Topic of the week - Dustbathing

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sumi, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Pic by @fayeoli

    Anyone who'd ever watched a chicken take a dustbath will know that this is an instinctive, important and enjoyable aspect of chicken life. This week I would like to hear what you all, especially the keepers of confined flocks (non-free ranging), do with regards to dust baths. Specifically:

    - From what age on do you provide a dust bath for chicks?
    - What do you put in your flock's dust baths? (Soil, sand, ashes, DE, mite and lice powders, etc)
    - Suggestions for dust baths in coops/runs and over winter?

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    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC

    I just let them use the dirt. Now if your yard has no open dirt---just green grass---you need to add a small kids pool or something where they can have a dust bath without digging out your flower post. My few week old chicks dust bath often.
    thewatsonfarm and Kmm30 like this.
  3. chicks are life

    chicks are life Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 11, 2016
    North carolina
    I have a raised coop and I knew all that space under was being wasted so I took chicken wire coved the bottom hooked it to the run and put sand under it.
    1 person likes this.
  4. BlueShadow

    BlueShadow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2015
    I provide a dust bath for chicks starting at about 4 weeks, when I let them go outside. They dust bathe in the dirt in their run.

    My flock dust bathes in the dirt in their run. We have had some troubles with poultry lice lately, and we now have a wood stove, so I will start adding wood ashes to their favorite dust bathing spot in the run.

    I haven't added a dust bath to the coop over winter, but I want to do that in the future so I look forward to reading other people's ideas on this topic.
  5. e72071

    e72071 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2016
    Long Island, NY
    We actually just added this to our run for our flock. We got a few used tires and put a mix of play sand peet moss with a little DE sprinkled in. We haven't done anything for winter yet so looking forward to seeing what everyone else does.
  6. Kyanite

    Kyanite Loving Life!

    May 27, 2016
    SE Idaho
    I'm definitely going to be following this one. I've always just let the chickens do it the natural way: dig themselves a hole in the dirt. It has worked even in their large indoor-ish run during the winter. But, then a rough spring hit and everything was flooded. The lack of dust bathing areas made for some ratty looking chooks. I need to do something for them for future issues like that.
  7. cra-zchicknlady

    cra-zchicknlady Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 18, 2015
    They use soil for the most part. I watch to see which patch they are currently using, and I'll sprinkle some DE in that section once a month or so.
  8. chicken4prez

    chicken4prez Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 14, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Our neighbours put old tires filled with sand for their chickens. Does anyone else do this or heard of it?
    1 person likes this.
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Well, I don't provide an artificial dustbath for my birds, of any kind. Chickens make their own, even in hard Georgia clay, they can dig one out for themselves. So, I don't. I just make sure they get outside to get their dustbathing, even in winter.

    The only time I put a pan of dirt into any pen is when I have chicks inside as an early coccidiosis preventative. They get the oocysts in the soil in early and small doses and rarely ever contract cocci. But, that's not for dustbathing, technically, though the one and two week old chicks will use it as such.
  10. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

    Nov 4, 2014
    East Tennessee.
    - From what age on do you provide a dust bath for chicks?
    Most of my chicks are hatched by broodies, so they can dust bathe as soon as they get out of the nest with mama. I give my brooder chicks a bowl of dirt when they are a few days old.

    - What do you put in your flock's dust baths? (Soil, sand, ashes, DE, mite and lice powders, etc)
    I use a mix of ash and dirt. Sometimes I throw in some dried herbs too.

    - Suggestions for dust baths in coops/runs and over winter?
    I fill large rubber bowls with the dirt and ash mixture for my birds during the winter. I fill plastic cat litter containers with dirt for my broodies while they are sitting.
    1 person likes this.

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