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What Do You All Do For Winter Dust Baths?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GardenerGal, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. GardenerGal

    GardenerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chooks' outdoor sand/dust pit gets frozen hard as a rock in the coldest part of winter. Even loose sand seems to get enough moisture in it to freeze hard.

    So my birds end up "bathing" in the shavings in their indoor coop, which I don't think really helps much to remove mites or lice. Sometimes I mix some fireplace wood ash or "sweet" (not hydrated/slaked) ground-up limestone powder in with those shavings, but I can't use much because I don't want my birds breathing the fine dust. DE is expensive and hard to get 'round here, so I haven't tried that as an option.

    What do you all do for your birds to provide a decent bug-removing dust bath in the winter, in cold climates? What works for you?
     
  2. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I personally use playsand (dry of course) and DE which keeps the sand dry. Sometimes if you mention it to the place you buy feed they can order DE for you. I had to drive 30 miles one way to get it here then asked about it at fleet farm and before i knew it they started keeping it in stock.
     
  3. larrywatts

    larrywatts Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello
    Diatomaceous earth (pronounced /ˌdaɪətəˈmeɪʃəs ˈɝè/) — also known as DE, TSS, diatomite, diahydro, kieselguhr, kieselgur or celite — is a naturally occurring, soft, chalk-like sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. This powder has an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and is very light, due to its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of diatomaceous earth is 86% silica, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium and 2% iron.

    As you see DE is silica base and silica will not desolve if breathed into the lungs .
    DE is also mined by a company named Eagle Pitcher their product is pehistoric fish bones know as diatoms.

    My chicks dust in wood saving as well.
     
  4. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry i forgot to add that i use food grade DE which is fossil shell flour
     
  5. GardenerGal

    GardenerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, both of you, for the information.

    Larry, are you saying that DE could be detrimental to the chickens' lungs? I read something about that and that is another reason why I have been holding off of using DE.

    I do think that shavings are not enough to remove mites and lice on their own. Sometimes the shavings have small bits of wood, almost as small as sand, and that might do something, but I've always added a bit of lime or ash.

    Chicken addict, I've used play sand in their outdoor dust bath, but maybe I'll try throwing some into their coop shavings! Outdoors it freezes solid, but maybe inside the barn (their coop is a 12'X24' barn) it will stay dry!
     
  6. larrywatts

    larrywatts Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes , DE will not desolve , avery small amount might be okay , but I would be affraid that DE could lead to other issues, Silica is the key word, which sand has as well. DE is a great filter ad.
    Not sure about small amounts of food grade DE will have to look at the MSDS sheet , If you go to 3m's MSDS sheets it give the precaution for using DE.


    Later
     
  7. jab91864

    jab91864 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2007
    Northern Michigan
    I sprinkle DE in the pine shavings but use it sparingly since I can't buy it locally. I add wood ash from the woodstove too.

    Just a word of caution always make sure there are absolutely NO live embers at the bottom of the ash bucket when you dump into the coop.... been there done that.

    The chickens got a fine show of me squealing and dancing on the little embers (they had been at the bottom of the ash bucket for 2 days and should have been out). I can still see them on the roost craning their necks looking at me like OMG can you believe she is doing the Henrietta Hippo dance with the dang door to the coop open lettin in all that cold air....

    Now I use the poker and carefully stir and re-stir the ash bucket to make sure it is out out before going to the coop....

    Even after dancing on them I just knew I would miss one and the coop would burn to the ground. Thankfully I pitch forked the whole interior to turn all the litter, danced again, and lectured the hens profusely on the dangers of fire.... lol

    Julie [​IMG]
     
  8. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    We supplement our winter heating with a corn stove and the ash and clinkers get dumped into a wood box (after they are cold) for the chickens to pick through and dust in. It gives the chickens something to do and me a way to dispose of a waste product.

    Chris
     
  9. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    My dusting box is an old turtle sandbox I picked up on freecycle. I leave it out in the run year-round. I use playsand and DE and it dries out pretty quickly. I think they use the sand as grit too
     
  10. GardenerGal

    GardenerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Julie,
    Believe me, I am very careful with the woodstove ash and make sure the clinkers have totally gone cold and black. Not just because of the risk of fire and burns, but also because of potential carbon monoxide dangers.

    Larry,
    I have to wonder whether silica in all forms is a genuine hazard, particularly in sand intended for human use. Play sand doesn't seem to pose a risk as it's dust free. Maybe masonry sand is the one to be careful with since it does often contain fine dust.

    I'll try just using a blend of play sand and woodstove ash in the coop and see how the birds do with it.

    Coyote,
    I've seen the Turtle sandboxes for kids. Too cute. I can picture my chickens frolicking in one... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009

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