I am at the planning stages for this and was wondering if there are systems in place for giving chickens an area for dust baths. The plan is to have chickens in electric fenced areas with their mobile house that moves around regularly. Are people removing a little top soil to give them access to some dirt each time they move the fencing/housing? Or do people have little sand pits they drag around or something?
Location: Canyonville, OR
posted 4 years ago
As I understand it chickens would naturally make an area themselves if they were wild or completely free ranged. However, if you are rotating the paddock every day or once a week or something I am not sure that would happen.
I guess one midway solution is to anchor a corner of your fencing around the coop and dust bath and rotate the fencing around from there, but it doesn't seem as flexible if you want to move the chickens all over your land.
We use a mobile coop/tractor that I move every week to 3 weeks depending on time of year and our number of birds, it changes due to our egg layers/meat birds. If you don't provide a place for dusting they will create it for you, this can be good. After moving them you have a patch of bare soil where you can dump a load of compost in and plant whatever you like.
At our new place the pasture sucks so I have a 5 gallon bucket full of my own seed mix that I throw down first, then cover with the compost, slowly the patches spread and you improve your forage. Otherwise look at using a kiddie pool or a large plastic concrete mixing tub( what I prefer as they have better UV protection), fill with whatever you like, I usually screen local soil through 1/2" hardware cloth and throw that in , along with some DE. I keep this under the tractor where it stays dry year round!