How necessary is a dust bath in winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by UKchooks, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. UKchooks

    UKchooks Chirping

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    I made a lovely dust bath for my chooks' run out of a large plastic container filled with sand and diatomaceous earth. I situated it under the raised coop for shelter, with a tarp over it too, but we had a storm last night, the tarp blew loose and the dust bath has turned into a muddy swimming pool! How necessary is it for the chickens to have a dust bath when the weather is cold and wet?
     
  2. Arielle2

    Arielle2 Songster

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    yes, they like a dust bath all year long.
     
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  3. MotherOfPeepPeeps

    MotherOfPeepPeeps Songster

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    I had the same problem. I ended up buying a food grade plastic barrel, and with the help of my dad and his power tools, removing half of the lid. I use two short pieces of landcape timber to keep it from rolling around and filled it with sand, ashes from my wood stove and DE. It works great and it stays dry.
     
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  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    You know, it partly depends on your region and weather. In my location winter IS rampant lice season. Mild temps and wet weather, here.

    Honestly I skip the DE and consider it a (possible) danger to both my birds and myself. Many other things are just as effective and some even more so... like the wood ash mentioned. (actually in my humid environment... DE is very ineffective).

    Aside from the parasite control aspect... the birds also enjoy dirt bathing. It is a source of enrichment for them and many natural animals do it. So I do think it would be nice if you are able to get a dry location secured.

    If you really can't situate a winter dirt bath... they will deal. DO what works for YOU... we all face different challenges... and adjust as we go. :)

    Good luck!
     
  5. UKchooks

    UKchooks Chirping

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    Thanks all. I think I'll have another go at the dust bath when the weather improves a little. I can get a lid for the container, so maybe it'll just be a case of covering it at night and in bad weather (with some bricks or something on top to stop the lid blowing away). In the meantime, they'll just have to make do with the woodshavings and DE they have on the floor of their coop.
     
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  6. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    Mine have survived fine without having one during most of winter/spring (I didn't have a cover, it was just a small raised garden bed, so it would get wet and they couldn't use it again until it started drying).

    I now have a covered kid's sandbox so when weather is suitable the cover comes off and the chickens get to dust bathe.
     
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  7. Shadrach

    Shadrach Crowing

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    It's always necessary for chickens to dust bath. They need to remove the dirty old oil that accumulates on their feathers, or the feathers lose their condition.
     
  8. UKchooks

    UKchooks Chirping

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    I actually have one of those. However, I also have three young kids, who probably shouldn't be building sandcastles with added chicken poop! Mind you, the kids won't be using it till the weather warms up, so I guess the chickens could have it in the meantime, with a thorough scrub and disinfect before the kids get it back...
     
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  9. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    I'd get a second one, something cheap should be fine, instead of letting the chickens share one with the kids!

    Mine was a freebie, neighbor's kids outgrew it so they had it out on the curb for the taking. Maybe you can check around yard sales for a cheap one?
     
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  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Making Coffee

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    My chickens usually find a spot to get their own going. Either in the gravel, or in dry donkey poop. I gotta watch my step sometimes.

    Dust baths are necessary if your birds have external parasites to keep them under control.
     

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