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Why do chickens take dust baths?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

With the word "bath" in the name, you would think it would be to clean right?
Well its raining here right now, and Gladyss is outside, rollin arouind in the dirt??? (she's silly)

I figured if it wasn't to clean...it was to cool down...but its pretty chilly here....

2 parakeets: Sonny & Pringle
1 Rhode Island White: Gladyss
1 Silkie/Barred Rock: Tweetie
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2 parakeets: Sonny & Pringle
1 Rhode Island White: Gladyss
1 Silkie/Barred Rock: Tweetie
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post #2 of 16

I don't know the answer to your question, but I can say that a "dust bath" is one of my girls favorite activity!
Then they come up on the porch and shake all the dust on the cement... silly birds!

post #3 of 16

It's to clean themselves.

post #4 of 16

I think its also to keep mites and other parasites off them, I read that somewhere..

post #5 of 16

That's kind of what I thought too, although I don't know it for a fact...so I occasionally sprinkle about a cup of DE in their dustbathing area smile


Edited by teach1rusl - 4/9/10 at 5:45pm

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #6 of 16

They dust bathe as a means to clean their feathers.  Also getting the dust on the feather shafts and on their skin lessens mite infestation.  You can take advantage of their proclivity for dusting by first locating a couple of their more used "dust bowls" and add some DE to it.  I occasionally add some Sevin to it as well.  It the easiest method to use to prevent lice and mites.

When having problems with chickens stop and think, what would Harlan do?
I've dealt with many thorns in my life and the flower is always worth the effort.

6 Nest rollout nest box plans  http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/287684/new-rollout-nest-design-picture-heavy-edited-1-21

Smoker plans http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/721017/opas-recirculating-smoker

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When having problems with chickens stop and think, what would Harlan do?
I've dealt with many thorns in my life and the flower is always worth the effort.

6 Nest rollout nest box plans  http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/287684/new-rollout-nest-design-picture-heavy-edited-1-21

Smoker plans http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/721017/opas-recirculating-smoker

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post #7 of 16

They take dust baths for several reasons.  First, the dust helps dry their feathers and clean any natural oiliness off.  It think they also just like the feel of warm scratchy sand on their skin.  Mine grovel in the sand and kick it all over themselves and each other.  Today all four of them were out there in the same sunny square foot of sand having a blast...

Adding some Feed Grade DE (Diatomaceous Earth) to the sand helps control mites and lice by dehydrating the little critters.

wink

post #8 of 16

i am guessing because it helps absorb some of the excess oils from their feathers...just a wild guess tho...lol

Don't wear perfume in the garden - unless you want to be pollinated by bees. ~Anne Raver
 

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Don't wear perfume in the garden - unless you want to be pollinated by bees. ~Anne Raver
 

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post #9 of 16

My little RIR are only 5 weeks old and when they came in today from their day in their run, they took extensive dust baths. It's so cute. They even roll their little heads around in it. celebrate Silly birds. I could barely come in to eat dinner because I was standing out there in the garage oooohing and aaaahing at the little sweeties.

Mamma to my 4 year old daughter, a Husky-Aussie mix, two spoiled rotten cats, two Rhode Island Reds (Lena and Ida Claire), one Black Star (Vera) and married to my good-looking wood-cutting, running hubby. And, I adore my chickens! It only took me three years to talk him into them.

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Mamma to my 4 year old daughter, a Husky-Aussie mix, two spoiled rotten cats, two Rhode Island Reds (Lena and Ida Claire), one Black Star (Vera) and married to my good-looking wood-cutting, running hubby. And, I adore my chickens! It only took me three years to talk him into them.

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post #10 of 16

My barred rocks hens take over the mulched flower/bush bed by the patio.  I've given up on trying keep that area tidy, they don't get into any other bed than that one.  Last weekend it looked like "girls day" at the beach (a real hen party) where the only things missing were fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. 
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/51733_hen_party.jpg

Give a starving man a fish, you are a friend.  Teach a starving man to fish, you are a mentor.  Talk to a starving man about needing a boat to fish, you are a consultant.
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Give a starving man a fish, you are a friend.  Teach a starving man to fish, you are a mentor.  Talk to a starving man about needing a boat to fish, you are a consultant.
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