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Home Learning Center How To How To Wash A Chicken
How To Wash A Chicken
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How to Wash a Chicken

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Washing a chicken is necessary so that it will look it's best when in a show. If you've never heard of washing a chicken, don't worry. Just read this article and follow the steps on how to wash your chicken!


  1. Prepare the tubs! Obviously, you want to check the weather to see if it's good to wash the chicken outside or inside; you wouldn't want to wash and get a poor chicken all wet in the cold weather! You're going to prepare 3 tubs; plastic trash cans work well. You'll want it just wider than the chicken, but deep enough to be half full and still submerge them entirely, except for the head. This keeps the bath water from displacing and spilling over. A narrow container also restrains their flapping.
    • In the first tub, you pour Ivory Liquid or Liquid Castile Soap or cat shampoo if your chicken has mites or fleas. Then pour in the water (so it gets nice and foamy.) Use warm or lukewarm water unless it is a very hot day. Adding 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax to the bath makes it more effective, especially if your chicken is light or white.
    • In the second tub, just pour plain old water. This is the tub where you rinse the bird. Don't be afraid to add a dab of bleach (half a teaspoon per gallon). Really. This also helps control mites.
    • In the third tub, pour in a mixture of vinegar and water. (2 cups of vinegar to a gallon of water). You might also add a tablespoon of glycerin for an extra 'poultry show shine'.
  2. Pick the chicken you're going to wash. This is the one that needs to be clean, or is the dirtiest.
  3. Put the chicken in the first tub, slowly. If they've never had a bath before, this tub is where they'll freak out. By tub two, they will hopefully be too tired to struggle. Gently agitate them up and down in a gentle plunging motion. Do not scrub or rub or you will break their feathers. After they're soaked through, pull them out and hold them over the tub to 'drain'. They will have soaked up a surprising amount of water! If you have an assistant, this is a good time to have them use a washcloth to clean their feet while they are 'draining'. If the vent feathers are matted with poo, you may need to soak for a few minutes to dissolve it with light agitation of the water. Any scrubbing of matted feathers must be done with utmost care, and only in the direction of the feather tips. Be patient, as poo usually dissolves in warm soapy water. Don't leave chicken unattended! Always keep the head above the water, because chickens are not the smartest animals and can easily drown.
  4. Transfer them to the second tub and gently plunge up and down again to get all of the soap off.
  5. In the third tub, just make sure the vinegar water gets all over their body. This will make their feathers shinier.
  6. Dry your chicken! Drain them by holding them over the rinse tub until they mostly stop dripping. If it is a warm day, you can towel-dry them carefully by putting a dry bath towel over them and pressing without rubbing. Do the same under each wing. If it is cold, you'll want to bring them inside and blow dry them completely on the lowest setting so the blow-back does not break and frizz the feathers. (Best not tell the wife what you did with the blow dryer.)Warning: This can smell a little funky. You'll also want to keep your hand between the blower and the chicken. If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for the chicken.
  7. Trim their beaks and nails if needed. Do their beaks or nails need to be trimmed? If so, then start trimming! You'll only want to file back obvious over-growth so it returns to a natural shape. On the nails, cut tiny bits at a time and watch the blood line! (That's the little red line you may or may not be able to see in the nail.) If your chicken has dark nails, you'll want to cut teeny little bits at a time. If the nail starts bleeding, dip it into a powdery substance, like flour or baking powder. Roosters may need their spur nails trimmed and filed blunt to limit damage if they get into a fight with other roosters.


  • Don't hesitate to invite your friends to watch. It promises to be entertaining for all.
  • A toothpick can be used to clean out the scales on the bird's legs. Don't be afraid to dig, the bird will tell you if you're going too deep. Occasionally whitish looking scales will come off (A dead/old scale). Doesn't the scale underneath look all clean and shiny? A fingernail brush works well for this too.
  • If it's a show you're washing them for, you may want to bring a rag or little towel if they suddenly get dirty. Also bring a water bottle with vinegar water to help quick clean the chicken.


  • If you see the chicken stick its head up high, it is looking where to fly! If you're willing to take the risk of becoming wetter, clamp the bird's wings to its body (with your hands, of course- silly you!). If not, back away!
  • Whatever you do, do NOT let the chicken put it's head down, it is very possible that it will drown; the water fills the breathing passages and disorientates the bird. This is where you will be glad you invited your friends over: They can hold the head up while you do the bathing. (They may not be so glad, however.)

Things You'll Need

  • A dirty chicken
  • 3 kitchen trash cans for wash tubs
  • Ivory Liquid dish detergent or Flea Removing Cat Shampoo (First tub).
  • 20 Mule Team Borax (optional).
  • Luke warm water (all three tubs, especially second tub)
  • Bleach (optional, second tub)
  • Glycerin (optional, third tub)
  • White Vinegar (third tub)
  • Nail trimmers (use one meant for a human baby or a small dog) (use only if necessary)
  • Old bath towel
  • Hair dryer (if the chicken is shivering)
  • Toothpick or fingernail brush (optional, see tips)
  • Pen to put clean chicken in until fully dry so it won't go for a nice dust bath and become a mud-ball.
  • Friends or spouse with a good sense of humor. Remember, there is a reason for the saying: "Mad as a wet hen."

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Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Wash a Chicken. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.