Reader Interactions


  1. I have been using a small kiddie pool as a dust bath for my chickens, but when it rains the pool just fills with water and I’m just left with a pool of mud. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    • I move mine out of the rain or cover it up. There’s not much else you can do. Another alternative is leaving it in the coop, if it’s big enough.

    • I plan to use an old turtle sand box. The lid will allow me to protect it from the elements keeping it fresher longer, but I know you could use a board as a makeshift lid maybe

    • H Teresa, I change it as needed, which is usually every 2-4 weeks. Mine like to kick the mixed dirt out of it. 🙂

  2. If you use a kiddie pool I would drill holes in the bottom for drainage. Drill several holes using a 1/2 inch size bit to allow the water to drain. If the hole is to small the dirt will clog it and it won’t drain well.

      • That’s a good point also. I guess I hadn’t thought of that because it’s been so dry here this summer. The dust has been more of a problem than the mud. And thank you for posting this. I’ve watched my chickens dusting there selves in the barn but didn’t realize why or how important it was. I’m still learning and always reading everything I can. But, my hens recently quit laying. I think they are done. They’re about 3 years old. Any suggestions? I don’t want to wait until the spring when they get chicks at the local farmers co-op.

        • Where do you live? You can still get chicks shipped in from certain hatcheries. Murray McMurray I believe still ships chicks this time of year. If you live where it’s warm, you shouldn’t have an issue raising them over the winter. Just make sure when the temp dips below 80 degrees to give them a heat source until they’re fully feathered. If you live in a cold area or shipping chicks in isn’t an option, you can post on craigslist that you’re looking for hens to buy, but that’s always a crap shoot. They might be too old or infrequent layers.

          • I live in East Tennessee. Right next to the beautiful Smokey Mountains. I have a heat lamp in the coop for the winter. It does get cold here. But this year has been unusually dry. I have heard of Murray McMurray’s but never ordered from them. Most people here seem to buy from the co-op or tractor supply. But I didn’t want to wait until the spring. I really like getting the eggs and taking care of the chickens. All my family gets eggs from me. And it gives me a sense country life, a bit of homesteading and separation from working in the city. A stress relief I guess. I enjoy any little bit of self sufficiency I can have. And thank you for your help.

  3. I made a dirt bath last fall for my hens, with sand and dirt, I didn’t have time before the snow fell so the rooster don’t have a dirt bath area yet.

    • Sorry might be stupid to ask but do u have a different bath for the rooster ,just asking because although there is plenty room in the dust bath my rooster never uses it

      • No, everyone uses the same bath. Chickens can be particular about their bathing areas, so he might have a prefered spot you don’t know about. 🙂

  4. I’m going to use grandchildren’s sand “box” this spring as it comes with a useful cover for my upcoming wet spring.

  5. I am not new to chickens, because my dad always had a small farm growing up. But, I am new to having my very own flock and I am super excited! Got my first six chicks 2 days ago. And I can’t wait for them to be big enough to play outside!
    My nephew had one of those of turtle sand boxes that had been thrown out and this will be my chickens dust bath. It’s as large as a kiddie pool and shallow also it has a fitting lid. I figure at night I will keep it covered to hopefully keep my mixture fresher longer away from the elements and rain! Thanks for your recipe. I already have a bag of wood ash from Mamaw’s wood burnin stove and I plan to add dirt, small bag of sand and some DE to it! So excited to watch my chickies play!!

  6. My 8 hens and 1 rooster have been dusting in the space between my house and the edging we put in years ago. They have a large area to dust but they still choose to use the spot by the house!! I am going to try the wading pool thing and keep it in the run, which is covered. Hopefully that will flip their dusting switch!!
    Also, to switch gears, one of my hens has been pecking her eggs. The shell is almost paper thin.
    The other hens eggs are fine and she doesn’t peck them, even if she is laying in the same nest box (I have 6 boxes) . I have put out oyster shell calcium for them to eat whenever they need it besides their laying mash and scratch. Is there anything else that can be done to toughen up her shells? I tried putting fake eggs in hoping she would peck them and tire of it when she had no results, but that hasn’t seemed to help. TY for any advice.

    • Calcium is the issue. It sounds like she’s either not eating the supplement even though it’s available, or there’s some calcium absorption issue.

    • It’s not great to inhale, which is why I recommend chickens be outside if you use it in the coop or if you use it for dust bathing. We’ve had success using it in that way with limited exposure.

  7. I want to try this for my 6 week old hens.
    Would just digging a hole in their coop in the shape of a kiddie pool work?

  8. Just got home with the DE and sand,,,,will chop some herbs from garden and get to it., I bought the plastic wash tub yesterday…thx so much for the help.

  9. I did everything you recommended but my girls won’t use it. They prefer to dig around and lounge amongst my flowers. Grrrh! Any suggestions?

    • Chickens can be stubborn once they’ve picked a spot. If you want them out of your flowers, then I would see if there’s a way to create a barrier. If you don’t mind, then you can still get the benefits of DE by sprinkling it in the area they already like to roll in. I hope this helps!