April 6, 2010

A Dustbath For The Chickens

I noticed one of the chickens taking a dustbath in a patch of damp soil in their yard, and thought it might be a good idea to make them a dustbath box for the coop. I did the requisite research online, and found that folks use various mixes of dirt, sand, dust, hardwood ash, and Diatomaceous earth. I decided to use what I had on hand, which was the sandy dirt that had been used to fill in the old swimming pool, and hardwood ash from the wood stove.

It took a couple of days to dry the soil out, and in the mean time, I found an appropriately sized cardboard box and cleaned out the wood stove.

Once mixed, I placed it in the coop and waited to see what the chickens would do.

Delaware chickens inspecting the strange new box in the coopAs usual, Delawares were first to investigate.

Barred Holland not to be left out on the discoverySoon followed by a Barred Holland

The other chickens coming for a closer look tooAnd then the rest.

To my dismay, they were more interested in eating the sand out of the box than they were in bathing in it. Hmm. Wasn't all that grit I gave them good enough? I decided to wait and see if they figured it out later.

1st box dustbatherI finally found one chicken dustbathing in the box, but also discovered that the real dustbath action was elsewhere in the coop,

Chicken litter makes a good dustbath too... i.e. outside the box. Oh well.


Theresa said...

I have to laugh, even not so intellectually endowed chickens have a mind of their own sometimes!
They are looking quite mature. How old now? Picked out the roo's?

Renee Nefe said...

looks like they're thinking outside the box. lol!

Leigh said...

Theresa, Dan and I like to say they're smart for chickens, they'd just make dumb humans :)

I've ID'd 5 roosters and 3 hens for sure. The Welsummers color out differently as they mature, and of the 6, 3 are roos and 3 are pullets. Then I've seen the 2 white Ameraucanas crow, so there's 2 more. The Barred Hollands are supposed to be slow maturing, but of those 2, one is definitely developing a comb and wattles, while the other isn't. I'm hoping that means I've got one of each. Of the rest, I'm not sure.

Renee, LOL. Too true, too true!

Leigh said...

Oh! I forgot. They're 8 weeks old.

Woolly Bits said...

reminds me of my sister's cat - she bought her a lovely litter tray - but the cat liked the carpet better:((

charlotte said...

This is very funny :-) Perhaps the chickens wanted to dustbathe in something familiar and they have to get used to the sand in the box?

Anonymous said...

So funny! I love chickens, they are quite a study. ;)

Razzberry Corner said...

The more you try to accomodate, the more they'll show you they can do it their way! They are looking pretty big now, when do you expect the first eggs?

Leigh said...

Bettina, oh no! At least there aren't dire consequences concerning where our chickens choose to do their dustbathing business. :)

Charlotte, who knows what goes on in the mind of a chicken. :)

Evelyn, they're a hoot. We never knew how entertaining they are until we had some of our own.

Lynn, their two months old now, so I'm guessing we'll have 1st eggs in July (?). I probably better get to work on those nest boxes because July will be here before we know it!

kaat said...

What a show! Thanks for sharing with us as-yet-chickenless people.

Laura @ LivingOurWay.com said...

What a great gift for your chickens! We just let ours take theirs wherever but we have sandy soil anyway and there are plenty of shade spots for them to pick.

Leigh said...

Kaat, and thanks for sharing about bees with us beeless folk!

Laura, I probably don't really need that thing! Mine get some dust bathing outside, but their yard soil isn't especially dusty. Sandy soil would be great in that regard.

Robin said...

How funny. Chickens sure are a hoot.

Leigh said...

Robin, isn't that one of the reasons we love them so much. :)