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red clay or sandy soil for dust bating/grit

 
pollinator
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Location: West Central Georgia
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We have clay; my parents (close by) have sandy soil. I was considering dumping one or both into a plastic tub for dust bathing. I'd like to start free and simple and step it up if that proves ineffectual. So is one better than the other? Can either be used as grit? If so, would the flock just take grit from the dust bath, or should I put the same material in a separate container for grit purposes? They aren't laying yet, or I think oyster shells could actually double as grit?
 
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Sandy soil would be better than clay for a dust bath because the clay particles are very dusty compared to sandy soil and breathing in fine dust isn't good for anybody. I know they call it a dust bath, but dirt bath would be more correct. Basically the bird throws dirt into the air and gets it in under the feathers, oils and blechh stick to the dirt and then the chicken shakes the dirt out. Aside from breathing it in, fine dust may not be ejected from between the feathers as easily.

Oyster shells are used to replace calcium lost in egg shell production so they are good for the birds but they are not hard enough to maintain a sharp edge in the chickens digestive tract.
Sandy soil may be enough for grit, it depends on the particle size and composition. I would suggest buying a bag of poultry grit one time to see what it is made up of and then substitute local dirt to match it. Don't concern yourself with the colour of the grit, just particle size and shape. IE smooth river washed pebbles won't look like the grit but fractured granite bits will.
 
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I 2nd the sandy soil.

Clay gets muddy when wet, sand stays nice and dry, good for a sand bath.
 
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Location: Wealden AONB
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Chooks like dry friable soil. Mine like the soil from ants nests and worm casts.
I have added sand to my chicken run but the ladies prefer to bath in my plant tubs.
They'll just dig a bowl for themselves where ever they want.
 
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Abbey Battle wrote:Chooks like dry friable soil. Mine like the soil from ants nests and worm casts.
I have added sand to my chicken run but the ladies prefer to bath in my plant tubs.
They'll just dig a bowl for themselves where ever they want.



I agree. A friend of mine who just got her first chickens wanted to build a dusting box for her hens and (against my advice) she filled it with plain sand. Said they wouldn't even touch it until she threw a shovelful of soil in there. If you can't find any brown soil to give them, I would try mixing some sand with wood ash. The ash doubles as a good way to keep mites away since the fine particles will smother them.
 
Miranda Converse
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Miranda Converse wrote:

Abbey Battle wrote:Chooks like dry friable soil. Mine like the soil from ants nests and worm casts.
I have added sand to my chicken run but the ladies prefer to bath in my plant tubs.
They'll just dig a bowl for themselves where ever they want.



I agree. A friend of mine who just got her first chickens wanted to build a dusting box for her hens and (against my advice) she filled it with plain sand. Said they wouldn't even touch it until she threw a shovelful of soil in there. If you can't find any brown soil to give them, I would try mixing some sand with wood ash. The ash doubles as a good way to keep mites away since the fine particles will smother them.



Ah disregard the first part, I thought you just said sand and not sandy soil. Sandy soil is perfect
 
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