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Dust baths, pure dirt?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cake lady hen lover, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. cake lady hen lover

    cake lady hen lover In the Brooder

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    Inside my pen gets quite poopy as the ground is covered with chicken wire, and then a layer of sand for drainage. I was thinking on the days I don't let them out to roam the woods (have to be here to watch for fox) can I put a cat litter box of dirt in their pen for dust baths? Should I add sand or any other material for a healthier, more effective bath? Is the purpose of the dust bath to get rid of mites?
     
    Aliamelody likes this.
  2. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Feather & Fur Whisperer Premium Member

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    I use a baby pool filled with construction grade sand, not play sand. My flock loves it!!!!
    If you don’t have sand, then topsoil or just plain dirt would work. A kitty litter pan may be too small......good luck and have FUN with your flock!
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
  3. Thechickentrainer1999

    Thechickentrainer1999 Chirping

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    Good question. I plan on making a dirt box as well for my new coop. I plan on getting some boards and screwing them together and filling it up with fresh clean dirt. The only problem I am having is figuring out where to get the dirt.
     
    Aliamelody likes this.
  4. HenHouse4Life

    HenHouse4Life Songster Premium Member

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    Ash, from a woodstove, bonfire etc..... natural bug repellent as well (including lice/mites)
     
  5. Thechickentrainer1999

    Thechickentrainer1999 Chirping

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    Make sure that they're not cedar ashes right? Or is that okay since they're burned?
     
    Aliamelody likes this.
  6. Clousic Chicks

    Clousic Chicks Chirping

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    Ours have always found a place in our run that they turn in to their "bathing" area. Usually, it's right under the ramp into the coop, but also under the coop...for some reason they don't poop as much there! I've tried the sand, setting up a special place, etc., and it's never worked...they make their own way. I'm just always thankful that they actually take a bath!
     
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  7. OhZark Biddies

    OhZark Biddies Crowing

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    I buy a large bag of peat moss / sphagnum for $7 and use that for the dust bath, because it's hard to come by "dirt" at my house... too many rocks. I add ash from the grill from time to time as well.

    But to your question, "pure dirt" will be fine.
     
    Aliamelody likes this.
  8. OhZark Biddies

    OhZark Biddies Crowing

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    it's the off gassing from the cedar chips that is the issue, often as a result of decaying... so burned cedar would be fine, as the chemical compounds that can cause respiratory problems for chickens would be broken down in the process of burning
     
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  9. HenHouse4Life

    HenHouse4Life Songster Premium Member

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    I've never used cedar so I can't answer that and be honest about, sorry.
     
    Aliamelody likes this.
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road 5 Years

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    My understanding is that charcoal briquettes have a lot of chemical additives that would not be healthy for chickens. If you are burning wood in your grill, that ash would be acceptable, but I'm also guessing that any ash from a grill would be quite greasy. (might give the chooks a complex if they come out of the dust bath smelling like BBQ chicken!)

    To OP: Is your run a walk in style? If so, have you considered converting to deep litter? My birds dust bathe in the DL on all but the wettest days.
     
    Aliamelody and OhZark Biddies like this.

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