Dust bath for chicks?


9 Years
Aug 19, 2010
north central indiana
My Coop
My Coop
Some of our 5 day old chicks are wallowing in the bedding so I think I want to put a dust bath in there for them. I have a couple of glass baking dishes (like pyrex) that I can use for it but what is the recipe for babies? I read DE, wood ash and dirt but how much of each? And is it ok for chicks this little?
All you need for baby chicks is a box or bowl of play sand. They will eat the sand for grit and dust bathe in it. I tried a box, but they busted out the sides. Then I used the clay saucer from a clay flower pot. That worked well. The DE/ash/dirt is for when they are older.
A lot of people use play sand instead of wood chips for bedding. Patricia Foreman, author of City Chicks, Chicken Tractor, Day Range Poultry, etc., recommends play sand in the brooder from day one. I am a member of her poultry club, and we all use play sand as she suggests. It contains prebiotics, acts as grit and helps prevent pasty butt. I have heard that the bags of construction sand has silica, and shouldn't be used, but I know a lot of people use it, too.
ok thanks. I've been reading so many posts I can't remember where I saw it but someone specifically said not to use play sand. I wish I could remember where it was. I'll do a quick search because it's bugging me now wondering where I saw and and whether I read it wrong.
gayle65 hi,

not sure we saw the same thing...but I think I saw a posting that said playsand when wet will be very compacted, it is used to make sand castles...it is so fine. If your chicks dust bath got wet and that became a problem, maybe that is what you had seen? Just guessing here, because I think I saw that on byc.
Here's where I read it:

Mommysongbird- you can probably get chick grit from wherever you get your feed, but you're right- don't give the regular bird grit from pet sections. You can also dig up some pebble-y dirt from your yard (nothing too big though) and use that or use construction sand (not play sand). I would say if your chicks seem active and healthy then they are just fine. Even when my chicks were in the brooder, I would give them a bowl of yard dirt every day, and now they have access to my yard, so I have never given them store bought grit.

eta: I realize this is about grit and not dust baths but either way the sand is in with the chicks.​
Last edited:
I am a newbie with my first flock of chicks so take what I say with a grain of sand and google to double check please. I have also read regular play sand is a no no. It has silica (?) in it I believe to make it more free flowing. Very bad for the chickens. The article was referring using sand as a bedding on the coop floor. I used some soil from my organic garden for a dust bath and also gave a clump of weeds with soil/ roots intact. My chicks LOVED it! But then my chicks got coccidiosis and are now recovering. I suspect it may have been caused by wild bird droppings in the garden. I know the robins are out there scratching the fresh turned soil all the time. I think the web-site I saw stating playsand was bad, also recommended construction sand for the coop floor.

This is what came up when I googled myself on My Pet Chicken for a dust bath -
Dust Baths
Chickens love to take dust baths! They dig a shallow hole, loosen up all the dirt, and proceed to get themselves absolutely as dirty as they possibly can. (Don't worry, the shake the dirt off later...) Dust baths are absolutely necessary: they prevent parasites such as mites and lice from finding a home in your chickens' feathers and legs.
If your chickens aren't free-range or their run area doesn't have a dry patch of ground where they can dig a hole, you'll need to provide them with an artificial dust bath. Place a box on the floor of their coop and fill it with 6" of a dusting powder. Ingredients: 1 part fireplace ashes, 1 part road dust, 1 part sand and 1 part diatomaceous earth.

EDITED to add - so I was just at Home Depot for diatomaceous earth. Yes they had it. BUT I read the bag and don't ya know it said toxic to humans and domestic animals and contains silicon. Be sure to read the package before you buy. I ended up at TSC and bought diatomaceous earth there, in the chicken dept.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom