Buffy’s Spa Day

Buffy was looking even more poorly than usual. She could stand upright, but had no strength in her legs: I went to help her move from one spot to another and she tipped over. This weakness prevented her from keeping herself tidy, as she doesn’t have the balance to groom herself. I picked her up and found two balls of manure stuck under her wings.

manure on thighs

Buff Orpingtons, with their layers of feathers, hard on top and fluffy under, can hide such yuckiness. Along with that mess, Buffy has always had vent gleet, but lately I’ve also seen vile yellow/green/white liquid poo streaming out of her (a very bad sign.) It was time for a bath, and as long as she was getting cleaned up, I decided to make it a Spa Day.

First, I used scissors to cut off the manure, both what was stuck on her thighs and by her vent. I checked for lice and was surprised that there wasn’t an infestation, which shows that Buffy has been well enough to dust bathe.

trimming vent

Next, I set her in a tub of warm sudsy water and gently washed her bottom. I left her back alone, as that was clean enough. I cleaned her up as best I could.

in bath


Then I rinsed off the suds (the water in the hose was comfortably warm from the sun.)



Next came a soak in a warm epsom salt bath. Epsom salts have many curative powers, and soothe irritated skin.

epsom salt


Of course, a girl needs a pedicure at the spa. Because old hens don’t scratch vigorously in the dirt their nails don’t wear down. A trim once in awhile allows them to walk more easily. I use a dog nail clipper.



Then I patted her dry in a towel.



Blew her somewhat dry,

blow dry


And put her on the lawn to let the sun finish the job.



During this cleanup, I was very concerned to see white bubbles in Buffy’s left eye.



Usually such foam in an eye is a sign of respiratory illness and can have dire consequences for the entire flock. But this is Buffy, who is on her tenth life. She was showing no signs of breathing difficulties, and the bubbles came and went. When in doubt, always isolate and observe. I put her in the sick coop,



where Buffy happily ate up an entire bowl of laying hen feed. Truly sick chickens don’t eat. And then she pooped big normal poops. And then she had a nice rest. By evening, the eyes looked clear and Buffy was (yet again) rejuvenated and joined her flock.

Buffy is one tenacious hen.



  1. Hope Buffy has a sunny, happy day today. We called our Infirmary for our sick chicken the “Hen-firmary”.

  2. You sure ARE a true Chicken Mama ;-) !!!
    Buffy probably had a greater spa day than I ever had …
    I’m glad that there are people like you who
    don’t care about productivity or convenience
    but treat life in its (chicken) forms respectful!

  3. Please write another childrens book all about Buffy’s spa day. My grandchildren would love another chicken book!
    I think it would be a hit!

  4. Edwina has been stepping on Buffy’s head and pecking her almost daily. Maybe the eye problem was caused by this head pecking. She is a trooper and what a wonderful caregiver she has! She looked like she enjoyed the entire process!

  5. Thank you for loving Buffy so much. But WHOA, I did not know that Edwina is pecking her. This news hurts my heart. Please protect Buffy from the others. I just love Buffy; she gives hope to my own day and life! Susan Parker

    • Chickens peck. Edwina has always been a bossy hen and has always physically proved her top status. All hens that are weaker, like Buffy, will get pecked at. I have many blog posts and FAQs about this dynamic and how to keep it from getting dangerous for the weaker hens.

  6. My Barred Rock who is normally the one who pecks at the others from time to time, was not feeling 100% on Sunday. I was very worried about her as she was not interested in eating at all and was just standing in on spot, very still. This went on all day. I had planned an Epsom salt bath for her in the morning if she hadn’t improved but by morning she was back to her old self! This proves your point above about the pecking when a hen is weak. The pecking and chasing is still happening even though she is feeling better…I wonder if it will continue?
    I’m glad Buffy had her spa day and then had a big meal at the end of the day. She’s such a sweetheart! And she has a good momma.

    • Glad she’s feeling better. Keep an eye on her comb color, if it darkens you’ll know there’s something still going on, and the others will notice that change and continue to peck.

