.  She stood there with no protest while I dried her.  Getting the tummy is tough.  It would have helped if she'd lay on her side.  But I didn't want to push it with her.  So I just dried her the best I could and then took her outside.  But not before a little hand fed treat for being such a good patient.

It was nice and warm today and she finished drying in no time out back with her sisters.  I checked her about a half hour later before I put them back into their run.  I didn't want her heading for her favorite dust bathing hole with a damp tummy.

I wish I had photos to share but hadn't planned on giving a chicken a bath today.  And while giving a chicken a bath can easily be a one person job, getting photos of the event, unless you have a hen who you trust will stay put in a tub of water while you back away, well, getting photos will require a second person.

I hope this was a isolated, random event.  Not sure if the egg was thin shelled or why it broke in the first place.  They do seem to eat more oyster shells than I think hens on layer rations should eat.  I know I'm guilty of doling out too many treats.  I suppose that could be a possible issue.  But I guess we'll just have to wait and see on this one.


  1. When I was showing I gave lots of baths. Most were fine, but Noel liked it too much. She had to have her head held above water, because would go to sleep everytime.

  2. Good for you! So glad to hear that she cooperated pretty well for her first time :)