How to Wash a Chicken for a Show

    What you'll need:

  • Three pails or large buckets
  • One large towel per bird
  • Dog nail clippers
  • Dog nail file
  • An old toothbrush
  • An old washcloth or other rag
  • Blood stop powder, or cayenne powder (in case you
    nick a quick)
  • Carriers deeply bedded with clean shavings
  • Hair dryer (if it's cool outside)
  • Dish soap or some sort of show shampoo (better to
    use something like Ivory than Dawn, which strips
    too much oil from the feathers)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
  • Bluing (only use if you have white birds,
  • and not too much!)
  • Crates deeply bedded with shavings to put the birds
    into for the final drying time.

    Fill the buckets with warm but not too hot water. Put
    some Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) into the second bucket
    (not too much, just enough to cut the soap) and if you are
    washing white birds, several drops of bluing into the third.

    Gently lower the bird into the first bucket (but do not
    cover the head), swishing it up and down to get the
    feathers wet. Put some soap into your hand and gently
    brush it onto the bird, stroking in the direction of the
    feathers, not against the grain.
    Work the soap in, paying attention to the vent area and
    the toes. Be careful with soap around the eyes, best to
    just use a washcloth to wipe the head area. Use the
    toothbrush to scrub the toes and legs, get all the crud off
    of them.

    Transfer the bird to the second bucket, swishing up and
    down to get the soap off. Then put into the third bucket
    for a final rinse. Wrap the bird in a towel, leaving the head
    and feet sticking out. Sit with it on your lap (you will get
    wet) and gently trim toes and beak (no judge likes to be
    scratched.) Use the file on the beak to remove sharp
    edges and refine the look. Wipe around eyes again with
    the towel.

    Use the blow dryer with caution, not too hot!
    Using the warm (not hot) setting on the blow dryer, dry
    the chicken so that it is almost dry (you won't get it all the
    way dry.) Place it into the crate with shavings in a warm,
    non-drafty place to finish drying (this may take several
    hours.) We find we can do between six to eight birds per
    day effectively (run out of crates!) Once the bird is
    completely dry, return it either to the cage or its clean

    Nota Bene:

    Before you wash your birds, you should always check
    them for mites or lice, and treat appropriately. It's no fun
    trying to wash a bird with mites crawling all over your
    arms (yuck!)
How to Wash a Chicken
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