wikiHow to Make a Dust Bath for Chickens



Chickens don't wash with water the way we do. They use soil to clean their plumage instead and it is vital to their health as it is the method by which they remove lice etc.[1] Plus, they enjoy it and happy chickens produce good eggs! Outdoor chickens can usually find plenty of soil to fulfill this purpose but if you have to keep your chickens indoors for such reasons as cold weather or protection of predators, it is a great idea to include a dust bath for them. Here is a quick and easy method to make one.

Steps

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    Find a box made from wood or plastic. Avoid using cardboard because it will not last long around chickens and after it falls to pieces, they'll finish the job off by eating it. Good dimensions for the dust bath box are:
    • Height of sides approximately 15–25 centimeter (5.9–9.8 in) to keep soil in when chickens scratch about
    • The overall dimensions are about 30 x 55cm.
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    Fill the box up with soil. Only fill to about three-quarters of the box height.
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    Place it at the opposite end to the food. This will prevent the chickens from kicking dust into their food when they clean themselves.
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    Check it regularly to clean out bird feces, particles, etc. and to top up the soil as needed. Other than that, stand back and let them enjoy it!

Tips

  • You can also buy a cheap covered cat litter tray. This will keep the soil dry all year round and your chickens will greatly appreciate it.
  • Ideally you should use garden soil. If not, sand makes a good substitute.
  • You could put some permethrin dusting powder in the dust bath to prevent ectoparasites also.
  • Put some diatom (mite ridding powder) in their regular dust-baths, this will just help your chickens rid of the lice/mites.

Things You'll Need

  • Box - wooden or plastic with dimensions set out above. Avoid cardboard.
  • Soil (from garden is fine); or sand

Sources and Citations

  1. The Poultry Guide, Dustbathing Chickens

Article Info

Categories: Chickens