Do I have to teach them to dust bathe?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kellyjeanne, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. kellyjeanne

    kellyjeanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2016
    My Coop
    My pullets are now 11 weeks old and fully established in their coop and run. The floor of their run is grass clippings, raked leaves, and random lawn detritus which they love - and in the back corner, I made them a sand box that has dirt, sand, DE, and will have wood ash now that it's cool enough to have a fire at night. I've put a few of them into the dust box area and they just walk through and hop back out. Do I have to somehow teach them to dust bathe?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  2. SueT

    SueT Chicken Obsessed

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    No, they'll dust bathe when (and where) they have the urge to.
  3. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2016
    34.560847, -81.154203
    My Coop
    It's instinctual, They'll start when they feel the need.
  4. kellyjeanne

    kellyjeanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2016
    My Coop
    Ha, "and where." I'm hoping they take to it as there is no other dusty spot in their run...but I'm fully ready to deal with them choosing somewhere else. I used to be a horseback riding instructor and it would always make me laugh when my students would say things like, "My horse has a mind of its own!!!" Well, yes....yes he does....and I know my chickens do too..albeit very small ones.
  5. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Chickens are very particular where they dirt bathe. Ideally, they will choose your flower beds or vegetable garden.

    Actually, over the years, I've noticed they choose spots with loose, slightly damp soil in sunny, protected spots. any medium will serve their needs, but the dustier the better. Peat moss is a huge favorite, as is sand, and loamy garden soil. They don't seem to like to dirt bathe in cool shady spots, even on hot days. So if you build them a dirt bathing pit, make sure it's in a sunny location.

    As to being "taught". Chicks as young as a few days old will dirt bathe if they feel the urge, whether it's in wood shavings, sand or even their own dry crumbles.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
  7. FarmerTony

    FarmerTony Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2016
    Mine prefer two spots, one is dry and dusty out in the sun, and the other is the sawdust pile which is cool and shaded. They will also make spots. We have hawks in the area, so they are never far from cover.
  8. kellyjeanne

    kellyjeanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2016
    My Coop
    I noticed my EE (the biggest of my 5) dust bathing yesterday RIGHT NEXT TO the spot I made for them - she was pecking at the dirt to loosen it up even though there is a plenty dusty spot right by it. I'm hoping that as the litter in the coop gets deeper, she'll go into the place I made.
  9. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    Ha! As you said, they have "minds" of their own. Luckily, I have finally gotten them to abandon the little ravine where I used to throw the dog poo :rolleyes: in favor of an old kiddie pool (bottom removed so it will drain) full of peat, sand, and wood ash.

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