Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chicken Bathing 101

I have been asked these questions several times.

You give your chickens a bath?

Why do you give them a bath? They don’t need a bath, they take dust baths!

How do you give them a bath?

At what age do you give them a bath?

Before I begin; yes, I am the crazy chicken lady that bathes her chickens. Not often, but they do get baths.

When they were just a few weeks old I noticed they had poo stuck on their behinds. Not quite pasty butt, but being the clean freak that I am, I held them under a faucet of warm trickling water and worked to remove it. They didn’t care for it the first time, however, they got used to it. At this time I just used warm water and my hands to get them clean. I just washed the area where the poo was stuck to them being careful not to get them wet everywhere. This could have caused them to get too cold and become ill. As soon as they were washed, I dried them as much as I could with a towel and put them back under the heat lamp with the others.

Fast forward a few months. They now have all of their feathers and are no longer in the brooder inside the house. They have been outside for awhile and it is almost 90 degrees out. In an effort to help them cool down, and get them cleaner in the meantime, I decided to give them each a bath. I had 12 chickens at the time. This was an afternoon project. You will want to make sure you have all of your supplies together before you start. I did take breaks in between birds to get fresh water and dry towels.

Things you will need:


Bucket of wash and rinse water. Make sure it is warm.

Soap (I used Dawn)

A small scrub brush if you want to clean their nails. (I used an old toothbrush)

Warning: You will get almost as wet as they do the first few times.
Start by placing the first chicken in an empty Rubbermaid tote. You can add water if you like at first, but I found they were more receptive if the water wasn’t already in there. Make sure you have the chicken secured in the tub. At first it took two of us, but now I have a system down and the chickens know the routine. I use one hand on the top of their back to keep them from jumping out and the other to pour the water over them slowly. As you get them wet, work some soap into their feathers. At first the water will run off, but as you start to scrub them it soaks into their feathers.

Lather them as you would your own hair, or a dog. Be sure to get under their wings. Once their feathers get saturated, they get heavy and the chicken will opt to just sit while you finish. I also use a small brush to scrub their toe nails while I am bathing them. Be sure to get all of the suds rinsed. Any left will be drying on their skin.

Once they are rinsed well, wrap in a large towel and dry. I next place them on my lap and cuddle with them. They will often take a nap while sitting with me. I let them sit for awhile and get them as dry as I can and then place them in the sun to finish drying. The first thing they will want to do is preen their feathers and bask in the sun. I don’t allow them back into their run until they are dry so they can’t go roll around in the dirt right away.

Move on to the next chicken. At this time, I now have one towel already wet. I use it on the second chicken, but also get a dryer one when I have gotten it as dry as I can with the first towel.

I usually bathe them once or twice a year. After the first bathing it gets easier. It also gets them accustomed to the water, so if it gets really hot you can mist them down in the summer to cool them without having them freak out so much.

The next time I gave them a bath was during the winter. By this time I had an indoor laundry sink. You know- the nice large ones you can get at Menards for $30. I love it for giving them baths. Simply place the chicken in the sink, turn on the water to a trickle, and bathe. Disclaimer: Your walls (and you of course) may get wet as they often shake like a dog to get the water off of them. I do this over a period of a few days. I bring each chicken in one at a time, give it a bath, and put it in a box in my basement under the heat lamp for the night. The next day they are dry and ready to go back with the others. They enjoy being pampered.

My outdoor bathing has progressed since I started raising chickens. I now have an outdoor sink.
I fill it up with the warm water already in the hose it is attached to, put them in the sink and wash. As I am washing them the water in the hose heats up again (from the sun) and they get a nice warm rinse as well. I sanitize the sink when I am finished because we use it for many uses outside.

Bathing a chicken can be challenging, wet, fun, exhausting, but,YES, it can be done. And my chickens enjoy it. This is also a great time to look them over and make sure they don’t have any infestations, or health issues.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Washing Greenery ~In the dishwasher!

I have been putting off washing the decorative greenery I have sitting around my house.  Just the thought of bending over the bathtub and washing it (I know sounds strenuous, doesn't it) was enough to keep putting it off. 

I am a big fan of putting what ever I can fit into my dishwasher to be washed.  It's not uncommon for me to wash a trash can in there as long as it will fit.  Chicken feeders and water containers, go in as well.  I wash those separate from our dishes of course. 

