Happy hens make happy egg producers. And chickens love to take a bath. But you’re thinking about the saying, “Mad as a wet hen.” So how do chickens bathe?

A dust bath. They love it and it’s one of the most enjoyable sights for the chicken owner. If you don’t believe me, go online and search for videos of chickens having the time of their life getting clean.

Why do chickens use dust for cleaning themselves? It’s their natural instinct. They know that by taking a dust bath, they are ridding themselves of mites, lice and all sorts of┬áparasites. And keeping their plumage looking beautiful. The dust also removes scales and dirt from their skin.

Being the creative bunch that these birds are, they’ll find a way to make their own bath. Even if the ground is hard, they’ll scratch and scratch and scratch some more until they have enough dust to roll around in. But why make them work so hard when you can provide them with a luxurious dust bath fit for royalty?

Now if you free-range your hens, they’ll always find a good spot for a bath like a flower or vegatable garden. If they are confined in a large secured run, you can add enough soil and dust for them inside of their outdoor space. Of course, they don’t want a mud bath, so it’s nice to provide a roof above the tub, so to speak.

There are many ways to provide a dust bath for your chickens. You can use a big cat’s litter box. A children’s wading pool. A large wooden box. Any old metal or plastic container that you don’t use anymore will work just fine. Cardboard does NOT work so well because it can get wet and soggy and the hens may try to eat it.

To make a dust bath, you can put 4 posts into the ground. Have them about 24 inches high and then secure a roof on top. You can have a wooden box bottom or just place the dust on the ground or floor. If you have the bath inside the chicken coop, you won’t need to worry about a roof. Just make sure it’s placed away from their food supply.

The hens aren’t fussy about the dust. Anything will do in a pinch but it’s nice to supply them with loose garden soil. Mixed with sand or fireplace ash. You can add some diatom to the mixture. That’s a mite-ridding powder. Food-grade diatomaceous earth enhances all parasite removal.

All you have to do is clean on a regular basis as debris and poop may dirty up the bath. Now stand back and watch these birds show you the delight they feel in doing what comes naturally.

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