How to Make a Dust Bath for Chickens
Updated: Aug 14
Roxanne taking a dust bath
I love to see people’s reactions when they ask how I bathe my chickens. When I tell them that chickens love to take baths in the dirt, they give me a puzzled look and usually ask a few more questions. I remember the first time I saw a chicken dust bathing...I thought for sure she was flopping around to her death. Little did I know, she was probably having the time of her life! When I learned that chickens get dirty to get clean (strange I know!), it made so much more sense.
Why Do Chickens Dust Bathe?
Chickens learn at an early age that when their feathers start feeling a bit dirty, it’s time for a bath. They usually dig a shallow little hole and will burrow down into the loose matter (dirt, dust, sand or whatever they can find) and start happily flipping that said material all over themselves. They continue this action until the dirt has settled down into their skin and has covered their feathers. They do this to keep little bugs like mites and lice away. Once they think they’re “clean” enough, they stand up and shake off like a dog shaking off water after a dip in the lake. They will usually do a little preening (using their beaks to clean off any excess) and move on to their cute little routines for the day.
Chicken baths are sometimes a social event where multiple chickens will roll around in the dirt together. Chickens are very social birds and don’t like to miss out on anything exciting in the coop or yard.
How to Make a Dust Bath for Chickens?
Honestly, I could build the coolest dust bath in the world and some of my girls will still roll around in a patch of dirt or even their bedding. Chickens are curious little creatures and have minds of their own. However, with that said, I still like to provide them with all they may need to stay healthy and happy.
My daughter and I worked together to create this little dust bath and the girls are going wild over it.
Chicken dust bath kit:
Baby pool (You could also use a galvanized tub, large wooden crate, sturdy plastic bins, old tires or lids from a sandbox.)
The girls checking out their new bath
We had everything on hand at home beside the baby pool, so we purchased that at our local farm supply store. When using wood ash, make sure it’s simply wood ash and not ash that has had chemicals in it such as lighter fluid in it. Gather your materials and simply mix them together. I used Preen Queen to help remove excess oil from their bodies. It contains zeolite, diatomaceous earth, peppermint and citronella essential oils. Simply add this product to your dust bath area to keep their feathers clean and pristine.
Strong Animals Chicken Essentials has carefully formulated all of its products to ensure the safety of your backyard poultry. Preen Queen uses peppermint and citronella essential oils to keep everything smelling fresh. To maintain your dust bath, clean out droppings regularly and replenish the “dust” materials every few weeks or as needed.
Just about every time I head out to the coop, there’s at least one chicken in the dust bath. They have taken full advantage of their new “powder room” and it makes me so happy!
Reba giving the bath a try. I think she likes it!
Dust baths are super important for the health of your chicken. Lice and mites and other bugs can quickly make a chicken really sick. By taking regular dust baths, your girls’ will naturally combat these little pests!
Until next time,
-The Wing Lady