Eating the dust bath?!?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MaureenC, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. MaureenC

    MaureenC Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 23, 2011
    I made my 8 week old chicks a dust bath - saw a post on here somewhere but can't find it now - out of peat moss & DE in a great big terra cotta bowl. They started eating it - not just scratching & pecking around, but gulping down big mouthfuls of it like they were starving...

    Why would they do this? I was worried it might hurt them, or fill them up so they wouldn't eat more nutritious food, so I took it out. They were not happy.

    They have plenty of food & treats, and plenty of grit - both mixed into their feed and offered in a separate bowl. And there is always DE sprinkled around in there, so it's not the first time they've seen that...

    Should I just leave it in there & let them eat until they figure out it's no good?

    But then I read somewhere a comment about "I gave up on my chickens knowing what's good for themselves when I came upon my flock eating a block of styrofoam" can't remember who posted that but it sure made me laugh!
  2. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Do you provide grit, by chance? If you don't, they could be trying to acquire grit. It is used by them to grind up food in their gizzards. It helps them better utilize what they eat since they don't have teeth to chew down food into smaller bits, so grit in the crop does that for them.
  3. centurion90

    centurion90 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 16, 2011
    It's possible they're going for the peat moss. Chickens will eat anything and may be thinking youve add a new treat to their diet. I would leave it in their, they should be fine.
  4. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    I have a post that is Things That Chicken Eat That Surprised You and sand is so minor. They need it to help grind the food up. Will not hurt them.

  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Make sure your DE is food grade, and there shouldn't be a problem. They might enjoy some small grass clippings, (no longer than a couple of inches to prevent impacted crop) since they are going for the peat moss.
  6. MaureenC

    MaureenC Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 23, 2011
    Ok, thanks everybody - I will put it back in. Thanks so much for the reassurance! And thanks for the the laughs - that thread about what chickens eat that surprise you is great! [​IMG]
  7. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    My rooster has picked him out a spot where he started digging in a very fertile area. It looks like he's doing the dirt bath. But in the process he's eating the rich dirt. I have to assume he know what he's doing so I left him alone. He's gotten to where every day he goes to the same spot. He's got the hole about 6 inches deep by now. And still eating.

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