There will come a time when you may need to give your little silkie a bath. Maybe she has been playing in the mud or maybe you have plans for showing her. Either way, giving a silkie a bath is a very easy thing to do.
First of all, gather all of the supplies you will need ahead of time so you won’t be searching for them while your bird is in the water. You will need some kind of shampoo and some white vinegar to use as part of a rinse. You will need towels and a bucket for the final rinse. A blow dryer should be handy too.
You have a couple of choices as to where to give the bath. A sink works well especially if you have a water sprayer attached. A bath tub can work too. I have used several buckets in a bath tub and then just moved the bird from bucket to bucket.
Start by soaking the bird in warm water. The water should not be too cool or too warm. Keep the water shallow enough so that her head won’t go under the water line. Water should never go into the chicken’s nostrils. Always keep one hand on your bird.
When the bird is soaked with water, you can start shampooing. Any shampoo will work. I like a dog flea and tick shampoo to start with. You might use a little blue Dawn dish soap on heavily soiled areas if your silkie is white. A bluing shampoo works well with white birds. Make sure that the bird is thoroughly wet before shampooing or the feathers will end up purple from the bluing.
Next you will want to rinse all of the shampoo off with the sprayer or by rinsing in a separate bucket. Lastly, dip her in clean water that has had some vinegar splashed into it. The vinegar cuts the soap film on the feathers.
You will want to quickly wrap your dripping bird up into a towel. Try to absorb as much water as possible with the towel. It is easy for the bird to become chilled at this point so keep her wrapped up and warm.
The blow dryer should be plugged in and ready to go. Make sure that you use it on the “low” setting. Too high of heat will burn your silkie. I start blow drying the crest while she is still wrapped up in the towel. Slowly unwrap the towel and continue blow drying the whole body.
Blow drying takes a long time. You can take short breaks and comb out the feathers with a slicker brush. It is important that she is dry when you return her to her group. If the weather is cool, she can become chilled. Never bath a silkie right before they go to sleep. They will still be damp under their wings which can lead to them being chilled.
They may not like it the first time you bath them, but the more you wash them, the more they get used to it. After a few times they will begin to behave and enjoy it. Do silkies need to be bathed? No, they do a nice job of grooming themselves. You will, however , be amazed at how fluffy and soft they become after their bath. Good luck with bathing your silkies!
VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul. We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available. Follow us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.