Why Do Chickens Need a Dust Bath?
Whether it's glorious summer sunshine or miserable wet and muddy wintertime, your chickens will benefit from being able to bathe with dust.
Video 12 in our #AskPhill series looks at easy ways to create a dust bath, what to use in their dust bath, to help your flock keep in tip top condition in spite of all the mud!
You can find Dustbath options, and Playsand for them, in our Chicken Dustbaths & Activity Centres section.
It’s a personal hygiene thing. Chickens need dust baths to keep themselves clean and healthy. Chickens naturally produce oil on their skin that attracts dirt and debris, which can lead to skin irritation, infections, and pests like mites and lice.
To a chicken, taking a dust bath helps them keep clean by removing excess oil, dirt, and parasites from their feathers and skin. It also helps to control humidity and moisture on the skin, which can reduce the likelihood of bacterial or fungal infections.
During a dust bath, chickens use their beaks to dig shallow holes in the soil or sand and then vigorously flap their wings, creating a cloud of dust that they then roll and wriggle around in (we think Phill’s impersonation of a wiggling hen is particularly entertaining). The dust particles effectively suffocate and remove any parasites that may be present on the chicken's body.
Another plus point of a dust bath is in stress relief. Like us, a good soak in a bath relieves the stresses of the day. It is a natural behaviour that can provide entertainment and stress relief for birds and is very good for them when they have to be confined to a run area.