Hot Chicks get Sponge Baths

Hot Chicks get Sponge Baths

Don’t blame me for the title. That’s what my teenagers told me to title it. But that IS what this post is about. 

We are in the middle of a heat wave, just like most of the country, but I honestly don’t remember my town ever hitting 107, or maybe it was 110 depending on the source reporting.  My car said it was 114 in Signal Hill at 2:30. We haven’t acclimated yet to summer temps since just last week we were in the low to mid 70’s with fog. The dog and cat are inside with us where its much cooler. Tigerlily, the desert tortoise, is totally loving the heat.  However, the chickens looked miserable. I was worried about them in this high heat. I let them out of the coop much earlier than normal to find cooler spots in the yard, but everybody was still panting and carrying their wings away from their bodies to cool off. I have not needed mist system for them in the past, so I didn’t have anything other than the hose end sprayer to mist them. It didn’t do much good. Therefore, I decided today would be chicken sponge bath day, minus their blow drying. One by one, they each got their legs and under bellies submerged and then rinsed until wet all over. The Silkie and white Frizzle Cochin both looked like they enjoyed it. The buff brahma girls both protested but eventually relaxed enough to finish. They are not as cuddlely as the other two, but they are good layers. 

wet chickens after their bath
Wet, but cooler chickens after a quick bath to cool down

Afterwards, everybody looked damp and bedraggled, but much cooler, with no more panting.  They are normally pretty chickens, all except the Silkie, who often gets bullied and has had her creast feathers yanked out by one of my bantam buff brahmas. Below is what they looked like Tuesday, when it was much more pleasant out. They were anxiously awaiting to come outside for the late afternoon snack on the grass and dust baths.

Happy dry hens in this picture from Tuesday.

Here is a link to some of signs of heat stress in chickens in hobby farms magazine. I have read about a number of different methods for keeping chickens cool on hot days. If you keep chickens, what works best for  you and your flock? Saturday is supposed to pretty hot again, but my hens probably won’t NEED a bath yet.

4 thoughts on “Hot Chicks get Sponge Baths

  1. Your photo of the Silkie with the mural behind her is *precious*! 😀 So surprising that the Brahmas are little bullies, considering how their big counterparts are called “Gentle Giants.” I’m Brahma obsessed and have 2 Light girls (still teenagers) of the full-sized persuasion. 🙂 In a way, your post heartens me a bit in that, when Pearl and Opal finally meet Scrambled, the Barred Rock overlord outside (“overlady?” LOL), she may not bully them as she does my Silkie/CCL cross. 😮

    1. Generally, bantam brahmas are pretty nice, however, my Silkie has issues that make her a target. First off is the top knot. Since its different than the other chickens, they pick on her for that. I had the issue with a previous Silkie too and I expected it, but this Silkie is also not quite right. At first I thought it was poor eyesight, so I would trim the feathers around her eyes. There was no improvement, and now with no feathers on top at all, there is still no improvement. The silkie actually gets “Lost” in the yard a lot. She often can’t figure out how to get around obstacles and gets stuck in things that have obvious ways out of. She doesn’t understand how to use feeders with holes and would likely starve if that was all there was. Have you see the movie Moana? The dim witted chicken in it, Hei Hei, is probably modeled after my Silkie hen. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Silkie, but as my husband puts it, she is dumber than a bag of rocks. I think that is why she gets bullied.

  2. I suppose having misters close by wouldn’t be entirely healthy, would it. Poor chickens!

    1. Long term misters might not be a good idea, but I think a lot of chicken keepers do use them on days like we were having that had so little humidity in the air.

I would love to know what you think about this.

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