Is this dust bathing?


Mar 29, 2015
My chickens are 3 months old. I had them outside all day today and it was cold. I took them in for the night though. We went out there and my barred rock was laying in the wood chips and she spun in a circle while laying down, and then layed on her side. Is that just dust bathing?
Hey there 5lovelyhens it sounds like she could be trying to dust bathe but wood chips are probably not the best spot

My gals will turn in a circle and use their wings and beak to throw the dust over themselves and anyone else close by; then they like to wander over to our back deck, have a shake and deposit a nice mess
Did she get up afterwards and walk ok? The reason I ask is that paralysis of a leg or wing can cause that sort of behaviour otherwise I think it's safe to assume it's just dust bathing. Do they have a more suitable area for dust bathing? It might be worth checking them for lice and mites.
I'm using small animal bedding I got at Petco. I'm going to buy them regular bedding when this runs out. I don't know if it's considered wood chips. They're called natural aspen and they're soft. But anyways, yeah she's walking fine. How do I check for lice and mites?
They love to dust bath and in the winter there's just not much dry dirt or sand for them to do it in. You can use a mixture of dry dirt and wood ash (I use Diamateous Earth in my mix too.) and put it in a shallow pan in there coop or run. (You don't want it to get wet, it defeats the purpose.)
So it's shavings rather than wood chips. It sounds like dust bathing then. Ideally they like to dust bath in dry earth. They will scratch up the soil in an appropriate area creating a dimple in the ground and flick the dry soil over themselves, wriggling and fluffing their feathers as they do so. The fine soil helps to dislodge any lice in their plumage. If they are confined to a run and there is no suitable place for them to do this (perhaps it's too wet or a concrete base), you can create a dust bath area for them using an old baby bath or something of a similar size filled with a mixture of sand and soil and wood ash or Diatomaceous earth (DE)

To check for mites and lice, lift them off the roost at night and turn them on their backs and utilising a head torch, check their skin around their vent and under their wings(armpits) and back of their necks.

Mites are usually red because they suck the hens blood. They live in crevices in the coop during the day and crawl onto the chickens at night to feast on them whilst they are sleeping. When you are cleaning out the coup during the day, use a soft brush to sweep into the joint where the roost meets the wall of the coop.... if you have removable roosts, lift them out and sweep the socket and the underside of the roost bar into a dust pan. Tip it onto a piece of white paper or use a white/light coloured dust pan and you should easily see red mites if you have an infestation problem. If you are unsure, crush one with the back of your finger nail and it will stain the paper with blood. Obviously, if there are a lot of these your hens can become anaemic due to loss of blood and this will affect their egg laying ability as well as general health and make them susceptible to other ailments..

Lice live on the hens all the time. They are usually small and grey/brown coloured. They lay their eggs at the base of the feather shafts, particularly around the vent area. If your hens have a problem with an infestation of lice, you can usually tell by the clusters of eggs attached to the base of the feathers.

If you do a search for images of poultry lice and mites before you do it, you will have an idea of what you are looking for..

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