July 21, 2011

Pollo Bathtime

Chickens love a good dust bath.

It actually serves a purpose for them, helps keep parasites such as mites and lice from making a home in their legs and feathers.  In fact if your hens do not have access to a nice loose soil location, you should provide an area for them in your run.  A cat litter box full of loose soil or river sand is perfect for the backyard coop.

I add DE (diatomaceous earth) to their bathing area and also to the hen house and run.  DE is the fossilized remains of single celled algae.  It actually helps to break down the exoskeleton of fleas, mites and lice.  Be sure to get food grade DE, you will be able to find it at your local feed or gardening store.  Use a mask when you sprinkle it around, it is a very fine powder and can be a lung irritant in larger quantities.  I sprinkle it around with an old stocking.

My girls do get to free range most days and mine have destroyed some things in my garden because they think they have found the perfect spot.  Like the potato bags mentioned in my last post.

Here is Red enjoying the potted bamboo:

Their choice of bathing location is not always ideal from my perspective.  Including the place they chose this year.  I had just turned the soil, removed all the weeds (well, to be honest, Neverella did the work) in a nice South facing spot right next to our rain barrel...where I had planned to plant the cucumbers again this year.

Here are Pepper and Zilla enjoying a nice bath in the warm June sun:

If only I could get such a feeling of euphoria from rolling around in the dirt.

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