So you’ve made the chicken coop. You’ve bought the chickens. And now you are wondering why on earth they are flicking dirt all over themselves. Before you go off thinking they are protesting against your chicken run design, don’t panic. Your chickens are actually cleaning themselves. Before we show you how to make a dust bath for hens, here are the benefits of adding one to the chicken run.
Benefits of a chicken dust bath
Regardless of how hard you might try, mites and lice love poultry. If your chickens become infested with these nasty parasites, they can suffer discomfort and itching, malnutrition as well as sickness.
Helps prevent mites and lice
Adding a dust bath for hens to the coop run is a great way for chickens to naturally ward off the invitation for lice and mites.
A dust bath allows the chickens to crouch their belly down into the dust, scratch into the soil, and flap the dust over their feathers. The dust assists in removing excess oil and making the body of the hen less desirable for fleas, mites, and lice.
A dust bath is effective against lice and mites because the fine dust congests the mites’ airways and pores. So if your chickens have access to a good dust bath when they want, you will find less evidence of such parasites on your poultry.
Its also about the look
Once your hens are happy that they are covered sufficiently in the dust, they will commence preening themselves. They use the oil secreted from the gland near the tail base to smooth over their feathers. They will also remove unwanted feathers.
The social factor
Hens also love to socialize. And having a dust bath attracted others in the flock. Think of it in a similar way to having a chat at the hairdresser.
Make your own dust bath for hens
Time needed: 20 minutes.
How to make a chicken dust bath
- What you’ll need
To make a dust bath for hens you will need a plastic wading pool or short wide bucket approximately 24″ in width and 8″ deep. You will also need fine, clean dirt or sand. Finally, you will need diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is not only entirely natural being made from fossilized algae diatoms remains but is also a well known natural insecticide.
- Let’s get digging
Dig a hole just slightly larger than the shallow bucket size. Once finished, place your bucket in the hole.
- Drill some holes
Drill a 4 – 6 holes in the base of your bucket to allow rain water to seep out the bottom.
- Fill the bucket
Use your clean fine dirt or sand to fill the bucket almost to the top.
- Mix in the diatomaceous earth
Add in one cup of earth and mix well with the dirt/sand.
It really is that simple. Other ideas you can use instead of a plastic bucket are things like an old broken terracotta pot or the base of a wine barrel. Regardless of what you choose as your preference for the container the dust bath is in, make certain to add the natural benefit of the diatomaceous earth.
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