Building a Dust Bath. Wood Ash?

Mary Herb

In the Brooder
May 20, 2017
14
2
19
I am wanting to build a dust bath for our flock out of several used tires. I have been reading several different suggestions on what all to use, some suggest a mixture of wood ash, DE, sand, and soil. And then some say that just sand is fine. Is there any preference to this for them? Or any benefit for adding wood ash?
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,387
17,763
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
I like a range of particle sizes. The fine stuff appears to make to parasites can not hang on while the coarser materials penetrate into feathers better. I have not seen a study on wood ash impacts on mite abundance, certainly nothing that deals with repelling.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,918
832
California's Redwood Coast
I am wanting to build a dust bath for our flock out of several used tires. I have been reading several different suggestions on what all to use, some suggest a mixture of wood ash, DE, sand, and soil. And then some say that just sand is fine. Is there any preference to this for them? Or any benefit for adding wood ash?
Hi there, hope you are enjoying BYC! :frow

DE not welcome here, period. It isn't effective in humid environments like mine in addition to the other host of issues I take with it after seeing the dust plume that rises into the atmosphere both while they're bathing and anytime they shake out afterwords. I consider it an over used false sense of security.. expressed fairly well in the following links..

https://the-chicken-chick.com/the-cut-dry-truth-about-diatomaceous/

https://the-chicken-chick.com/raising-chickens-naturally-diatomaceous/

https://the-chicken-chick.com/diatomaceous-earth-de-benefitrisk/

Wood ash and peat moss according to what I've read may effect the ph/acidity level of the bathing medium. which may have some impact on parasites or NOT..

According to my understanding the bathing process helps remove old dirty oils and prep feathers for fresh preening.. new oil distribution.. basically keeps them in good working condition to fight against the elements.. weather, etc.

I love the feel of peat moss, but recognize it as a limited and not very renewable resource. I've used it in some planting but not intentionally in dirt baths YET. It doesn't SEEM like it will fly away in the same manner that lighter dust particle sizes do.. Bathing holes made anywhere on my property (by the birds of course) tend to become gaping deep chasms if I don't fill them back in regularly. :hmm

My birds are perfectly content to use loose soil from the ground which I also find VERY acceptable.

Bathing medium unless it contains sulfur or other known effective agents, as far as I'm concerned is NOT sufficient for parasite control IF you have them at YOUR location. Many things are almost everywhere.. but weather pattern, soil type, wild life load, stock density, individual immune systems/genetics and or bathing/foraging/mating/brooding habits, husbandry practices, age, etc CAN impact internal/external parasite load.

When I lived in the desert city lot I faced not much in the way of predators and parasites with regards to birds anyways! Now in the moderate rain forest I face and deal with a lot of them. My friend, 2 miles away.. has slightly different issues despite being very similar soil, weather, etc. Get a good look at each bird after dark using a flash light once a month if possible to look for red angry skin or dried "dirt clump" near base of feather shafts below vent. Treat if needed.

Dirt bathing is such a fun and enriching activity for the birds in addition to any grooming benefits it offers... and they MUST be there! So great to see a mum teaching babes all about it.. but then again chicks come knowing it somehow! I see them bathing in the shaving in the brooder at only a few days old sometimes! Even other animals love dirt bathing.. horses, dogs, goats, pigs, etc. :D

Pics always welcome.. like when the curious buggers start enjoying the new set up you're making! :pop
 

irishchickens101

Chirping
Aug 12, 2019
28
76
69
Ireland
I am wanting to build a dust bath for our flock out of several used tires. I have been reading several different suggestions on what all to use, some suggest a mixture of wood ash, DE, sand, and soil. And then some say that just sand is fine. Is there any preference to this for them? Or any benefit for adding wood ash?
I used sand in mine and the hens love it, it heats up nicely in the sun as well and they love resting on it :D use whatever you fell is best for yourself
 

Bellafiore

Chirping
Aug 18, 2020
23
39
69
I am wanting to build a dust bath for our flock out of several used tires. I have been reading several different suggestions on what all to use, some suggest a mixture of wood ash, DE, sand, and soil. And then some say that just sand is fine. Is there any preference to this for them? Or any benefit for adding wood ash?
The only real Gotcha with wood ash is that is must stay dry. When it get wet it can cause irritation and burning of skin.
 

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