Providing your chickens with a dust bath area is one of the most important parts to your chicken coop area.
Luckily, creating a dust bath area for them is super easy!
Why a Dust Bath is Important for Backyard Chickens
Chickens will naturally take a dust bath every day to every other day. It is the way they are able to clean oils and dirt from their feathers and get rid of unwanted pests such as mites and lice.
If you already have chickens and either have an outdoor chicken run or let them go free range, you’ve likely seen all the holes that they make!
They will scratch up loose dirt, lay in it, then fluff it throughout their feathers. And no matter how hard you try to keep them from creating dust bath holes everywhere, it’s pretty impossible.
But it will definitely help if you build a dust bath area for them to specifically take their dust bath in.
They’ll still most likely scratch in the dirt but this will help. Plus it gives you a spot to specifically add in materials that are beneficial for your chickens.
The first most common benefit of a dust bath is that is cleans the chicken.
The second most common benefit of a dust bath is that it helps them to get rid of external parasites.
Common External Parasites
- Poultry lice
How to Make a Dust Bath for Chickens
When it comes to making the dust bath it can be as simple or as fancy as you want.
I use an old tractor tire and it works great but there are so many options such as using a kiddie pool or building a wooden box just tall enough to keep the dusting material inside.
There will usually be a few chickens trying to use the bath area at a time so the only real important thing is that it’s large enough to fit a few chickens at a time.
Dust Bath Materials
- Play Sand
- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
- Wood Ash
When it comes to filling your dust bath you can use all of the above materials or just the ones that you want.
Chickens will get the benefit of a dust bath simply by dusting in the dirt but if the dirt is too hard, is covered with grass and weeds, etc. it may be harder for them to fluff in.
So I like to fill my tire with wood ash and diatomaceous earth which is fluffy for them, plus it is great at killing any parasites they have.
In the winter time I have lots of wood ash from cleaning out the fire place regularly but during the other times of the year I will mix sand and diatomaceous earth together.
If you’d like to check out more great diatomaceous earth uses for chickens check out 3 Benefits of Using Diatomaceous Earth for Chickens.
DE can be sprinkled in the chickens nesting boxes, around the chicken run, on the floor of the coop, in their food and even on the chickens feathers as long as you’re using food safe DE.
It helps control odor, parasites, and has internal benefits if consumed.
Summary of How to Make a Dust Bath for Chickens
- Pick a container at least 6-12 inches deep that will fit a few chickens at a time.
- Fill it with sand, food grade diatomaceous earth, wood ash, or a combination of all.
- Top it off as it gets low so chickens continue to fluff in it.
- It will help the chickens stay clean, get rid of parasites, and help keep them from continuously digging new holes.
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