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Age Chickens Start to Dust Bath

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by centrarchid, May 19, 2017.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have seen this question posed many times. My previous recollections where dust bathing started at about 2 weeks post-hatch. That in mind, I have been closely watching a hen-reared brood that my kids are helping me with as we try to train the chicks and hen for handling. The brood under observation hatched May 13, 2017. We have been releasing the hen almost daily since at roughly 1730. Observations are intense from them until they go to roost / return to pen. The hen makes a beeline to dusting area each time. She is a bit lousy as typical of hens when I overly confine them off the ground. Yesterday a couple of the chicks joined her in dust bathing for the first time. They were 5 days post-hatch at that time. Not all chicks did it. With older broods, all would do it when mother does. They are not doing it this evening owing to very heavy rain event.

    Earliest appears to be roughly 5 days post-hatch although not all doing so. Mother dusting seems to stimulate similar activity.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    That's also been my experience. At the end of the first week, I place a container of sand in the brooder and the chicks usually take right to it.

    Currently, I have a broody raising chicks, but they were a lot slower in joining her in the dirt bathing ritual. They were around two and a half weeks before they got down with it.
     
    centrarchid likes this.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    When I brooder-rear the chicks are on some sort of wood fiber which may not be conducive to dust bathing. As a general rule such chicks are not allowed access to proper dust bathing sites until at least 3 weeks post-hatch. By then they do dust bath at first opportunity.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    My current broody-raised chicks have had access to sand both in their brooding coop as well as in their run from the time they hatched. They just never seemed to be as interested in dirt bathing as the indoor brooded chicks on a wood shavings bedding. Those chicks were eager for that first little tub of sand and dove right in.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Possibly the birds with access to small particulate materials simply not observed when dust bathing?
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    That's a definite possibility. I sure don't hover over these chicks as I'm not in charge of them.
     

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