Healthy dust bathes for your flock

By mymilliefleur · Nov 22, 2014 · Updated Feb 23, 2015 · ·
  1. mymilliefleur
    Watching chickens dust bathing is a very interesting, not to mention funny sight. It's also very
    important for their health and well being. Chickens (and turkeys) dust bathe every 2-3 days
    generally, less if it rains or is especially cold. During the winter when the temperature drops
    and it is wet and/or snowing It is often hard for them to find a place to dust as most of your
    birds will be hiding out in the coop. One myth is that chickens only dust bathe in the spring or
    summer when the weather is warm. This is not true! chickens dust bathe all year around. It is
    even more important in the winter when they are spending more time inside and using a lot of
    energy to keep warm. This is a perfect time for lice and mites to take over especially if the
    birds can not dust bathe. Also every time they take a bath, it fluffs and aerates their feathers
    which helps them to hold in more heat.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    So here is how I set up my dust bathes.
    For my mix I use:
    3 parts dirt
    2 parts wood ash
    1 part diatomaceous earth.
    Here is the dust bath I am making for my bantams. I am using a medium sized rubber bowl. I
    prefer the soil to be slightly damp, which cuts down on the dust. I sifted it through a piece of
    course hardware cloth first to get out the clumps.
    Above is the wood ash and diatomaceous earth mixed together.
    And this is the finished dust bath ready to go to the coop. I also use a smaller bowl for my
    chicken tractors, which I can lift out every day when I move the coops. Since I have four coops
    and don't feel like making that many bathes, I rotate it between the coops so everyone gets a
    chance to use it. I give my chicks a small bowl of dirt to dust in while they're in the brooder.
    They really enjoy it! A bowl of dust is great for caged birds as well.
    The girls (and guy) are checking out their new bath! be ready to refill your bowl in a few day as
    they will scratch a lot of the dirt out.
    For an extra touch, try adding some herbs and spices to the mix. I like to add some dried
    citronella. Pests hate it, and it has a wonderful citrisee smell to it. Now if you don't have access
    to these ingredients, don't panic! There are lots of things you can use in your bath such as sand,
    clay, and plain potting soils. Some people also use permethrin in their baths too.
    Hope you enjoyed this article! I know your chickens will enjoy their new dust bathes!
    Special thanks to ChickenShan for letting me use her photos.
    If you have any questions or comments feel free to post below!

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  1. mymilliefleur
    Thanks Lauren, Yes, I knew that about DE, and yes, It's great for pest control despite all the controversy about wether or not it really works. thanks for sharing!
  2. Heme
    DE works wonders to control pests. How it works is as follows:> DE has microscopic irregular projectiles that pierce the soft underbody of mites, ants and other insects. The spikes draw out fluids and moisture from the body and the dehydration kills the host. Mix 10 percent DE with top soil/sand mix (preferably Contractor Sand with grit properties) and spread on coop floor. I add PDZ (1-2 scoops) to my mix to remove ODORs. Both PDZ and DE are nontoxic. Hope you find this helpful. Lauren
  3. mymilliefleur
    Thanks. glad you liked it. :)
  4. pfewless
    I was just thinking about this when I saw your article. Thank you for being so informative and posting your recipe as well as other options.
  5. familyfarm1
    great article!!
  6. ChickyChickens
    Awesome...I am soo glad mine free range so they find their own dust... ;)
  7. Dawna
    I keep two tubs of DE, sand and peat moss in the pen, which is covered, so the hens have year round access to a bath. Sometimes I chop up Rosemary to put in also. I'll use your idea of using something with lemon scent to it now.
  8. mymilliefleur
  9. Mountain Peeps
    What a great article!!!

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