Creating a Boot Dip at Home

The Avian Influenza virus (AI) is a notifiable disease that can be easily spread by wild birds via droppings and fomites. Basically, dust and dander if you’re wondering. However, birds don’t conveniently leave their droppings in one place which means the risk of walking through infected droppings and carrying the virus on your boots or shoes and then onto your own hens is a real risk.

However, there is something that you can easily do to lessen and even eliminate this threat, provide a boot dip at the entrance to your hen house or covered run.

Whilst you can purchase a professional boot dip there are many easy options for making a homemade boot dip out of things you probably have at home already…

How to make a boot dip at home

Most of us have a large plastic storage box or a recycling box that can be used as a makeshift boot dip. You should choose something sturdy, ideally with a lid or cover so that the rain does not dilute or overflow your chosen receptacle.

You need to be able to get your whole shoe or boot into the box to cover the sole and the sides of your footwear (which should obviously be waterproof). Provide a small hand brush to help loosen and remove any mud and bedding.

Dip each foot in turn before you go into your hen run and when you leave. If you have several covered hen runs, a boot dip for each is the ideal option.

A boot dip is only as effective as the disinfectant that you use in it and a DEFRA-approved virucidal disinfectant is what you should choose. Virkon S and Nettex Poultry Virocur are both safe and effective and available in our online shop.

To learn more about how to create your own boot dip at home, check out the video below from Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

If you’d like advice on your hen’s health, why not visit our Hen Health page, where we discuss important things to look for in your hen’s health, whether its personality or physical symptoms. Or, head to our Hen Examination Guidelines where we can show you where to find things like the crop or the wattle.

If you need to seek medical advice, click here to find your nearest Hen Friendly Vet.
You can also call Hen Central on 01884 860084 to speak to one of our rehoming assistants.

Giving a gift today helps fund our Hen Helpline. It helps support hen keepers, giving them the best advice on how to care for their hens. If you have found our advice helpful, please consider giving a gift towards the hen helpline here.

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