Sunday, April 17, 2011

And now for something completely different...

A brief respite from Arizona photos. They'll be back tomorrow. But today it's all about Chicky.

My hen Chicky, who was the "runt of the litter" and has always been dead last in the pecking order, has been looking very naked. Despite her protective saddle, her feathers have been worn down by the amorous roosters, and on top of that there seems to be some feather picking going on, as her neck is quite bald. Moult is also a distinct possibility. And some of her new feather shafts had been broken off and were bloody.

She was looking pretty scruffy, so I decided to give her a bath and  put her in the heated garage for a little spa vacation, along with her friend Anastasia. We rolled the chicken tractor in there yesterday and set things up. I think Chicky is stressed and I wanted to give her a break.

I had never bathed a chicken before but some of my other bloggy friends have given their feathered friends spa treatements, like Lauren's

I also watch this lovely video, which gave me the confidence to lather up Chicky!

So into the kitchen sink she went. And she was amazingly calm.  She seemed to enjoy the whole experience.

"And now for your relaxing shoulder massage! Would you like the hot stone and lavender oil treatment next?"

Not looking her best.

A very cooperative hen!

Now, before anyone gets in a tizzy, the toilet lid was down. I was not, as one friend suggested, multi-tasking here. I just closed myself in the downstairs bathroom to keep out curious cats.

She did not protest when I flipped her over and blow-dried her belly!

All done! Somewhat bald, but dry and fluffy. I found the whole experience surprisingly relaxing, as did Chicky. I noticed quite a lot of pinfeathers coming in, which gives me hope that things are improving.

And fear not, I bleached both sinks when I was finished. (Also I suspect there are fewer germs on Chicky than on the average grocery-store chicken thigh.)

Have a happy Sunday!


  1. This was a hoot Natalie. I even showed this one to Gary. Love the bathroom shot. I am learning so much from you. I really do hope I get to have a chicken coop some day. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x5

  2. I have never seen this before! Chicky looks so happy! You are an awesome chicken mama, Nat! Did you bath Anastasia, too? What kind of soap did you use? I cannot believe Chicky was relaxed during the blow dry! Amazing!

    I sent you an email last night to the email address listed in your blog profile.


  3. Deb, I just love mah chickens! I hope you get chickens yourself one day.

    Lynn, thanks for the email! You are so helpful. As for the bath, I only did Chicky. Her butt was a little dirty and she just wasn't looking too hot, so I thought she needed freshening up. Everyone told me chickens are really calm during baths and seem to enjoy it, and sure enough she did. I was very dubious until I tried it. I wouldn't bath them too often but I figure it's okay once in a while.

    I've read of people using various soaps but I just used a gentle pet shampoo I have for the dogs, and rinsed well.

    She didn't flap her wings or anything during this. I remember seeing somebody else's photos of chicken-bathing and their hen actually fell asleep during the bath!

  4. You're so kind to your chickens. I think a respite from the other chickens (including the excessively amorous roosters) will do Chickie some good.

  5. Gotta love that Chicky. You know I'm a huge fan!

  6. Anonymous11:26 am

    Ah, nothing beats a good spa treatment. I enjoyed this post very much. You've inspired me to have my own spa treatment ...

  7. Anonymous12:57 pm

    How am I going to recommend this post to my friends? Let's see, how about "She's a nice friendly blogger lady who washes her chicken in her sink then gives it a blow dry while sitting on the toilet"? Yeah that should do :)

  8. Chicky certainly looks as though she enjoyed her bath.
    When she was wet she looked like Road Runner!

  9. Ahab, I think the roosters need their own bachelor pad, and need start taking turns with the ladies!! Kind of like a polygamy thing.

    Ronna, I said to Gordon I should collect you a week's worth of Chicky eggs!

    WHy thank you Henry!

    CogDis, are you going to have a bath in the kitchen sink with pet shampoo? ;)

  10. Andrew, I bet your friends would visit my blog if you did. HAHAHA!

    LBM, you're right, she was channelling her inner Road Runner. :)

  11. You are awesome! Chicky was obviously in heaven throughout this bath experience.

    Wish you were on Twitter! I'm going to tweet this post, it's too adorable not too!

  12. I bet Chicky did love that. As a matter of fact, I need a spa day. Have any appointments? :)

  13. Pala, thank you! And I am finding it harder to resist the lure of Twitter... I may break down soon. :)

    Barbara, if you are content with bathing in my kitchen sink, my schedule is wide open! ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

  14. Anonymous2:43 pm

    That is one relaxed hen! Throw in a little Reiki and some Shiatsu and you can start your own retreat!

  15. I've wondered about bathing our hens. Now I know it can and has been done. Such a sweet chicken (and lucky to have you spoiling her).

  16. Spa day for Chicky! I think you are on to something.
    You know, all the other hens will wonder if she had "work" done!

  17. that was your nicest post nat...
    you big sweetie

  18. TTPT, I am thinking of opening a fowls-only spa! :)

    Johnna, I was very dubious but a good time was had by all.

    Elisabeth, they won't know her when she returns to the coop. But I'm sure the roosters will be on her like flies on ... something disgusting. :)

    Oooh, thank you John. I like my chickens to be happy. Now to conquer the damn leg mites!

  19. Anonymous10:19 pm

    I think it's very sweet that you did such a nice thing for Chicky. :o)

  20. Thank you Helen! She is pack with her pals now and seems happy, not to mention noticeably fluffier. ;)


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!