Chickens LOVE their dust baths, and surprisingly rabbits naturally roll in dust too! Why not set up a suped-up dust bath for them to help treat parasites while they are at it? You will need one dust bath for every 10- 15 or so chickens or every 5 adult rabbits, and put it somewhere it won’t get rained on so they can use it all year long.
What are the benefits of a dust bath?
In the wild many animals roll in dust – chickens and rabbits included. The fine dust particles help absorb excess oils, removes mites and fleas and scrubs the feathers and fur clean.
What are the reasons behind the super ingredients in this particular bath?
Wood ash – use only ash from wood or paper, nothing with accelerants or chemicals added. The chickens and rabbits may well nibble on the ash/charcoal as it is a natural way to cleanse the body of toxins and parasites. It also helps kill fleas, mites and lice.
Sand – adds an extra layer of grit to the mixture and helps keep it free flowing. You can get this from your local garden/landscape store.
Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) – The razor-sharp microscopic silicon particles cut through the of both internal and external parasite’s protective coating on their shells, causing them to become dehydrated, block their airways and attack their respiratory systems.
Dirt – what is a dust bath without dust?! Gather some dirt from your garden and lay it out in the sun to dry.
You can also dry dirt in a thin layer in a roasting pan in your oven on a low heat for several hours.
Once they are totally dry, blitz them in a food processor. Store the powder in a sealed container to keep the volatile oils in until needed.
This herb dust is best used within one year of harvest. The smell of the oils in these herbs repel insects. *Please note sage dries up a milk supply so don’t use this with lactating does*
How to Make the Ultimate Dust Bath
A box, tire, rubbermaid tub, old jam pan or plastic paddling pool.
2 parts dry dirt/dust
1 part wood or paper ash (not coal or from burning rubbish)
1 part sand
1/2 part diatomaceous earth
Gloves and mask
Optional – 1/2 part of dried and powdered Sage, Lavender, Peppermint or Rosemary
I use a small bucket as my ‘part’ measure. You may want to wear a dust mask and gloves for this next bit as it does throw a fair bit up into the air.
Put all ingredients into your container and stir together well with your hands.
That is it really, now you simply leave somewhere out of the rain/snow and let the chooks and bunnies have at it.
Do you have a dust bath for your animals? Tell me about it in the comments below!
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