As I was dreading the thought of washing all of the greenery, I started to wonder if I could put it in the dishwasher.  I knew I couldn't use the harsh dish washing detergent, but what about a few drops of liquid soap?  What did I have to loose?  If it got ruined, I would just toss it out.  Since I'm not a big fan of washing it, why keep it if it isn't easy to clean?

 I decided to give it a try.  I turned off the heat settings for both the drying cycle and heating the water.  I wasn't going to be drying them, but didn't want to take the chance I would forget about them in there.  I have a relic of a machine, so I can just turn the dial and advance through the washing cycles as I like.

I added three drops of soap to the first cycle.  After it completed, I waited until the water filled and the machine started to run again, and oped to check the soap status.  There were very little suds since the soap had been drained with the first cycle.  I added two more drops of soap and let it go through the second wash cycle.  After the first rinse, I stopped the machine and added some cold water since I noticed some of the "berries" on one of the arrangements getting a little warm.  I did rinse them a second time, and now they look great.  It was so easy.  I will be cleaning my greenery more often in the future!

Dusty greenery ready to wash

Drip drying

Look how nice and shiny it looks!  It is still wet in this photo. 

Laid out to dry

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Make Your Own Shower Tablets

After reading a friends find on how to make your own shower tablets I was off to the kitchen to experiment.  This recipe could not be more simple.  The ingredients are baking soda, water, and essential oils.  I didn't follow the recipe, because lets face it,  I rarely do.  That's just me.  I like to freestyle things.  I also wanted to make a smaller batch to see how well they worked before jumping in.

I started with a small bowl of baking soda.  I added water a little at a time and mixed.  I thought since the essential oils are also liquid, I shouldn't wait until the end to add them because this would make the mixture more runny.  I chose sweet orange, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils.  Not realizing the sweet orange didn't have a dropper top, I kind of dumped more than I anticipated in the bowl.  Oops!  Oh well, it smells wonderful and has a nice yellow color just like butter. 

 I decided to use mini muffin cups since I don't usually take that long of a shower anyway.  And this would be the perfect amount to add to a bath.

I had thought about using my silicone muffin pans, but wondered if the oils would leave their scent and render them unusable for cooking in the future.  I opted for the paper cups and filled them to the top.

I placed them next to my air purifier to dry faster and my house smells awesome!  Not to mention my sinus' were starting to clear out. You can also place them in the oven to bake to dry faster.  I prefer having my house smell....awesome... for a little while longer.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Button, button, whose got the button?

I do!  Well at least what I do have are now organized!  I'm on an organizing frenzy lately.  Last night I decided I needed to organize my buttons.  I had been keeping them in my sewing kit in a plastic bottle.  Some accumulate on the dryer, in a drawer.  You know, those that fall off of a shirt and never get put back on.  My husband should know better than to leave that up to me.  He used to sew his own back on all the time.  Since when did I become appointed keeper of the buttons?  

I have had this plastic container for awhile stuffed in a cupboard.  I have no idea what my original intent was when I purchased it, but it thought it would be great to sort out my buttons.  Now maybe that I have all of them sorted I can begin to figure out which ones need to go back on clothing.  Soon...

Disclaimer:  I did not take the pics at this angle.  Blogger automatically turns them and I have no idea how to change it!

I Won the Lottery!!!

Well, not really.  So don’t everyone decide they want to be my friend so I can share the wealth.  I think you have to actually buy a ticket and play to win, don’t you?  That’s alright, because this is much better!  

My parents were working on updating their will and my brother had to give me the good news.  They were leaving the minivan to me.  I know he was secretly jealous, and there may even be a fight in the future over it.  He was getting their newer Mitsubishi.  And even though the all wheel drive vehicle drives like a Cadillac, and has this awesome mirror that will even let you know if ice conditions exists, this beast cannot compare to a 1985, well maybe it’s newer than that because didn’t DVD’s just start rolling out around this era?  I’m just too excited to concentrate!  

 I know my brother was secretly upset because driving the van is like driving a school bus.  As least that’s how I envision it.  Will I need a chauffeur’s license when I get this?  Hmm should that be a new law we could pass?  You need to have a chauffeur license to drive these awesome vans!  

This van was given to my mother after her parents passed away.  Since then, I know she is wishing she hadn’t bought her Mitsubishi, because the minivan is just so awesome!  The leather seats, at least I envision them as leather, feel like butter with some toast crumbs in it.  Riding in it is like riding on the wavy rapids in, lets say Colorado.  You get that rocking feeling each and every time.  It does not disappoint.  And with the fact that I get car sick, makes it even better.  

