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Make a Chicken Dust Bath

Chicken taking a dust bath

Why do Chickens Need Dust Baths?

As we mentioned before, chickens need a good dust bath as part of their coop setup. Dust baths help keep chickens’ feathers clean and prevent the spread of lice, mites, and other pests throughout your flock. Your hens will burrow down into the dirt, flapping the dust up under their feathers. 

How to Make a Dust Bath for your Chickens

  1. Find a good container. It should be shallow enough that chickens can get in and have plenty of room to flap around. Make sure it’s sturdy and won’t blow away. Chickens like to bathe in groups, so it should ideally be large enough for several hens at once. Alternatively, you can make a dust bath on the ground, ringing it with stones or logs. 
  2. Use dry, loose topsoil as your base. The dirt must be loose and generally fine enough that your hens can toss it up under their feathers. Then, add sand and sifted wood ash. You should make sure that any ash or charcoal you use has not been chemically treated.
  3. Use a small amount of food-grade diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth, or DE, is one of the best ways to keep pests off of chickens.
  4. Bonus: add herbs! Rosemary, mint, and lavender are all great options and help keep pests at bay.

Get your Chickens to Use your Dust Bath

Your chickens may not want to use your dust bath at first if they have already established another area they regularly bathe. You should place your dust bath in a sunny location that is out of the wind. Secondly, try to block off old dust baths so your birds cannot get to them. You can also incentivize your birds by placing treats near the dust bath to draw them to the location.