Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If You Give a Chicken a Bath...

...they're cleaner. At least for awhile!  This morning, when I went to let the chickens out, I noticed that Layla, one of the Buff Orpingtons, had a pretty yucky poopy butt. I wasn't sure she would clean herself quite as much as she needed to, so I decided to help her out.

Thoughts went through my head akin to the experience of giving a cat a bath. All sorts of horror stories abound in regard to that, although we have several cats who don't mind baths at all. I just couldn't picture how a chicken would react to this. But there was only one way to find out.

I ran several inches of warm water in the bottom of our tub, grabbed an old bath towel and headed out to the coop. It was later in the day and I hoped they would all be in the coop, making it easier to scoop Layla up, but they were still out in the run. I opened the door and Layla was the first one to head out, making her easy to catch. I wrapped the towel around her and took her to the house.

The inside cats didn't know what to think as I walked through the house with a big bird that was making quiet little chicken sounds. Layla seemed content in my arms and when I unwrapped her and put her in the tub, she had no reaction at all. So I started using the warm water (no soap) to clean her butt and before long, she was all clean again.

I towel-dried her and used the blow dryer on low to dry her feathers as well as I could. She seemed to want to sit in my lap the entire time, so even after I got her pretty well dry, we just sat on the floor there - Layla and me - sharing precious chicken moments.

I took her back out to the coop, I spread fresh, dry pine shavings all over the floor of the coop and in the nesting boxes and she promptly hopped up on the roosting bar for the night, with her girlfriends. The whole thing was really uneventful, except for the cooing, which was just sweet - like Layla.


Erin @ The Impatient Gardener said...

Awwwww ... precious chicken moments! :)

meemsnyc said...

Oh my goodness, that is the sweetest thing ever! How wonderful that she let you give her a bath with no fuss! Completely adorable.

Kylee Baumle said...

Erin ~ I know! Who would have ever thought it possible?

Kylee Baumle said...

meemsnyc ~ She really was. I think she felt really special. :-)

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Well I'll be... what a darling little gal. I love how you described her clucking and cooing to you. Like you said, it was a precious chicken moment.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Julie Kroske said...

You are so cute! I don't think I would have thought if giving the girls a bath! I'll bet you will get a jumbo egg of thanks form her! Love you,hubby and the feathered girls!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Was that you doing the cooing over your clean birdie?? ;) She was probably thrilled that she didn't end up in a pot of water with a bunch of noodles.

Lea said...

A sweet story!
Have a great day!
Lea's Menagerie

Sarah said...

Your chickens are lucky...I love to see how gentle and kind we humans can be :)

Unknown said...

So sweet, Kylee. Thank you for sharing your precious chicken moment. :)

nicole said...

We raise Black Australorp chickens and Red Wattler Pigs. We have had a few girls get all muddy in the pig wallers and have had to give them a bath outside with warm water-my hubby holding them and me rinsing and rubbing them. They always seem to appreciate the clean feathers....love your blog!!!

Kylee Baumle said...

Cindy ~ It was! I was so surprised at how "affectionate" she was when I had her there in the bathroom. She just wanted to stay in my lap. It was so cute.

Julie ~ I wouldn't have thought of it either, but I'd read in my chicken group on Facebook about how others have done it. It was actually kind of fun. :-)

Lisa ~ I will admit to talking to her... ;-)

Lea ~ It turned out better than I thought it might!

Indiana Country ~ They feed me every day, and I'm grateful, so it's easy to be nice to them! They really are amazing creatures.

Lauren ~ It was an act of love. :-)

nicole ~ Oh, I imagine you DO have some times when they get pretty messy! Thank you! Glad to have you as a reader!

Aimee said...

Just incredible! I am always amazed at how animals sometimes choose to just trust us. It's so wonderful that she let you bathe her and didn't cause any fuss about it. What a reward after it all to just be able to sit with her and hold her. It must have been a treat for her too. ;)

1st Man said...

Who knew?? Awesome story and pics. I have to ask, are your chickens handled regularly from an early age so that they are used to it? We want to have chickens (for egg layers) eventually at our farm but I was just wondering how to make them more tame? Seems like all the chickens I've been around run away when I want to pick them up. Any advice??

Val at The Illustrated Garden said...

What a beautiful hen... and a beautiful story, too!

Commonweeder said...

I never would have thought of such a thing. What a good chicken mama you are. And such a well behaved chicken.

Kylee Baumle said...

Aimee ~ You are exactly right. Why DO they trust us? Here's what I choose to believe about that. There are domesticated animals and there are those that no matter what we do, they will eventually revert to their wild ways. I think God made it that way - for food, for companionship, for protection, just to name a few reasons. I've not thought far enough into that to figure out why all animals can't be totally domesticated. Doesn't really matter, but I think He made it that way for a reason. I know there are those that don't agree on this, but that's okay. It works for me. :-)

1st Man ~ Yes, we got them as less-than-two-weeks-old chicks last May. They were handled nearly every day before they were put into the coop at about six weeks. When I go out to the coop and let them out into the run, they will come up to the fence or up to me when I'm in the run, but only a few will let me pick them up. Violet is by far the most friendly. Layla is second. They will squat when I lean down to pick them up, which is a sign of submission. So that's one thing.

The other thing is the type of chicken we have. When we decided to get layers, I had three requirements:
1. cold hardy
2. good layers
3. nice temperament (meaning calm)

That's why we got Buff Orpingtons (just sweet as can be) and Silver Laced Wyandottes. Good luck with your chickens (when you get them)!

Val ~ Thank you! I can't remember if I've seen where you've done illustrations of hens in your sketchbook (I'll have to look!), but I can imagine how beautiful your illustrations would be of them! <3

Pat ~ I never thought I'd actually love my chickens! Yes, those Buffs are really sweet!

Kelly said...

Hi Kylee. I'm a chicken lover too. We have 3 Buff Orpington hens, and 3 tiny Buff Orpington babies. My girls sometimes get poopy butts as well. I suppose it's bound to happen when that have such fluffy fuzzy butts! ;)

Please feel free to check out my chicken blog at: http://ourcountrychronicles.blogspot.com/

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