How to Bathe a Silkie Chicken

Updated February 21, 2017

Silkie chickens are one of the few bantam chicken varieties that don't have a standard-size counterpart. Silkies are known for their soft, fluffy plumage that resembles fur, black skin and blue ear lobes. Silkie chickens can be bathed if they are dirty or if you are preparing to show them. Set aside at least an hour to bathe your Silkie, and gather all of your materials before you begin. Silkies are one of the easiest chicken varieties to groom and bathe, because of their friendly, docile nature, so the bath should be a pleasant experience for both you and your pet.

Fill the tubs with warm water.

Add 1/4 cup of vinegar per gallon of water into the second tub. The amount of vinegar does not have to be precise.

Add 1 tbsp of hair conditioner per gallon of water to the third tub. The amount does not have to be precise.

Pick up your Silkie and gently lower her into the first tub. Do not immerse her head; just let the water cover her back.

Use your hand to apply shampoo to the Silkie's leg feathers and feet. Allow them to soak, then put a drop of shampoo the size of a quarter onto her back and wash her back, side and breast feathers.

Use a washcloth to gently wash her head and face feathers. Use the washcloth to clean her feet and leg feathers.

Rinse away as much of the shampoo as you can in the first tub. Use a cup if needed to pour water over your chicken to help rinse away the shampoo.

Lift the chicken from the first tub and place her in the second tub. Soak away any remaining shampoo and use the cup to rinse her head and neck. Pay special attention to the feathers on the back of her neck; shampoo can collect here and be difficult to remove if it dries in place.

Lift the chicken from the second tub and place her in the third. Support your Silkie as she soaks in the water. Silkies have fluffy plumage that will benefit from the conditioner, but it will take a few minutes for it to sink in properly. Use to cup to rinse her head and neck, and wipe the fine feathers of her face with the washcloth.

Remove your Silkie and wrap her in the towel to dry. If you will be showing her, you can trim her nails at this time with a pair of clippers.

When your Silkie is damp, but not dripping wet, you can remove her from the towel. Use a hair dryer on a warm, low setting to fluff her feathers, or let her air dry. Some Silkies enjoy being blown dry, while others can be scared by the noise, so follow your bird's lead. Let your Silkie dry completely before returning her to her coop.


Add unsweetened powdered drink mix to the vinegar bath water to dye a light-coloured Silkie a speciality colour.


Bathe your Silkie inside on a cold day and don't put her back outside until she is completely dry. Silkies can't swim, so don't leave your chicken unattended in a bath or tub of water. If your Silkie falls asleep, make sure her head stays above water.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 buckets or tubs
  • Warm water
  • Vinegar
  • Baby hair conditioner
  • Baby shampoo
  • Washcloth
  • Clean, dry towel
  • Hair dryer (optional)
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About the Author

Sarah Emerald is the author of books and magazine articles specializing in crafts, family, business and the home, including Create and Decorate, Hilton Head Monthly and Crafts magazine. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from a small private college in the southeastern U.S.