In this horrible wet weather, there is a shortage of dry dust bath areas for your hens to perform their ablutions. Normally you would find little craters in our flower beds and gardens but from November to March, it’s just not possible for them.
Dust baths are important to keep parasites at bay and to clean the feathers. The process helps to control parasites and prevents the feathers from becoming too oily. Hens prefer dry loose soil or sand and often choose the ground underneath their coop. A child’s sandpit with a lid can make the perfect dust bath when the garden dirt or flower beds can’t provide the necessary environment.
The perfect dust bath recipe:
- Place a box, cat litter box with a lid or child’s sandpit on the floor of the run. You want to put it somewhere it will stay dry.
- Fill your box with about 1 part wood ash (you can also use fireplace ash), 1 part multipurpose compost and 1 part diatomaceous earth.
- Want to add a little treat to your hen’s dust bath? Why not try adding dried lavender into the mix? Lavender is a natural pest repellent that will help to keep away any flies and ants and prevent parasites like mites, lice and ticks from taking hold of your hens. Plus, it’s such a lovely smell.
If your hens’ dust bath area isn’t already undercover, it’s also worth investing in a dust bath shelter to keep the area nice and dry, even during the rain.
Alternatively, keep their dust bathing material in a deep box with a lid, which you can take on and off depending on the weather forecast (although don’t blame us if the forecast is for sun and it chucks it down!)