Why Do Chickens Need Dust Bath?

Do you wonder why your chickens are tossing dust into their feather? You may be surprised to see them writhing and squirming around in the dirt. While it may be amusing to you, the act of tossing around in the dust is also essential for chickens.

But, why do chickens need dust baths? Chickens practice dust bathing to keep their feathers clean. The act also keeps them free from lice, mites, and other parasites. Primarily, a chicken’s dust bath is equivalent to a shower. As strange as that may seem, they get dirt to clean and keep their feathers and skin safe.


What is a Dust Bath?

When chicken feels gritty or dirty, they’ll dig a shallow ditch into burrowing and throwing dirt on themselves. They continue in the process until dust covers their feathers and settles down into their skin. It is believed that the dirt will absorb oil and moisture, and block the parasite’s breathing pores present on the chicken’s skin.

Then, they’ll stand up, shake out all the dirt, and preen themselves before getting on with their regular lifestyle. Hence, chicken’s method of cleaning their body using dust is known as a dust bath.


Why do Chickens Need Dust Bath?

Just like we shower ourselves or the way we would bathe a dog, the same applies to chicken. Dust bathing is the way chickens will keep themselves clean. Also, it helps to repel external parasites (like mites or lice) and other nasty creepy crawlies. So, dust bathing is essential for chicken’s health – makes them hale and hearty.

Besides, dust bathing is also a time to relax and a social pastime for chickens. Most times, you’ll see your flock bathing together – writhing, flapping, squirming, and tossing.


Ideal Dust Bath for Your Chickens

In case you’re wondering how they’ll get a dust bath, they create a natural dust bath in most cases. They can go to a corner of the outdoor space or under a bush to wallow out their dust bath.

But if you care, you can provide a dust bath for your chicken. You can do this if you live in town or an area where your chicken has no access to a yard. Also, you can provide a dedicated dust bath for your chickens if you want to spare your lawn or landscaping. Decide how you want your chickens to dust bath quickly before they decide for you. They may not consult you before wallowing in a spot that is not convenient for you.


Is Play Sand Okay for Chickens?

Sandbox sand or play sand Is generally not considered good for chickens. It contains to much dust, and will affect the birds respiration.

Using regular plain dry dirt will be better.


Do chickens need dust baths?

Dust bathing is a chickens way of keeping clean. It is also an essential part of their normal behavior. So yes, chickens need dust baths. Studies show using any type of dirt in a dust box will reduces a load of external parasites with as much as 80-100 % compared to chickens without access to dust bath areas.

The same study shows that if you remove a dust bath with diatomaceous earth or kaolin clay the parasites will come back quickly. Dust baths with sulfur were shown to have a residual effect up to months after they were removed.


Dust Bath Maintenance

Wherever you set up a dust bathing for your chickens, ensure the area is always clean. Clean out flock droppings often and refresh the contents completely every few weeks.

If you want your chickens to be super clean and bug-free, provide them with proper dust bathing facilities.