Creating a dust bath area within the coop area

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by smoothmule, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. smoothmule

    smoothmule Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2008
    Buffalo, Missouri
    Has anyone created an area within their coop for the hens to take a dust bath? Mine will fluff up inside the coop in the shavings but outside the coop is dirt floor and they scratch their own little bust bowl out when it's dry.

    What I am going to try, in one pen, is using an old dog house for a dusting room. I put it on the floor of the outside pen to give them more places to run in out of the rain, for added shade, just there for whatever. I thought they might lay there but they didn't. The generally walk in then walk out like, well that was exciting....not. LOL

    So, it's plastic, it's covered, there is a solid floor that doesn't leak and the lip of the opening is 3 or 4 inches up so it would hold some sand or something for them to take a chicken bath in.
    I though I might put sand in it, add some wood ashes, some DE and whatever stuff they might light to fluff in. Maybe even some Sevin Dust, anything that might help to keep them clean and happy. What other dusting materials would make this a spa for the girls to clean up in?

    I don't know why I hadn't thought of this at the beginning. A covered kitty litter pan would work for bantams. It stays dry inside even when it's pouring rain and they can scratch all they want and most of it "should" stay inside with it being covered.

    What are you all doing or think would be good to add?

    ETA that I just found another website that recommends using an old tire to fill with the sand and ashes for a dust bath, that would work great in my covered pen.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  2. Demosthine

    Demosthine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2012
    Phoenix, Arizona
    This weekend, I'm adding wood ash from my beehive fireplace in to the coop bedding, since I'm using the deep litter method. That will help keep the lice and mites away. I also have a roughly 4'x8' sandbox outside under the playground equipment that my kids play in. When they free-range, the girls have access to that, too. I haven't caught them in it yet, but they know it's there. They've eaten out of it for their grit.

    From my understanding, if you are using the wood ashes, the diatomaceous[FONT=arial, sans-serif] [/FONT]earth and sven dust become unnecessary. In fact, several people have said the ash works better. I haven't had to use any of that yet, thankfully, and I hope I never do. From what I've read, the DLM will suffice for a large part of the diatomaceous earth and sven dust treatment. It's healthier and more productive.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I only use ashes and don't have parasite problems. The hens eat some of the ashes, then they have a ball flailing around in them! They look so funny for a few hours--my slw and barred rocks look all smutty, the lighter colored birds are all sooty, etc.
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I use DE and wood ashes - seem to have no parasite problems.
  5. haemony

    haemony Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2011
    My birds have three dust bath boxes in the covered part of their coop. I made wooden boxes from thick deck wood exactly the same way I'd make a raised garden bed. They are 2' x 2' and about 10" high.

    The original boxes were made with plywood but the birds kept perching on them so I made new boxes with thicker wood and sanded the edges. I fill them with play sand, sifted garden soil, and ash from the wood stove. I used to use DE until advised on the natural chicken keeping thread that it's better to use wood ash.

    This "room" in my chicken coop is about 8' x 16' so it's a pretty good size to fit dust boxes. If the area was smaller or in an uncovered run, I'd have only one and keep a plastic hoop cover over it. They have other dust bath areas outside of the coop but these are great for times when the flock is confined. I just took a few photos and as you can see, one of the boxes is occupied even though the rest of the flock is outside in the run.


    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013

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