How to Bathe Baby Turkeys & Chickens

Baby turkeys and chicks may occasionally need cleaning.
Baby turkeys and chicks may occasionally need cleaning. (Image: Kovacs Orsi/

Baby chickens and turkeys are cute, fluffy creatures who are fragile in nature and require careful attention. Sometimes, your baby poultry may become dirty, which can pose a health risk. But you can bathe and clean your baby turkeys and chickens to help keep them healthy and happy.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Damp rag
  • Dry rag
  • Brooder

Hold the chick (baby chicken) or poult (baby turkey) in one hand. The baby bird's feet should be in your palm while your fingers curve up and around the bird. Chicks and poults will not struggle unless they feel insecure. Keep a firm but gentle grasp on the baby with your thumb and forefinger wrapped over its wings to keep them from flapping.

Brush the bird with a soft-bristled brush, such as a soft toothbrush. Remove loose particles of dirt, debris and feces from their down. Use smooth and gentle strokes, being careful not to crush the chick or poult. Brushing too hard will result in the chick or poult losing her down. You may wish to brush from head to tail if the entire chick is dirty, or spot clean if the bird is only partially dirty.

Wipe heavier, encrusted debris with a warm, moist rag or cloth. You may dab or pat the area first with the moistened cloth to loosen the debris, before wiping in any direction. Focus on just the soiled area and avoid wiping the entire chick or poult, as excessive moisture is bad for him.

Dip the portion of their body in warm water if it is heavily soiled and won't be removed with repeated brushing and wiping. Repeat Step 3 until the baby chicken or turkey's down is clean. This is safe handling even while the bird is still wet, though you should clean rapidly so the bird is not wet for longer than necessary.

Wipe the chick or poult with a dry, clean rag and release the bird back into its brooder--a small, enclosed area shielded from cold drafts and heated with a heat lamp. You may obtain a brooder from most feed and farm-supply stores. The heat from the brooder's lamp will help ward against chills and will expedite the drying process.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may find yourself cleaning your chicks often if they have a buildup of soft feces around their bottoms. Loose stools are commonly caused by stress. Make sure you're raising the baby birds away from loud noises, cold breeze and excessive human activity to reduce their stress levels.
  • Never completely immerse or soak your baby poultry in water, as moisture can prove fatal or make the animal susceptible to illness.

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