Just to let you know hot totally awesome this van is, it even has a DVD player in it!  How jealous are you now?  Each and every time my brother and I go to, let’s say a “flea market” he always lets me drive because he knows how much I like it.  It reminds me when we were in high school and because we had such a rust bucket awesome Toyota, we would fight over who got to had to drive it.  We got to the point of running out of school early and hiding in it with the passenger door locked so the other had to got to drive home because we knew how much the other wanted to drive it.   Those were the good ole days. 

 Sorry, I’m getting off the subject, but it’s only because I am so excited about the van!  Did I mention it’s an Oldsmobile?  I know if Cadillac realized how awesome these mini vans were they would totally steal the designs and market them for their own.

So after my brother gave me the good news my mom had to go and burst my bubble.  I know she secretly wanted to give me something special after she was gone.  You know like the family jewels.  Only there aren’t any, so she thought this van would be the next best thing.  

Because my brother was so jealous she decided to change the stipulations and not designate each of us one of their vehicles.  I’m still at a little confused because they have a vehicle for almost every day of the week, and this van must be at the top of the list, because she didn’t mention anything about the other vehicles.   I know she could feel my disappointment.  So my next question was, if we are splitting everything in half, which tractor do I get?  I said I think I wanted the Allis Chalmers, because it's little like me,  and maybe I would just have to get that early.  My dad looked in the mirror with a grin and said oh, I don’t think so.  Yet.  I think I heard a yet in there.  At least in my mind that’s how it went, so I’m going to go with that for now. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Frugal Friday~From Bar to Liquid Soap

I have been wanting to make my own liquid hand soap for awhile.  I usually buy a gallon of antibacterial soap at Sam's club and have been waiting until I was almost out of my supply before I attempted making my own.

Yesterday I decided I couldn't wait any longer.  I had an empty laundry soap bottle that was waiting to be put to good use. 

I love the smell of fels-naptha soap that I use in my home made laundry recipe so of course it was my soap of choice to make the first batch.

I found this recipe several  months ago and if you search there are several to be found.
1 c soap flakes
10 c water
1 Tbs glycerin 

A bar of fels-naptha is more than one cup so I "modified" the recipe to use all of the bar.  I added another two cups of water to compensate.  I also read more glycerin may be required with some soaps, and of course, I added 20 drops of tea tree oil for it's antibacterial properties. 

Add grated soap, tea tree and glycerin to water. 
Heat on medium heat until soap is melted.  

Once it has cooled enough you can pour it into your storage container.

What most of the recipes don't tell you is that the glycerin will thicken as it cools.  This will take several hours.  I added more glycerin due to the increased soap and liquid.  As the product cooled, I had to add more water because it was too thick.  The amount of glycerin you need is going to depend on the type of bar soap you choose.  In researching the subject, I came across various sites.  Some indicating glycerin may not be needed for some types of soap, while more glycerin is needed for castile type soaps.  This got me looking further into what type of soap fels-naptha was classified as.  I couldn't find anything that actually classified it as a castile soap, but rather a laundry soap.  There were many comments on how well it works when rubbed directly on stains and how it will help whiten clothes.  Some also felt it was a more harsh type soap. 

Finished Product
Here is the finished product.  Don't you love the mason jar pump dispenser?  This was something a friend gave me as she was cleaning out things so no longer used. She said she knew I would find a good use for it.  I was hoping to use it for hand lotion in my bath, however, this home made hand soap recipe called for a special dispenser.  

Please disregard the plastic Pepsi bottle in the background.  My husband refills them out of two liter bottles and has a collection sitting on my counter.  If you bump them they fall over like dominoes!  Ugh!

Next to try making liquid body wash.  I already have a bar of Yardley Aloe and Cucumber soap I want to use.  We currently use Jason Tea Tree Satin Body Wash, and have for several years.  The cost is around $8 for a 32 ounce container.  The cost of a bar of Yardley soap is .69 when I can get them on sale.  

My only complaint about the recipe is that is is a little "stringy".  It leaves a trail of soap from the dispenser when you pull your hand away after you have pumped it into your hand.  This may be remedied with altering the glycerin amount.  I will have to experiment on the next batch.  This netted a little over a gallon of soap, which will last us quite awhile.  Cost of fels-naptha soap .99.  Cost of glycerin 3.40 for an 8.5 ounce bottle.  The glycerin can also be used in other recipes such as body lotions, which I hope to attempt soon.

