Time For a Dust Bath

November 8, 2013

Chickens like to take dust baths. They shake their feathers and we look at them wondering, what is going on? Dust baths and chickens is just one of those things that go hand in hand.

Chicken on ground

Connie over on Urban Overalls loves the simplicity that owning chickens has to offer. Connie asks, “Chickens: What Is The Deal With Dust Baths?”

Owning chickens is a simple pleasure in life. Living in an urban setting with chickens just seems normal for this farmer’s- daughter-turned-urabnite. For all practical matters, the chickens don’t mind where they live, just as long as they have food, water, predator-proof shelter, and an area to take dust baths.

What? You haven’t hear of dust baths? Now while this doesn’t appeal to all the critters on your homestead or backyard, chickens absolutely love them. And the dustier they get, the more they seem to enjoy it. In case you don’t believe me, I have included a picture showing three of my Marans enjoying a leisurely dust bath (which they decided to do in one of my garden beds).

Three chickens in dust bath

A burning question you may have is, “Why do chickens take dust baths?”. Well, the simple answer is this is how they protect themselves from external parasites such as mites and lice which can live on the skin, feathers, and shanks of the birds.

I would also add (as a frequent observer of this ritual) that dust baths are good social occasions. If the area is large enough, multiple chickens will bathe togerther and after they finally settle into place, my girls will to coo softly, definitely a sign of a contented chicken.

For more of why chickens take dust baths… continue on to UrbanOveralls....

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