Chicken Dust Bath: Its Benefits, Recipe and FAQs

Are you worried about your chicken dust bath? Is it a health issue or a natural activity? Let’s find out the cause.

If you are new to poultry farming, you may be wondering why your chickens love rolling in the dust. Chickens do this most of the time for many reasons. You will find it odd, but it is healthy for your flocks.

As a chicken raiser, you will have to give some place for your chickens to bathe. Dust baths are easy to make. 

You will save on the cost of buying shampoos or sprays to clean your flocks infested with lice or other parasites. This article captures all that you need to know about chicken dust baths.

What is a Chicken Dust Bath?

A chicken or fowl is a bird that loves cleanliness. Your chicken will always tend to its body to keep itself clean and free from parasites.

Chickens do this by making holes in the ground where there is loose soil, sand, dust, and mulch. Once they have enough dust, they toss it onto their bodies or roll in it.

The dust bath cleans your chicken’s skin and feathers. It also wards off parasites like lice that are harmful to the general health of your chickens. Sounds weird! This is the equivalent of our baths.

You will realize that your chickens enjoy dust baths. They will do this for fun, to relax, to socialize, and to clean their bodies.

It is important that you create conducive points for them to have their baths. Once you do this, you will save some of your favorite places, like the flower garden.

How Do Chickens Bath in Dust?

Chickens enjoy grooming themselves, and they do this in good dirt or dust. If you have a flock of chickens, you will notice that they will take their dust baths together more often. 

The flocks not only bathe to keep clean but also to relax and socialize. For your chickens to have a dust bath, they will excavate or scratch the ground and make a hole of their size. They then wriggle and flap in the dust or sand and toss it on their bodies. 

Once they are sure their bodies are full of dust, they crouch and wiggle in the dirt. Your chickens will then flap their wings to shake off the dust from their bodies. 

They can also groom their feathers by using their beaks. This helps them to remove any excess dirt from their feathers and body.

Benefits of Chicken Dust Bath for Flocks

Your chickens need a bath as much as you do. It helps them to maintain a clean body and keeps them happy. 

Allowing your flocks to have a dust bath is beneficial to them and you. You will save a lot on buying sprays and medicine to keep them clean and healthy.

Here are some of the benefits your chicken will enjoy from a dust bath:

  • It helps the chickens groom themselves.
  • A dust bath reduces the chances of parasite attacks.
  • It helps keep them cool in the summer when temperatures are hot.
  • Chicken dust bathing creates time for socializing.
  • It helps them relax and regain calm.

1. Dust Bathing Helps Chickens Groom Themselves

Your Flocks need a bath so that they can maintain a clean body. Grooming in the dust is the best way they do this. 

If you keep them in an enclosure that has no loose surface, you will need to provide places for dust baths. Your chickens keep their feathers clean and in a pristine condition by taking a dust bath. 

Chickens produce lipids or oils that make their feathers water-resistant. However, when they accumulate on their bodies, they grow stale.

This makes it hard for the feathers to protect the chicken from heat and water. The chicken tosses sand and or soil on their bodies and feathers. 

They then groom and preen their feathers using their beaks. Preening helps remove excess and stale oils; this makes them clean and attractive.

Once this is done, their feathers regain their clean state. They can protect the chicken from either heat or water.

2. Helps Reduce Chances of Parasite Attacks

Your chicken will be able to keep away parasites and pests by dust bathing. Nothing irritates your flocks like mites and lice. 

These are problematic as they will cause diseases. They may also make your chicken reduce egg-laying, and in extreme cases, cause death.

Hens produce or excrete oils to act as a protection for them against heat or water. These same oils are food for parasites. When the oils accumulate in the feathers, the flock will take a dust bath to clear them off their bodies.

The flocks will not only wash away the excess oils but will also get rid of the pests. Once they achieve this, they will maintain a healthy status.

