UPDATE: *with pics* The Bathing Experiment - Dirt or Sand?

DazeGoneBy

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 25, 2011
212
9
91
I've read on here to put sand in for dirt baths. We currently have "river sand" in the run, which I think will drain rain away nicely, but with the bigger gravel than "play sand" is not condusive to chicken baths.

When we let them out to free range, they run right to my flowerbeds and take a dirt bath. So, I'm confused...do they want fine sand, or dirt, to bathe in?

So, I will scrape up a corner of their run and put in play sand. BUT, I will also get a big 10 gallon plastic tub and fill it 3/4 full of potting soil and put that in their run. Hubby is worried if I put dirt down in the corner of the run, it will just wash away/turn to mud, so keeping it conained in the tub is a better idea.

I will mix both with DE to make for a nice mite-busting bath.

I will report back with pics. on which the chicks prefer...dirt or sand.

Please let me know if I should be using something other than potting soil...
 
Last edited:

JackE

Crowing
10 Years
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
741
281
North Eastern Md.
My chickens MUCH PERFER to dust bathe in dirt, than sand. We have the same problem as you, with the chickens going where we don't want them to go. Outside of fencing them out of the vegetable garden, We gave up on the rest of the yard. Unless you keep them penned up (I don't want to do that) or fence all your flower gardens, This is part of the joy of chickens.
Jack
 

DazeGoneBy

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 25, 2011
212
9
91
Hubby just called from Home Depot...he was reading the contents off the bag of potting soil and it seems it is mostly made up of chicken poo and cow manure.

So, Peet Moss it is! Thanks, Flowergirl60!
 

SC-ChickMom

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 21, 2011
194
7
91
Lexington
You could also add the ashes from a fire or the grill. I use hardwood coals for grilling. Those can go in the mix. Poultry Mag had a 1pt ashes, 1 part sand, 1 part de, 1 part soil/peat moss for a dust bath recipe.
 

DazeGoneBy

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 25, 2011
212
9
91
Quote:Thanks so much, ChickMom.

Now, I'm wanting to get all scientific-y and put out all 3 and see what they go for.

I'll report back.

Science! Hey....this might make a great experiment for my son's 4th grade science fair.
 

DazeGoneBy

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 25, 2011
212
9
91
OK...
Here are the materials:


First step is take off the run cover so we can get in there:


Scrape out the corner, and put a piece of wood for separation from the river sand. This is about 4 inches deep - goes down to the chicken wire we put under the concrete footing:


Here is a comparison of river sand vs. play sand:


Now, fill a tub with pete moss:


Sprinkle everything with food grade diatomaceous earth (DE):


Put it all back together and let the girls in. They voted with their feet! Pete Moss wins.


Maybe they just haven't seen the play sand yet? I'll keep watching!
 

citychickx6

Songster
8 Years
May 14, 2011
1,044
28
151
Loveland
What an interesting experiment. So far here mine head to the spot with the soil and won't even consider dust bathing in sand. I know what they are getting next.... a "bathtub" of pete moss.

Thank you for the information.
 

DazeGoneBy

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 25, 2011
212
9
91
After 3 days, I report back that they spend a majority of their time in the dirt bath (peat moss). Just hanging out. They absolutely love it. So much so, that I feel guilty I didn't put one in sooner!

Play sand still being ignored.
 

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