Saturday, 11 August 2007

Dustbathing Chickens

Chickens love to dustbathe! The first time it happens can be a bit of a shock if you are not expecting it. Your chickens will look like they are having some kind of fit, rolling around on the floor and twitching. Happily it is all perfectly normal and they are instead having a great time giving themselves a dustbath. The act of dustbathing is the natural way that chickens help alleviate pest issues. With that in mind the dustbath should contain material that is very light, fine, and dry. They don’t need anything special to dustbathe in, just normal (fine) soil, perhaps a bit of sand mixed in. A lot of chicken keepers add a little DE (food grade Diatomaceous earth, NOT the pool kind) to their dust bathing areas as a lice and mites prevention.

You may find that your chickens have dug themselves a little hole in their coop / run and are using that as a dust bath. Or perhaps they have found their way into your flower beds! If you would like to make a dust bath for them (particularly if there is nowhere the chickens can make their own) it should be deep enough to hold about six inches of dusting material. The dust box should be placed where sunlight can shine into it, and must be kept free from droppings and other foreign matter such as straw etc.

Here's a short video clip of some chickens dustbathing

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dust-bathing can be a source of humor. When Jeff interupted a dust bath the pullets started to run. Oh dear! Mary (yes all three are named) was limping as she tried to flee. In an act of great concern he gently picked her up, sat on the lawn with her on his lap. He started looking for signs of injury or a wound. She jumped away, still limping, so he grabbed her back onto his lap where she quickly shook about two cups of dirt out of her feathers and onto him....and even more than that landed on the ground. She then ran off without a limp.

Yes, she was just a bit weighted down by her bath and was just fine.

Great chicken fun!!!

My grandkids love the three chickens. The only problems I have is when I let them roam the back yard I have to keep them away from the tomatoes (they love to eat the red, ripe ones) and the patio - since they love to sit (and poop) on the padded patio swing. I keep a spray bottle handy for that since they don't like to be sprayed.