Also read: Best chicken wormer for healthy flocks

3. It Helps Keep Them Cool When Temperatures are Hot

Your chicken will enjoy the coolness that a dirt shower provides. The dust that your chicken rolls in helps to scrub off excess oils. Once these oils are off, the chicken produces new lipids to help the chicken regulate the temperatures.

You will notice that your chicken will take quite a long time in dust baths when it is hot. It is not the sand or soil that keeps them cool. The sand only helps your chicken regain lackluster feathers, which balances the temperatures.

4. Dust Baths Create Time for Socializing

Flocks, too, need time to socialize. Your chicken will take a dust shower together with others. It is a show of bonding; you will realize that they will share in making a dust bath.

Chickens are social birds, and it is vital you provide some bathing areas for them. Once you do this, the health of your chicken improves. They will also produce eggs until their old age as long as they are free of stress.

5. Helps Them to Relax and Regain Calmness.

Your flocks need to be happy and clean. They lose their happiness and fun when dust showers. The chicken will identify a sunny and safe spot, dig a hole, and take about 20 to 25 minutes in the bath.

If you are keen, you may notice that they close their eyes, relax their wings, and roll in the dust. Though bathing helps the chickens keep healthy, fun makes the flocks live longer.

How to Make a Chicken Dust Bath?

It is important to provide your chickens with good dust baths. You will note that dust baths play a significant role in maintaining healthy flocks. If you fail to provide baths, your flock will make their own.

It is easy to make these baths for your chickens. You will need the right materials and the identification of a suitable place. 

Here you will find the right recipe to make good dust baths for your flocks:

1. Make a Hole or Dust Bath Container

If your backyard does not have loose soil, dig a hole to make a dust bath. The hole should measure about 60 to 65 cm by 20 to 25 cm. Fill the hole with sand, soil, and some ash from your wood stove.

Last update on 2022-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Apart from digging a hole, you may also make a bath container out of:

  • Wood and wooden crates.
  • Use old truck tires.
  • Plastic tubs.

Ensure that they have a deep enough depth to hold your sand and dust mix. Its sides should be short. This will enable your chicken to hop in and out with ease.

Admired By Nature Home Décor Nesting Storage Organizer Wooden Crates, Set of 3, Natural, Rustic Light brown
  • Save
12 Reviews
Admired By Nature Home Décor Nesting Storage Organizer Wooden Crates, Set of 3, Natural, Rustic Light brown
  • Quantity: Set of 3 Country stylized rectangle storage...
  • Dimensions:  Overall measurements: SM- 9 Length x 6...
  • Each Piece has a unqiue stain, and is naturally...
  • These wood crates with cut in handles for easier...
  • Dimensions based on image shown. The actual...

Last update on 2022-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Suitable Place to Put Dust Bath Container

Selecting a suitable place for your chickens’ baths is a daunting task. Your chickens already have a place they love for dust bathing. It may discourage you, but studying your chickens’ behavior will make it easy.

If you watch your chicken, you will have the best idea of where to erect the dust bath. The place should be easy to access, dry, and well covered.

Safety for the chickens should come first as you choose a place for the bath. You may put the bath in your chickens’ favorite place. This will encourage them to bathe.

Once you ascertain your flock is used to the bath, you may shift it to the place of your choice. Move it gradually, taking into consideration that they are not exposed to predators.

Also read: Best electric fence for chicken coops

3. Diatomaceous Earth

Flocks of chickens enjoy a good dust shower. They bathe for fun, grooming, and to keep parasites at bay. The best way to help them kill pests and parasites is to add diatomaceous earth to their dust bath.

Diatomaceous earth will kill parasites like ticks, mites, and lice. It gets into the shells or skins of these parasites, dehydrates, and suffocates the pests. This process assures the chickens are free of parasitic attacks.

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade, 2lb with Powder Duster Included in The Bag
  • Natural Product - Composed of 2lbs of 100% ground...
  • OMRI Listed - Listed with the Organic Minerals Research...
  • Powder Duster Included - Powder duster in the bag for...
  • Supports a Great Cause - Harris donates 10% of profits...
  • Made in the USA – Mined in Nevada and packaged in...

