Dust Bath help. I need help please.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Messipaw, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Messipaw

    Messipaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all.
    I have six hens. Their coop is the red Lancaster that is within a 20x18 run. I also have a small rabbit hutch within the run that my hens have access to. I have a cat litter box in the rabbit hutch filled with sand, ash, and DE. Also in the run I have a covered cat litter box filled with the same dust bath mixture. They won't use them. I check every day to see if they used them to dust bath in and it seems they are not. Any suggestions.
    Thank you.
     
  2. Messipaw

    Messipaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Maybe they don't feel the need to dust bathe? Do you live somewhere that they are able to be outside and get into some real dirt? My chickens are cooped up for the winter (their choice - not mine), and I don't have anything out there for them for dust bathing. They are just fine. I don't know that it is necessarily crucial to their survival if they don't flop around in the dust and dirt every day.
     
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  4. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Are you in a cold area? During cold seasons, birds generally don't dust bathe much. Two of the reasons for dust baths in the summer are to help keep cool and also to deal with parasites, both of which don't apply in the winter.

    I'd also suggest taking the cover off of the dust bins and placing both on the ground. My chickens prefer open areas to dust bath, and they prefer to do it in groups. Make sure your dust bin is big enough for a few birds to fit in.

    It is also possible they have not noticed it yet. If your birds are calm while handled, I would try placing one of them in the dust bin to show them it is there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  5. Messipaw

    Messipaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your replies. We are in NY. Our days and nights have been cold. I thought I read that lice and mites look to host on chickens in the cold as well as the summer. I will see what happens when I change things around.
    Thank you.
     
  6. TheGoodLifeGirl

    TheGoodLifeGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Our hen's only ever use the dust bath in the summer, during the winter they wont use one, usually because they just want to stay warm and dry, which I find difficult to keep the dust bath in...

    Also like someone else mentioned, if they have the run of the yard (or a large space) sometimes they don't feel the need to use it, as they've probably been dusting themselves underneath a tree (which mine do).

    The other is that they simply don't know that's what it's for, but it also depends how long it's been there, it might take them awhile to start using it. As Chickerdoodle13 said, if you haven't already, sometime's placing them in the dust bath will help them establish that they can get in it. I had to do that during the summer when we set down tubs of water for our hens to cool off in. They didn't realize it was for dipping their feet (instead thought it was just for drinking) until I put one in the tub and it was like watching a 2 year old in a paddling pool, couldn't get enough of it after that. Then the rest followed.
     
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  7. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Some chickens, don't dustbathe. How old are they? I know younger birds are less likely to do it. Also, do you live in a cold area? Chickens are less likely to dust bathe in colder conditions and mites are less likely to survive.
     
  8. TheGoodLifeGirl

    TheGoodLifeGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, she's right some birds don't dustathe. but I live in Scotland where Winters sometimes reach in the below 0. And our chickens still sometimes get mites. If the chickens are warm it doesn't matter how cold it is outside, the mites will survive.
     
  9. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    They can definitely get mites during the winter, but generally won't dust bath to get rid of them. That's why a good mite dusting program is always a good idea!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
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  10. Messipaw

    Messipaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are getting very cold days and freezing nights. This weekend I'm going to dust all my girls w DE. Thanks everyone
     

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