Using Ash in the Chicken Coop

If you raise chickens, you know that they have their own, unique way of bathing that doesn’t involve water.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “mad as an old wet hen“. Surely there’s something to that.

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Credit: Google images

So, the chickens have their own technique called a dust bath. Basically, the chicken sits in the dust, flaps its wings, and moves around so that the dust coats its feathers. The dust prevents pesky parasites like lice, mites, and many others.

We’ve seen quite a bit of rain in East Texas up until recently. My Chicken Coop happens to butt up to a pasture where rainfall can collect. It makes for a muddy mess most of the time, but more importantly, no dust for The Sassy Ladies – Rose & Blanche. So we decided to build an artificial dust bath.

A big part of homesteading is upcycling, or reusing things you might have normally thrown away for a better purpose. We noticed we had some wood ash from our fireplace that needed cleaning, and decided to repurpose it for our dust bath.

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Pretty gross, huh? This is a winter’s worth of wood ash for us (it’s not much, Texas had a mild winter this year).

So, we scooped it out into a bucket.

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Clean!

We supplemented with a little diatomaceous earth, which is really good for killing microscopic bugs. The sharp diatoms pierce the exoskeleton of the bugs, allow for desiccation (or drying out).

We poured the mixture into a pile in the coop. I recommend using an old tire or some sort of container to keep from losing your ash, but we didn’t have anything on hand.

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Since we only have two chickens, we think this is a good start until we can get a more established, permanent dust bath. The Sassy Ladies were pretty curious, and started eyeballing it as soon as we left the coop.

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They’re camera shy, so I every time I tried to take a picture of them using it, they ran away. I’ve said it before – chickens are jerks.

Enjoy!

-TBE

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