KItty Litter as a dust bath??


8 Years
Jan 15, 2013
I have about 7 young chickens that are about 21 wks old. Right now they are in a pen with a dirt floor until I get their final coop& run built in which I plan to add sand. I've never seen them dust bathe but I let my younger ones in to visit for a bit yesterday and they immediately started trying to scrounge up enough dirt in a pile to bathe. Later on I seen a few of the older ones trying it out. I was wondering if I should add a big pan of some kind of litter for them to roll around in since that would be easier for them. The dirt seems a little hard even tho they do scratch around for their food. There just doesn't seem to be enough loose for a good bath. If I use the litter, is there a kind that is better. I don't want to put anything in there that would harm them.
I'm no expert but I can tell you, chickens will eat dirt. They'll peck out small pebbles that act as grit. Most kitty litters have deodarizors in it. I don't know what these litters are made of but I don't think it's sand. All I can say, read the ingredients and decide if you want your peeps eating it. Remember, I'm not claiming to be an expert, it's just an opinion. Good luck with your peeps:)
I'm sorry, I forgot to mention play sand. I get it from Home Depot. A 50 pound bag is $3.43. Perhaps you could provide them a pan of playsand. They'll dust bathe in it and pick fine particals out of the sand. You want to look for washed playsand. There's talk on this forum about silica. There's not enough to worry about as all sand has silica. Mine have it in their run which is over concrete
You can help them out by turning a small area. They should then take over and turn it into a dust bathing area.

If you do go to the pan with litter I would buy the cheapest brand you can find that is nothing more than clay no other additives. I would also mix some play sand in it.

I will tell you one winter it was especially snowy and the birds had not been out for a while so I did a dust bath pan, well all they did was get in it and scratch the dirt six ways to Sunday! They did then decide that the pine shavings would be a good temporary solution.
Most kinds of kitty litter are toxic if eaten, so a bad idea.

My chickens just scratch at the dirt until they make a nice sized wallow.

When the dirt is too frozen to scratch in I will dump a bucket of wood ash into their area (no toxic treated wood or plastic etc.). they love playing in the wood ash, and supposedly it helps kill off some parasites too.
I used wood ash, plain clay litter( no additives) and a T of DE. I was out of sand but their bath "tub" was pretty dirty and needed a spiffing. Mixing it all up makes it dustier. The hens are fair weather girls and dislike the snow but this gave them something else to do besides complaining about Wisconsin.

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