Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bird Sandbox

Reading on the internet you tend to find out way more information than you are looking for.  As I was reading up on my chickens and guineas and what else I needed to take care of them, I came across some posts in Backyard Chickens that talked about the birds needing a dust bath and that it would help them keep away flies and mites and other little insect parasites.  This seemed amusing at first since I got the guineas for the sole purpose of eating the ticks around the yard.  They were supposed to be eating the parasites, not carrying them around!

After looking in their run, I noticed a small depression along the edge of the chain link fence that they had created and would take turns fluffing around in that hole, apparently to take a dust bath.  So I figured I would help them out.

I grabbed a pressure treated 2x4 that I had laying around and cut four pieces each about 16 inches long.  I then screwed them together to make a box.  After that I pounded a few large staples into one side that I would be able to use to secure the box to the fence, so it didn't move around.

I attached the box to the fence with zip ties through the staples, and then filled up the box over the hole they had started using play sand.  At first they were a bit curious.  The guineas started squawking, wondering what this new thing was in their run.

The chickens were the first to get near it, with the guineas holding back a foot or two, stretching out their necks to see what was going to happen to the first bird that stepped into that odd contraption.

It took a little while, but one chicken finally ran across the sand.  Most of the birds that day just walked up and started eating the sand.  I guess that is also good for them, but I would rather them lay down and take a dust bath.  Don't they know I spent time to make a nice sandbox for them to play in?

Over the next few days, they all started climbing in and laying down, fluffing their feathers.  They also still ate the sand.  I had to add some more sand a few days later since during their scratching and fluffing, quite a bit got thrown about.  I don't mind so much, as long as they are having fun and enjoying their sandbox!

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