Last update on 2022-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Diatomaceous earth is harmful; extra care is of the essence. You may use a small amount of diatomaceous earth in the baths. 

Cover it with adequate soil or sand and mix it slowly. Doing this will deter it from getting into the air and being inhaled by the chicken.

4. Encouraging Your Chickens for Dust Bath

Encouraging your chicken to take dust showers can be challenging. However, you can save yourself this anxiety by starting them early. Training the chicks for dust baths will encourage them to bathe.

It is also easy to encourage the mature flock into dust bathing. When you set up a new bath, ensure that it is close to their favorite place. Locate the baths where the sun shines adequately all year round.

You have to ensure that the place also attracts your chicken. Plant some flowers or place the bath in a place that resembles their initial favorite bath site. It is a good decoration idea near their coop.

You may try the following methods to encourage your chicken to dust bathe:

1. Use ash from your flame pit, and add some wood ashes to your dust bath. Sprinkle the ash around the bath to make it appealing. Ash is fine, and your flock will love tossing it into their bodies.

Ash is a powerful odor remover. It is also good at oil absorption and removes pests. This makes it a suitable addition to the baths.

2. You can also incorporate the use of herbs. Chickens love a peaceful, relaxing bath free of insect disturbance. 

Using dry lavender leaves and lemon will keep away these insects. In turn, the chickens will find it appealing to bathe.

3. Adding fine sand to the bath will work magic. Your Flocks will love to dust bathe since the sand gives them an ingredient to groom their feathers.

Can I Use Play Sand for a Chicken Dust Bath?

Classic Sand and Play Sand for Sandbox, Table, Therapy, and Outdoor Use, 20 lb. Bag, Natural, Non-Toxic, Wet Castle Building for Creativity and Stimulates Sensory Skills
  • Save
806 Reviews
Classic Sand and Play Sand for Sandbox, Table, Therapy, and Outdoor Use, 20 lb. Bag, Natural, Non-Toxic, Wet Castle Building for Creativity and Stimulates Sensory Skills
  • Premium-Grade Play Sand – Soft and easy to mold wet...
  • Inspire Creative and Imagination – Our play sand for...
  • Home, Classroom, and Therapy Use – This play sand for...
  • Kid-Friendly for Wet and Dry Use – Classic Sand and...
  • Safe for Indoor and Outdoor Projects – While our sand...

Last update on 2022-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Play sand is made of fine particles that your flocks will love in their dust baths. You can use play sand to make a dust bath for your chicken. 

It is cheap, and the chicken uses it as part of their grooming ingredient. It comes in handy in scrubbing off the excess oils.

Do Chickens Dust Bathe In Winters?

Chickens need dust bathing in the winter, just like in the summer. You will have to build a dust bath filled with sand. However, they do not need it as much as the parasites are less active in cold weather.

The sand you put in the dust bath should be deeper for the chickens to burrow. Make it cover about six to seven inches of the materials. This will reduce the amount of dust the chicken will spread over the place.

Since it may be raining, ensure you keep it dry by covering it overnight. Covering the bath will also keep it from freezing. This will guarantee a dry bath for the chickens to bathe during the day.

Summary

Like any other creature that loves cleanliness, chickens enjoy a good dust bath. If you are breeding chickens, you may have noticed how they enjoy wriggling in the dirt. 

Are you ready to make a dust bath for your flock? It is an easy task; you will require a few ingredients to erect a big enough bath for your flock. Once you apply the chicken dust bath recipe well, you will have a healthy flock. 

The menace of parasites and diseases will be a thing of the past. I hope this complete guide helped you to understand about chicken dust baths.

  • Save

I am Bijaya Kumar and I have been raising chickens for the last 10 years. Backyard poultry farming has been our family business for the last 30 years. We raise multiple chicken breeds in their backyard.

Leave a Comment

2 Shares
2 Shares