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Dust Baths for Chickens

Dust Baths for Chickens
It is Saturday...we must bathe!

It is Saturday…we must bathe!

Dead chickens? No! They are bathing in dirt! With our warm weekend temperatures, the chickens were able to free-range and take their Saturday bath! Dust-bathing allows chickens to clean themselves by spreading dirt all throughout their feathers absorbing oils and excess moisture. Think spa treatment for chickens!

The first time I saw this strange occurrence, I stumbled on one of the chickens in an area of my garden where nothing had been planted. Upon first glance, I thought the chicken was dead. Then it began to thrash about and my thought was that it was near death. Seizure? Then, I remembered reading about chickens dust bathing. Once I realized the chicken was not dying, I was able to sit back and watch the show.

Luckily for the chickens, they enjoyed the warm temperatures this weekend, we are having freezing rain today! Crazy!

Please enjoy the short video below and see what you think about bathing in dirt!

Blessings….Lucy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4ab9Ov02kk[/youtube]

Dust Bath for Chickens

Dust Bath for Chickens
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Soon after I moved my chickens into their coop (from the laundry room), I decided they needed a dust bath. I had read about the benefits of a dust bath and knew my girls just had to have one. Taking the lid from a large storage box, I added dirt and diatomaceous earth. Watching daily, I was certain the girls would dive in any moment to “bathe”, riding themselves of parasites and excess oils on their feathers. My chickens walked around my makeshift dust bath, and pecked at the dirt occasionally, but roll around in it, no way!

One day when the girls were free-ranging, I happened to notice them next to the house. One by one they rolled around in the dirt underneath some bushes next to the brick. The girls took turns rolling around and then walked away covered in dust. Suddenly, their feathers would lift up and they would shake, kind of like a dog, dust flying everywhere.

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A few days later, I notice Phyllis, our Polish hen, in my garden box rolling around. Baby, the nosy Plymouth Rock, is checking out the bathing process.

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Our Buff, Ashley, also got into the dust bath by the house. She left her dust on for a long time. You can see her backside has dust clinging to the feathers. The photo of her face is a little harder to see but she has dust all around her eyes. She was so funny looking!

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Benefits of dust bathing:
1. Removes excess oils from the chicken
2. Feels good to them
3. Helps with parasites such as lice and mites (adding ashes especially helps with this)

There are lots of sites that tell how to make a dust bath and what ingredients to put into it. The basics are dirt, ashes, and diatomaceous earth. I am thankful that my chickens made their own and are using it! Smart girls!

Blessing….Lucy!