5-month-old chickens have never dust bathed

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Babs_Pearl_LilMartian, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. Babs_Pearl_LilMartian

    Babs_Pearl_LilMartian Hatching

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    Aug 30, 2017
    Hi all! I recently got three chicks from my parents' flock. They're 5 months old, and for the first couple months of their lives, they lived in a sectioned-off part of the coop with a wooden floor, so they never got to dust bathe. (There was a mean mother hen with her own chicks that would go after them. She even killed a fourth chick in this group, so they were sectioned off for their own protection.)

    They have all kinds of space now in my backyard, and I just have the three. But I have NEVER seen them dust bathe and I'm pretty sure they have lice. I'm treating them with diatomaceous earth, but how do I get them to dust bathe to keep themselves clean?
     
  2. Chickassan

    Chickassan Crossing the Road

    Do you have any loose dirt or a wood ash pile for them to do it in? They should just do it if they have a proper spot, they're kind of hardwired. ;)
     
  3. Babs_Pearl_LilMartian

    Babs_Pearl_LilMartian Hatching

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    Aug 30, 2017
    Yup @Chickassan I have a lot of loose, inviting dirt. I had a couple grown chickens before I took these girls in... They loved dust bathing and left lots of little holes in the yard. It's available to them--don't know why they are totally uninterested.
     
  4. Chickassan

    Chickassan Crossing the Road

    Geeze that's just weird. Maybe they aren't itchy enough yet. They should be all in that dirt and a few months on wood shouldn't have broke them.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Give them the opportunity, and they will eventually do so. However, either they have lice, or they don't. You need to find out if they do. DE or even dust bathing is not going to rid them of a lice infestation. You need to treat them properly if they have lice.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Definitely check them over real well for mites and/or lice.

    Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.

    Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).

    Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.

    Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.

    If you do find some...check out this thread:
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1134783/permethrin-spray
     
    21hens-incharge likes this.

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