Providing a healthy, hygienic environment for chickens to grow and thrive is a win-win for everyone—your chickens will be happy, and as a result, you will be, too. If you’re looking for effective ways to improve the health and well-being of your flock, you can start by making a dust bath!
You may have already noticed that your chickens like to throw dust on themselves, in a similar fashion to the way a dog kicks up dirt after going to the bathroom. But your chickens aren’t just doing this because it’s fun. What they’re really doing is trying to remove parasites like lice and ticks that can grow on their feathers. In other words, they’re taking a dust bath!
Creating a designated place for your chickens to bathe is easier and less expensive than you might think.
First things first, find a solid bin that chickens can comfortably step in and out of. Whether it’s a kiddie pool or a large Rubbermaid container, we recommend anything that is made of plastic, and generally food-safe. You want something that’s easy to clean to keep the dust bath as hygienic as possible.
Once you have your container picked out, you’ll want to fill it with materials that your chickens will enjoy, such as topsoil, wood ash or sand. Chances are, you can find some loose, sandy soil in your yard that will serve as a great base for your dust bath. You can also add some food-grade diatomaceous earth and dried herbs such as mint and rosemary to improve the dust bath’s ability to fight parasites. Mix these ingredients together, and your chickens will have an ideal place to wash themselves off after a hard day of foraging for insects in your lawn and garden.