Is my chicken dying? No, she’s bathing.
You’ve probably seen a sparrow or other small bird bathing in a puddle or bird bath, splashing water all over itself. Chickens do the same thing, just with dirt. It’s called dust bathing, and it’s crucial to their health.
Dust bathing helps chickens keep pests like mites and lice off their skin naturally. This saves you having to treat them with medicines to prevent those pests.
Dust bathing is strange the first time you see it. First, they will dig a hole in a soft patch of bare ground a few inches deep. Then they lay down on their side in the hole and use their beak to scratch dirt toward them. Then the funny part.
The chicken will scratch with one leg and flap its wings to throw dirt in the air. The dirt falls on them and settles between their feathers. They do this repeatedly for a while, then stand up, shake the dirt off, and go on their way.
Here’s a video of some of my birds getting their bath on:
So if you see your chickens keeled over and flailing around, don’t be alarmed. She’s probably just taking a bath.
What if I don’t have dirt for them to bathe in?
Buy a kiddie pool and fill it with play sand!
If you just don’t have much space, you can always dust your chickens with dusting power from Murray McMurray Hatchery.
The more you know,
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