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hen enjoying a dust bath

Winter Dust Baths for Your Hens

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.

You can also make a dust bath using a sieved mixture of wood ash, multipurpose compost and Diatomaceous Earth Powder to provide the perfect spa treatment for your hens.

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.

wooden dust bath shelter
hen dust bath shelter green plastic

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!)

For more information on dust baths and how great they are for your hens, check out our Ultimate Spa Treatment page for your hens.

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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