should I provide a dust bath?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JenO, May 11, 2010.

  1. JenO

    JenO Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2010
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    Went out to check the chickens this morning and had to catch Tootles, my yellow EE chick to check under her wing. I thought she was covered in black bugs, but it ended up just being bits of mud. It's been raining so the ground is wet (altho not muddy), is she trying to dust bath in the wet dirt? Should I provide them with a tub of potting soil or sand or something so she can 'bathe' and end up a bit cleaner rather than dirtier? It was just under her one wing. She didn't look particularly dirty on the rest of her, which is why I thought it was a parasite or something at first.
     
  2. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got a black tub at Lowes, its actually used for mixing concrete and is available in two sizes. It is realy heavy duty plastic so will last and is quite inexpensive. I fill mine with a mix of soil, sand and some DE. They will have lots of fun in it, stay clean and the DE will take care of external parasites.
     
  3. JenO

    JenO Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2010
    Newberg, OR
    Pardon my ignorance, but what is DE?

    thx!
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    DE is diatomaceous earth. Do a search here and you'll come up with lots of threads on it. If you use it, get the food grade kind not the pool grade kind.

    And please feel free to ask any and all questions here. Most everyone here is happy to pass along their knowlege and experience. That's how I learned, too!
     
  5. JenO

    JenO Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2010
    Newberg, OR
    Thanks Elmo, you made me feel welcome. [​IMG]

    So I've got an under bed tote box I'm not using, and I've got sterile potting soil and some play sand (I'll resist the urge to use the ugly blue stuff my FIL bought for the 2 yr old [​IMG]. Would I get the Food grade DE at the feed store?
     
  6. KenCoesta

    KenCoesta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2010
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    Is play sand cool for that, or should real, actual sand be used?
    Been wondering this myself.

    And yeah, where does one score some food grade DE?
     
  7. JenO

    JenO Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2010
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    Well, disregarding the crazy blue stuff, Lord only knows what that's made of, most play sand IS real sand. I used to keep hermit crabs and learned the difference between play sand and 'construction' sand. On a microscopic level, play sand bits are rounded, think tiny river rock. Construction sand has sharper little pieces, more like the gravel they use on roads and such. You COULD use it in a kids sandbox or whatever, but it's more likely to irritate if it gets in their eyes or other sensitive areas. I actually have half bags of both types on hand (the non-play sand is better bedding for pavers and such as it doesn't shift as much) so I'll use my (natural) play sand for them.
     
  8. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can also use wood ashes as a substitute if you have a difficult time finding the food grade DE. It's maybe not as effective against external parasites as the DE, but it's better than nothing. If you don't have a wood burning fireplace, perhaps your neighbors do.
     
  9. KenCoesta

    KenCoesta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2010
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    Gotcha, thanks!
     
  10. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use "all purpose" sand in my runs, not the play sand. I'm wanting the coarser kind of sand there.

    You can check your feed store for the DE, but make sure the bag says "food grade." I've read here about some feed store employees not giving the best advice/information about this.

    Or you can order online. I got mine from Randall Burkey:

    http://www.randallburkey.com/1-LB-DIATOMACEOUS-EARTH/productinfo/10893/
     

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