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Chicken bath dilema...advice needed.

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We have an Eglu Go with a 3m run. In the run I used a large clear plastic storeage box - (just imagine a massive plastic lunch box) large enough for 3 chckens to dust bathe in. In the box I put some fine top soil I bought from Homebase. They loved it but the problem was that when they bathed in it they flicked the soil over the sides onto the wood chippings in the run. Within a very short time the bath (box) was empty and all the soil was in the run.


Even with an Eglu rain cover over the run the woodchippings got wet and with the soil from the bath it turned the run into a mud bath. So I have now changed the wood chippings (and tarpaulin they are placed on) but have not bothered to replace the box with soil as it would obviously happen all over again.


So my question is........ is a dust bath absolutely necessary or is it a luxury they can do without especially as they stand on their branch (which is in the run) and preen themselves. Also the wet mud can't be very pleasant for them keeping them cold and wet. If I put the bath in the garden would they bother using it as when they're out of the run they're busy free ranging? Is the dust bath absolutely necessary for their health?


Any advice gratefully received.

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I would say it is pretty important, but not sure if essential - I would suspect it was.


It is an important part of their day, keeps them clean and seems to be a social occasion.

I had tried making a dedicated dust bath but they were not interested, they like to dig a new one each day.


My girls have an indoor run, which is filled with easibed, and an outdoor run which used to be turf but is now mud.

They will make dustbaths in both.


You can get easichick which is also medicated and might be a good compromise for you. It is very fine wood chippings rather than soil, so although they will still flick it out, it would blend in with the existing wood chip and would not turn to mud, you can just keep topping it up then.

It is also very absorbent. I use it in the cube in the poo trays and the nest box aswell.

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I set up a cat litter tray full of fine sand for them to bathe in.

Like yours they kicked it everywhere, and filled the tray with bark chippings.

So I refilled the tray and put it in a different corner where less likely to get filled with chippings, now I find they like to injest it rather than bathe - I've not seen one bathe in it yet, but they have done in another corner of the run. So I leave them to it!

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I use a washing up bowl, they've squeezed 3 of themselves in it at one point, but 2 are comfortable and they take turns.


Although 95% of the time they can free-range and have 4 2mx1m veg beds to dust bath in, but we re-fill the washing up tub in case we have to leave them in the WIR for an extending period of time about once a fortnight as they slowly kick it out.

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I have now changed the wood chippings (and tarpaulin they are placed on)


I wonder if you have a drainage problem, more than a mud problem? We considered using a tarp but decided against it for that reason. I now put my chips directly onto the soil. Things get a bit muddy but even in the worst of this wet spring it's never been that bad, and it all dries out pretty quickly. This way the droppings get washed away into the soil instead of trapped in the tarp. I sprinkle ground sanitizer down most weekends, and I remove some of the top layer of soil and change the chips every 3-4 months.


Lots of people put chips on paving slabs, and the water/moisture drains into/between the slabs.


My lot also kick the dirt out but I don't know how to stop it, so I just top it up from our borders.

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You can get easichick which is also medicated and might be a good compromise for you


This could be thae answer as I would like them to have their bath and like you said when they flicked into the run they wont turn the nice clean woodchips into a mush of mud and wood that never dries out.


I now put my chips directly onto the soil.


I used to put the woodchips onto the soil but the girls quickly scratched through them and the soil they dug up quickly mushed with the chips making a right mess. That's why I put a tarpaulin down to seperate the woodchips from the mud and it works really well.

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My chickens free range so they make their own dust baths in the flower beds :roll: but my little Poland, all of her own accord and even though she free ranges with the others, chooses to take her dust bath in the aubiose in the hen house. She bangs about in there, turning on this side and then the other and clearly loves it. So my suggestion is that you could try part filling a tub trug (which I know some Omleteers use for a dust bath) with nice dry aubiose, then when that gets kicked out into the run amongst the wood chips it would not matter too much. :think:

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My hens, both lots, refuse to use a dust bath of any kind. I've used submerged tubtrugs, visible tub trugs, large submerged/unsubmerged plant pots, seed trays, deep potting trays - followed threads and looked at other Omlet set ups - nothing! Contents are kicked out over period of a day, after much picking over but never any bathing. I've tried to ensure that a particular corner has a greater compost/sand content, but they ignore that too.

Our WIR is woodchip on earth but covered so is very dry. They simply dig holes in that, all over, and go from there. At the weekend I rake it flat, by Friday it is peaks and troughs. I make sure I Stalosan it regularly, though.

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