Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Picture of the Day 2/13/2013 Dust Baths

Yesterday's post talked about my chickens scratching up my lawn and leaving more dirt than grass.  Of course, my lawn had been poorly maintained for some time.  I found out that the girls were able to create areas for their dust baths.

Chickens love to take dust baths! They dig a shallow hole, loosen up all the dirt, and proceed to get themselves as dirty and dusty as they possibly can.  They will often lay in the dirt on hot days to cool off.

Dust baths are a necessity for chickens.  They prevent parasites such as mites and lice from finding a home in your chickens' feathers and legs.

If your chickens aren't free-range or their run area doesn't have a dry patch of ground where they can dig a hole, you'll need to provide them with an artificial dust bath. Place a box on the floor of their coop and fill it with 6" of a dusting powder. A typical recipe for the dusting powder:  1 part fireplace ashes, 1 part road dust, 1 part sand and 1 part diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous earth is a chalky power derived from the fossilized remains of microscopic plankton. Although not dangerous to the touch, diatomaceous earth contains silica, which, if inhaled, can lead to respiratory illness. If you choose to use it, make sure you research the dangers for you and your chickens.


  1. Chickens do love to take dust baths! They often find some creative spots to do it in as well :) Crystal is so cute!

  2. We have red volcanic soil and so my light Sussex is more of a Russet Sussex.