Chicken Sand Bathing. What is the Importance?

Chicken, Sand Bathing, Came, Garden, Farm Animals

Dust baths are chickens’ way of taking a shower.

Every living being needs to take a shower at some point and time. We, human beings shower more often than any other living being. Did you know that chicken also keeps their bodies clean?

They do this by;

  • Fine-tuning their feathers.

What is fine-tuning? Chicken feathers are very important to chickens because they have adapted to protect themselves from harsh weather conditions. Chickens need to protect the health of their feathers by fine-tuning them consistently. Fine-tuning basically involves straightening and sometimes removing feathers that may be old or weak. This will provide room for fresh feathers to grow and give the chicken a chance to look better.

  • Dust Bathing.

From the common term taking a bath, chickens also bath… but in dust or fine sand. Dust bathing is a way that chickens just roll around in the dirt to clean themselves of external parasites. The most common parasites affecting chicken are mites which are quite annoying. Dust baths have fine sand that is able to get inside the feathers and onto the bodies of the chicken so as to clear the external parasites with as few baths as possible.


Why do chickens sand bathe?

1. Relieve the stress of the heat.

Sometimes, the heat actually gets to the chicken. Broody hens are the most common chicken seen to dust bathe. They enjoy it after hours and hours of sitting on their eggs. Heat stress is caused by excess heat or the abrupt change in temperatures that the chicken may be used to.

Heat stress is dangerous and sometimes may cause a reduction in the productivity of chickens. Especially those that are laying eggs. Other than creating dust bathes, to solve heat stress, one can create a citrus solution for their chicken. It works well!

2. To remove any external parasites that may be on their bodies.

External parasites are annoying. Mites are the most common type of external parasites that affect chickens. These parasites may cause stress in chickens which is significantly disadvantageous to the productivity of the chicken.

A quicker way of stopping these external parasites is to dust them with an insect powder that can completely clear the effect of the parasites on the chicken.

A great way to figure out if your chicken is being affected by these external parasites is if they create their own dust bathes around their coop. This way you are able to determine whether to artificially dust them with the powder.

3. How to make a dust bath for your chicken.

Chickens know how to create their own dust baths. They usually create them around their coops. Or in areas that specifically have fine sand that does not hold water.

Alternatively, you can create dust bathes for your chicken within their coop. Chicken mostly love fine sand and so, it will be the best sand for building dust baths. Follow these steps to build a dust bath for your chickens;

  1. Find fine sand.
  2. Create a demarcation for your chickens.
  3. Dig a hole or find a raised container.
  4. Pour the fine sand in.
  5. Make sure the dust bath is always dry.


Desmond Wekesa is the director of Agripreneur, with experience in new methods of farming and digital marketing. His background in digital marketing informs his mindful but competitive approach in the online-agriculture space. Desmond is fueled by his passion for understanding the best methods to network and achieve ones goals of advertising. He considers himself a ‘forever student,’ eager to both build on his knowledge in agriculture and stay in tune with the latest digital marketing strategies through continued hard work. You can email him HERE.