How early to introduce a dust bath to chicks?


8 Years
Aug 13, 2011
West Georgia
My habit with my chicks is to pour out the last of the crumbles in the feeder and refill it after cleaning with new feed. The 3 week old chicks love to scratch the poured feed in the brooder and devour it (or maybe it's just scattered!).

In the last 2 days, 2 chicks have been trying to take dust baths in the poured crumbles. Super funny.

I mixed up a dust bath based on recommendations here and elsewhere (1:1:1:1 of food grade DE, ashes, sand, and dust) in a shallow container. They are all afraid of it so far...after all, they looked at a slice of watermelon for hours before trying it, but I'm not sure if I should just leave it or try a few hours a day.

Funny story I have to tell you...when I introduced the first watermelon slice, they looked at it from afar, literally staring at it intermittently and seemingly forever. My absolute favorite part though was the "run bys". This is when a brave chick would stare at the watermelon, and suddenly and frantically run past the watermelon slice, almost to see if it would be chased. Love this new chicken keeping.
I just checked on the container and it looks like chicks have been in it. Will post any pics if I catch them in the act!
I also give them a shallow container filled with play sand. They love to eat it, scratch in it and dust bath in it from day one.

This is them the first time I put it in...

Once the brooder bedding is deep enough and of a loose type line shavings the peeps will start to try and scratch and lay down and cover themselves. Mine all start during the first few days. I only have them on a paper towel floor for about two days or until I know all peeps know what food looks like and where to find the water and then I give them soft bedding.
I was in shock the first time I saw my little RR girl flopping around in the corning in the sun in a cloud of dust flopping around. I thought a predator bird or something came down from no where and attacked her. Then I saw one of the other girls go right over there do a 3 stooges act spinning around and fall over drunk I was in shock and could not believe I saw what I saw. What funny little creatures they are LOL

I totally agree and use the same basic formula for my "dust" I provided a dust bath after my chicks started rolling around in their Starter mash at day 3 before I moved it into a regular chick feeder. But I do want to reiterate to only use FOOD GRADE DE and that if you get a bag of dirt from the nursery or hardware store, make sure there is no insecticides or fertilizer in it. Also, I dry it out and then sift it. I know that sounds obsessive, but the first time I did it I found some broken glass and some plastic pieces in it and this stuff was pretty expensive, not the cheap top soil which I now use and never find anything in it.

If you are keeping the chicks in the house, just be prepared for all the DUST!! When you clean the room they are in, and if you have any lung issues at all yourself, get a few N95 rated masks. You can get them at the hardware store or even a Wal-Mart for $4 on up.
I know in the store they sell the pack with a single mask. I prefer the ones with the valve. I also use this when I am sifting their poop out of their "bathtub".

Also when they reached 4 weeks, I ended up getting a "tub" large enough for them all to get in at once. I got some large grit sandpaper to rough up the sides and rim of the box so they wouldn't keep slipping off when they tried to perch on the edges. Not necessary to have one this large, but all my fuzzy butts like to sleep in there at once. I am sure this will change when they get full grown, or just when I move them into their coop, but for now . . .

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