Dust bath question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mi2bugz, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. mi2bugz

    mi2bugz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I use sand in the coop is a dust bath still necessary? Or would it provide more enjoyment if it was in a separate bin?
     
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, you still need a dust bath area. Mine like to nibble at the sand every now and then and will even make a nest in it but they like a certain spot for their dust baths. Also, they seem to like dirt and ashes much more than sand for bathing.
     
  3. mi2bugz

    mi2bugz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So dirt from a hole I dig or packaged garden soil? Ashes? We don't run a fireplace/Woodstove yet so can ash be bought? I was just going to use a rubber dish pan...should it be larger?
     
  4. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A dish pan is large enough for anything but a giant breed (like jersey giants). You don't need ashes, dirt is just fine. They love the stuff you just dig out from the yard. I have an area in my yard that hadn't grown anything for over 20 years, my chickens claimed it as their dust bathing area and now I have grass there. They are really good at turning soil.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    The dust bathing works in part by the physical actions of the silt and clay particless in the dust. My guess is the particles make is hard for lice and mites to maintain a grip on feathers. The organic / humic part of soil and ash may also have some chemical impact. You can generate some ash by burning a log partially in soil. For some reason the birds eat the ash as well and possibly for the same reason humans do.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Your birds will bathe in the sand just fine. Any place dry is just fine for them.

    Anyplace they can dig a hole where you'll trip and break your ankle seems to be a bonus!
     
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  7. mi2bugz

    mi2bugz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL!

    How do you keep the garden soil, sand mix in the pan? Mine keep kicking it out!

    How many pans should I have for 4 birds? I always have 2 trying to use it at the same time and the other 2 chickens can't get in. Should I add more pans, make it bigger

    [​IMG]
     
  8. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Even on the ground they kick the dirt all over to cover themselves. It seems that all but one of my flock does it at the same time. The one that doesn't stands as a lookout and when the first one is done they become the lookout and the one that was watching takes hers. I now think it is a community thing because I got a new rooster and the hens wouldn't go near him until he decided to dig a dust bath out of the frozen ground. (First time in over 5 years we had a hard freeze here.) Now they treat him like a best friend!
     
  9. mi2bugz

    mi2bugz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are going to be expanding the run this spring so maybe I will factor in a built in dust bath area big enough for more at a time. It seems like 2 of my hens want to get in but the 2 in the pan never let them lol. If the rooster thinks anyone is going in he runs right back to it :(
     
  10. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In the spring on craigslist people are always giving away old kids sand boxes. You could put one of those filled with dirt for them. It would be big enough for all of them while still keeping them from digging a trip hole in the ground. Mine are free range and I swear the best spots for them to dig are also my main walking spots in the yard. Hope they aren't plotting something...
     
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