How To Bathe a Hen

You can have chickens for years and never have to bathe a hen, but once in awhile a hen really needs a bath. Maybe she has manure stuck to her vent, or had lice and the feathers need cleaning, or you purchased a hen that arrives smelly and dirty and you want to clean her up before adding her to the flock. I’ve made a video to show you how to bathe a hen (and blow-dry!) Here it is:


  1. OMG, my hens would not stand for that! I been working for months at getting them comfortable being picked up, but they still resist mightily. Even if I give them treats. I started with 12 week old pullets though. Next time I’ll get chicks so that they get used to being handled very early on.

    • Scott- Some of my chickens I got full-grown and I can handle all like this. Chickens don’t like being picked up (they’re hard-wired to think of that action as coming from a predator) but once in your arms they should calm. Do you ever simply sit on a low stool in their pen? Toss treats and let them come to you. That said, if you got them all from one breeder it might just be their bloodline. Some hens are naturally more aggressive, some more prone to shyness, etc. Keep trying!

      • Thanks for the suggestions! I do sit down on the ground with treats, but not it the pen. I regret not making the pen human height. The older Australorps will settle down after a while if I hold them. One closed her eyes to nap a little the other day after about 10 minutes in my lap. The two younger hens just started laying and won’t let me get close at all. They grab and run when I’m giving treats. I’m going to keep working with them.

        Thanks for the videos! Us newbie chicken keepers sure do enjoy them.

  2. I don’t even have a hen, and I loved watching you bathe yours. Wonder if that procedure works for cats as well?

  3. Seems as if you’re pushing your luck to be wearing a watch during this procedure, but then again you know your hens “like the back of your hand”. They must really trust you to be so docile and not flap around. The children and librarians will adore you and Betsey when you visit them. They will remember and treasure the care and respect you have for these beautiful creatures.