Friday, January 6, 2012

From Table Cloth to Napkins

  I have had this table cloth for over twenty years.  It was something that came in my sales kit that was rarely used.  Lately I have made a conscious effort to try and cut back my use of Kleenexes by using hankies.  I had some that were my grandmothers that I have been using, but I only had a few of them. Instead of buying more I decided to see what I already had that would work to make my own.  This table cloth was the first idea that came to my mind.  Once I got it out and started looking at it I realized it would make some really nice cloth napkins instead. 

I used my square guides to cut out the material. I used a 12x12 and for the napkins and a smaller one for the hankies.  The material without print was used for the cloth napkins.  These ended up being a Christmas present for my mom, which turned out great.  The part of material that contained print I made hankies out of. They are just the right weight and softness.  Now to add to my hankie collection to cut back on purchasing Kleenexes even more!

I used my serger to finish the edges.  
For the napkins I used 4 threads, and for the hankies 3.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Spa Day for Lilly

Today Lilly is getting special treatment.  Someone had been picking on her and she had dried blood on her backside and head.  We tried cleaning off the blood with peroxide, but it wasn't working well.  It was just getting the blood wet, which meant more picking if she was left outside with the others. 

So, a bath it was!  After she was washed and snuggled up in a towel all she wanted to do was take a nap.  My son got a box ready so we could put the heat lamp on her to help her dry.  When we do this with the other chickens they will just sit in the box and sleep.  They enjoy the alone time.  NOT Lilly. The first thing she did was move the paper towels and start dusting herself in the wood shavings!  Maybe to absorb the water, my son laughingly says.  After half and hour she is still down there playing.

When you look in on her she just gives you a look, like WHAT? 

Can't you see I'm busy?

You are keeping me from something very important.

Little does she know.  She will be staying in there overnight until she is completely dry.  It's too cold outside to put her back in the coop wet. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Our First White Egg

Lilly is laying! 

On 11-11-11 Lilly laid her first egg.  When I went to collect the eggs I was shocked to see a white egg sitting it the box.  Lilly will be our only white egg layer which is how I knew it was hers.

The girls were 21 weeks old last week and so far Lilly is the only one laying.  Out of all of the younger girls, I would not have picked Lilly to start laying first.  This has me wondering if maybe Snowflake, the White Rock, is laying and I am assuming it is from one of the other girls. 

Snowflake is quite a bit larger than the others and she would have been my first guess as the depositor of the egg if it weren't for the fact that it was white.  The eggs I have been getting haven't changed in size and when the birds initially start laying their eggs are normally smaller.    So, unless I can catch them in the act, I will never know which ones are leaving me the presents. 

When I went out to check on them Saturday I happened to catch Lilly in the laying basket. She had a funny expression after sitting up and looking at the egg laying there.  It was as if she was amazed the egg had come from her.  I wish I had my camera with me.  Her actions were priceless.

It's really hard to believe that just a few months ago the girls were this little!  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Planning for those days

Frozen meatloaf thawing to pop in the oven for supper!
 It's days like this I am thankful for a freezer.  I often make extra food and put it in the freezer to pull out on days that I don't feel up to cooking.  This is one of those days.  The weather is utterly gloomy, cold and rainy.  It doesn't appear it will improve much in the days ahead.  It's getting colder and winter is just around the corner.

I am not looking forward to winter.  I could really live in a warmer climate.   One with lots of sunshine.  My husband says Hawaii would be perfect for me.  I am not sure I could handle living on an "island".   I used to appreciate the change in seasons, but as I get older, I appreciate the warmer weather more.

Even with the cooler weather, I am still able to gather some things from the garden.  The chickens are enjoying the brussel sprouts and broccoli still growing.  They like the leaves as much as the vegetables. 

Today I pulled up the hot peppers.  They didn't make it through the last couple nights.  I forgot to cover them. Each day I take the covering off of the plants and replace them at night.  Which I evidently forgot to do.  It looks as though from the weather forecast this may be the last week I am able to hold on to the plants.  Next year a greenhouse is in my plans.  Unfortunately for now, my celery looks like it is just starting to do well.  I will have to harvest what I can, and soon.