Recycled dust bath tub for chickens

I have seen a lot of dust bath posts lately. There are so many great many different ways to make a dust bath for your chickens. Ours were given to us and the chickens love them. They are a re-use I thought I'd post about it so you can see how we recycled 1 barrel to make 2 dust baths for the chickens.

poultry dusting tub, directions for making

Last summer hubby's Uncle called and said "wait till you see what I'm bringing you!" He showed up about 20 minutes later with what looked like a rain barrel cut in half. It was super simple, he had cut the barrel in half then removed the top and bottom. We put one in the main coop and one outside the Silkie coop. 

They work great for allowing the chickens to dust bath which they need to do to keep their feathers healthy and free of parasites!

Dust bath tubs for chickens

A chickens dust bath needs a sand, dust or dirt mixture. It needs to be light enough to fluff up under their feathers. It also has to dry out quickly after a rain, because mud will not work when chicken wants to dust bathe!

We bought some bagged sand and put 2 bags in each one. I prefer contractor sand or all-purpose sand. It's not as fine as play sand, and I like that there are all different sizes of sand particles in it. I also like that it hasn't been treated with any chemicals like some of the super fine play or craft sands.

Bags of sand for chicken dust baths

I added another bag into each one this year. I'm not sure if they managed to kick it out, carry it out on their feathers or it just sorta 'settled'. It seemed low, so I added more. Franki wanted to know what I was doing to her beloved dust tub! lol

How to add sand to dust bath for chickens

It keeps most of the chickens from dust-bathing in my flower gardens! Most....I said! lol We recycled a barrel that was leaking and going to get thrown away and it got a new life. Well, 2 new lives actually!

In hindsight I would bury it deeper into the ground. Our ground is all rocky and there are lots of roots in those spots. The tractor didn't fit in either location, so we hand dug it and gave up way too soon. The one in the run makes a great perch for the babies to watch the other birds play when their on lockdown in the run, so it serves 2 purposes. 

I add a little bit more of my special dust bath mixture about once a month to help keep the chickens parasite free. It seems to be working...we haven't had a mite issue in a long time!

While we used an old barrel any type of container will work. It's better if the bottom is cut out to allow rain to soak down into the soil instead of staying stuck in the sand. It dries out much more quickly after a rain without a bottom. 

My chickens love their dust tubs and by giving them a designated place to dust bathe it keeps them from digging holes all over the yard.


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  1. Great idea, but I just let them use the veggie garden area. Nice dust bathing out there...

    1. Mine would prefer the veggie garden, but they eat all my veggies! lol They also like one of the flower beds....I'm a whole lot more tolerant with that! ;-)