Enclosed dust bath area

Htwo

Chirping
Mar 5, 2018
29
63
79
SWMO, Nixa
Hi friends. We don't currently have a good set up for our girls to dust bathe in. Although they love the small pan I provide them, it only accommodates one hen at a time, and when she's done, the dirt is usually gone. I'm considering closing in the back end (under the raised house part) by putting up siding on the outside of the back and sides, leaving the inside under the coop open and just placing a 2x6" to hold it all in. Enclosing it will ensure it stays dry, since I use a mixture of ash and dirt. I'd access it by putting a drop down door on the outer backside so that I can add to and rake out without having to crawl inside the run. My question is, do you think ventilation will be an issue in there? It'll probably work out to be 2 1/2' tall, enclosed on 3 sides and top. I could drill some small holes in the back drop door and even the sides, then cover with hardware mesh? Small enough to let air flow through, but not let lots of rain in? Here's a pic of my coop/run if anyone has any other suggestions. We just finished a large outdoor run for them, as well.
20180326_105619.jpg
 

Htwo

Chirping
Mar 5, 2018
29
63
79
SWMO, Nixa
My backup idea is building a box, buying a cheap kiddie pool and fashoning it as an umbrella of sorts for the box. This would have to go in the large outdoor run. The only reason I'd rather do it under the coop is to not lose outdoor run space.
 

jthornton

Free Ranging
Aug 30, 2017
4,231
8,131
532
Poplar Bluff, MO
My Coop
My Coop
Maybe the sides aren't tall enough to keep the dirt in when they kick. I use this under my ramp and it is small enough that they don't kick a lot of dirt out. I think the sides are 6" or so tall. To have two side by side they could scrub each others back... That's Pig Pen taking a dust bath next to the brooder, she covered the whole garage with dust in a few days.

09-18-17.JPG run-06.jpg

JT
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,532
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
I think you may be overthinking the dust bath thing. The floor of your run appears to be dirt. They will dig around in this and make their own dust bath holes. From time to time you can just shovel in a pile of good dust bathing material and they will go to town with it. They really don't need anything fancy. When the ground gets too compacted for this you can break up a small area with a pick or shovel, the girls will love the bugs and worms this unearths as well.
 

Kes

Chirping
Aug 9, 2017
58
78
71
I would first try recycling or buying a cheap storage container and cutting a hole in it to see if they even like using a dust bath with a cover on it. Mine seem to mostly like theirs when the sun is shining on it and it warms the sand a little. Right now I'm using one of those plastic backyard ponds because I found one cheaper than a kiddie pool or sandbox.
 

Htwo

Chirping
Mar 5, 2018
29
63
79
SWMO, Nixa
There is a small area of dirt, but the problem is we're in the Ozarks hills and what looks like dirt is actually millions of large rocks, just under the surface, waiting to pop up like flowers in the spring. I know that they're not actively trying to dig it up to bathe in it, but they go crazy when I set the current small bath in the coop.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,532
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
Oh, I get the rocks thing... ok, so what if your dust bath was actually a sunken tub, 80s bath style ;)

spa-tub.jpg


In all seriousness though, you could dig in a dish pan or something and fill it with your dust bath material to ground level and then if it spills over or more than one try and pile in, it's not as big a problem.

Under the coop is nice because it stays dry, but I agree with @Kes that the chickens definitely seem to prefer it when the sun is on it.
 

Htwo

Chirping
Mar 5, 2018
29
63
79
SWMO, Nixa
I :lau at the 90's inspiration pic! That carpet tho...

I think I'll cover the back but leave the sides open, as most rain will come in through the back and that way it's not necessarily "enclosed". Digging down may be hard since the coop is set and a 2' deep skirt is buried around it - but I may crawl in there with a hand tool and see what I can do to get it sunken down. Otherwise I'll just put the board up to keep it from spilling down into the run and fill it up!
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,532
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
Oh, definitely don't go digging under your coop if you already have a skirt... my coop is set up much the same and I HATE when I have to get under it for anything! Somehow the food dish always ends up in the furthest corner out of my reach.
 

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