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How to Dust Your Chickens for Parasites
It's Bath Time!
Chickens Love Taking Baths
Keeping chickens in your backyard is fun! They are one of the most maintenance-free pets. Their daily requirements mainly consist of feeding and watering. And if you do this they give you a reward, an egg!
But to keep your chickens healthy and happy they sometimes require maintenance. If you free range your flock you have probably seen them on the ground flopping around, pecking at the dirt, and then wallering in it. They are trying to cover their feathers with the dirt. This helps to keep them free of lice and mites on their bodies and also helps to keep them cool in the summertime.
For people who do not free range, I have seen them supply a sandbox or something in the chicken coop with dry dirt and Sevin Dust or Dietimatious Earth (DE) for the chickens to use to take a bath.
When Is It Time to Help Out?
Even with all the self-bathing that chickens do, at times they need the help from their owners. Some reasons why mites and lice show up is due to over-crowding, not cleaning your coop often enough, not changing out the nest box bedding, bringing in new chickens from an outside source, etc. There is a multitude of reasons why it could happen but when you discover the first signs of the little bugs, it is time to take action.
Healthy, Happy Chickens
With routine maintenance of your chicken coop and flock, it is easy to keep healthy, happy chickens. Choose a certain day of the month, I chose the first week of each month, to check for parasites and also to clean out the nest boxes and coop. It makes it easy to remember when the last time you checked.
How to Dust Your Chickens
Once evidence has appeared on your chickens it is time for you to take action and dust the chickens. And that means all of them. Because if one chicken has it then it is likely all of them have been infected with the eggs even if there is no sign.
I normally treat my poultry in the evening after they have gone to rest. You normally do not get much fight from them at that time. I use 5% Sevin Dust (sold in the garden sections of stores) and put about 1 cup of it in a shaker can (like an old parmesean cheese container) or if you do not have a shaker you can use the toe of an old pair of panty hose and pour about 1/2 cup in it.
It's best if you have a helper to hold the chicken but it can be done alone. Wear old clothes and a dust mask or at least a bandana over your nose/mouth; the dust will be flying. Hold the chicken by the legs and sprinkle the dust up under the feathers on the neck, back, legs, breast and on the bottom around the vent area, and under each wing. Then fluff it through their feathers with your hand to get it close to their skin.Those are the places the mites like best. The chicken will help to spread the dust to the rest of the body by ruffling their feathers.
After I dust all of the chickens I also change out the nesting box bedding and coat them and the floor of the coop. My chicken coop happens to have a sand floor so I go around all the edges and coat the cracks and corners. Please note that before starting this procedure I had cleaned the coop of excess manure.
To keep the hens laying eggs on a consistent basis, your flock has to be healthy. And with a maintenance routine as suggested above, it will help you to have a steady supply of eggs.
For your preview are some photos of a few members of my current flock. I buy and sell chickens on a frequent basis so I am constantly adding new breeds to my flock. At the moment I have Buff Orpingtons, Ameracaunas, Black Sex Links, Rhode Island Reds, Silver-laced Wyandotte, Blue Rock, Barred Rocks, and several cross breeds.
If you are new to raising chickens or are considering starting your own flock, I recommend you learn more about chickens and their requirements before bringing home your new chickens. There are many benefits to raising chickens with the most obvious being the eggs and meat that they can supply a family. But they do have requirements and the more you learn in advance the better prepared you will be when starting your backyard flock of chickens.
Chickens are easy to raise and require little maintenance. They are entertaining to watch and educational for children, as well as, adults who have never been around farm animals. If you do your research you will find most people will tell you that is a very addicting hobby. Once you bring home a few then you just want to get more and more and more!
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