  7. Sweet Buffy deserves all the pampering she can get in her retirement. I never had a day at the spa!

  8. Buffy looks so content during her spa day! The picture of you from the blow dryer’s perspective is hilarious! And award winning : ). You’re awesome,Terry!

  9. She didn’t mind the blow dryer? She looks like she totally enjoyed her spa day! I wish my cats would act the same way when they get a spa day!!

  10. She is obviously used to being handled and looked like she enjoyed her spa day :)

  11. What a miracle bird she is….I still say you need to patent “The Spa Treatment”. Works every time!

  12. I love Buffy. I love BO’s in general but she’s seen sooooo much. Just love her.

  13. Terry you must have the patience of a saint. I would have ended up more wet than Buffy.

    Good job.

  14. I can’t believe she held still for all that! I wouldn’t have. The Goatmother has a hard time just doing my hooves. You must be the Chicken Whisperer.

  15. Buffy had a lovely day at the Spa!
    I am afraid to cut the nails even though some of my guys back ones are getting long. They are black, so it’s hard to see the wick. Wish we lived closer ~ I could use some of your expertise.

  16. Buffy certainly shows the other girls how to do it! She is amazing. Thanks for caring for her and all the others in the way that you do. So loving– even to ditzy Siouxsie!

  17. My favorite picture is the one of Buffy getting toweled off, such a nice array of colors, and Buffy fits right in!

  18. So what did you do today, dear? Gave a hen a shampoo, blow dry and pedicure….

  19. Buffy is my hero. My 3 girls are 6 years old now, and when they eventually turn poorly, I will be following your example and spending a lot of time giving spa treatments. I am glad that Buffy’s poo is back to normal.

  20. I ave a poorly hen too named Gracie she is showing the same sort of signs as Buffy. I did the vaseline and glove job yesterday, found no egg, but there has been a bit of yellow poo, she wont eat but she is drinking. have given her warm baths in the hope it will get somethin’ movin’ but nothing yet! poor soul has put herself to bed again. She is only 12 months old and the rest of my girls are alright. I’m gonna try your spa treatment tomorrow.

  21. You are a compassionate mama. I learned some good things today!

  22. Thanks for the Epsom bath advice, I will definitely use it :)

    I LOVE the blow dry picture :D

    Well done Buffy, keep going girl x

  23. This just shows a little TLC goes a long way. I must remember this. Thanks Terry!

  24. This post makes me so happy! My friends think I’m nutso (in a quirky good way) when I tell them I bathed my chook. Beautifully described – and gives me lots of tips!

  25. I love Buffy, she is my favourite chicken from all your flock. I have tried your spa treatment on two of my girls and it worked and made them better both times. Buffy has 85 lives by the sound of it. Well done for sorting her out again Terry.

  26. Buffy is looking pretty perky tonight sitting on the ladder and looking very alert to what the teenagers are doing. I think of all the hens, Buffy has enjoyed having the young ones around.

  27. Wow! What a day. You’ve nursed her back to good health numerous times, and today’s spa treatment is no different. I think she looks forward to these treatments. She looked better and livelier after she was all cleaned up and well rested. I am glad she does not have a respiratory problem and is back with her old hen friends and new ones.

  28. Buffy is one tenacious hen but…she has one tenacious caretaker! You are the best and Buffy is thrilled to be a part of your flock!

  29. Lucky Buffy! She deserves lots of attention and pampering. She’s lucky to have you to care for her!

  30. I’ve been meaning to say thank you for the Epsom salt bath tip. A few days ago, I had an egg-bound hen, and after a soak in Epsom salts, she popped the egg out and was back to her old self. A much prettier self, as it also cleaned her bum up nicely!

  31. Yay for Buffy!!!
    Have you named your rabbit by the way?

  32. I tune in for Buffy and stay for all the new additions. Even the gems are more interesting because of Buffy’s vulnerability. Thanks for this post. Everyday I love to see how Buffy is managing with her mobility issues. It is great to see an old hen be a part of everything in spite of age, failing strength, and health issues. Thanks for all the ways you help her stay around longer!