Chicken & Egg Issue 14 - page 51

The ultimate
spa treatment...
51
Chicken & Egg. Welfare and Food Together.
There is nothing nicer on a warm summer
day than watching hens dust bathing.
We can almost forgive the craters they
create in our flower borders and gardens
for the sheer joy of seeing hens
engaging in this wonderful activity,
although re-homers new to hen keeping
can find it a little disturbing and we
occasionally get phone calls reporting
that the hens are having a fit!
Hens close their eyes and roll in the dip they
have created, throwing loose soil over
themselves, but why do hens dust bathe?
Well, intrinsically hens are very clean
creatures – they love to preen and groom
themselves. Dust bathing is the way that they
clean their feathers. The process helps to
control parasites and prevents the feathers
becoming too oily. Hens prefer dry loose
soil or sand and often choose the ground
underneath their coop.
In the summer it’s easy for hens to find
somewhere to dust bathe, but it’s important
they keep clean in the wet winter months
too. Providing a dry dust bath for your girls
using a cat litter tray with a mixture of sand
and dry soil is a relatively simple solution
and is also the perfect way to introduce
Diatomaceous Earth dusting powder which
will treat them for red mite while they enjoy
their bath.
Be prepared for your hen to be very dusty at
the end of the process, then stand back and
watch as she shakes just like a dog!
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