Backyard Chickens / Health

Video: Watch a Chicken Take a Dust Bath

Watch a chicken take a dust bath

I remember the first time I ever saw one of my chickens take a dust bath. I had no idea what a dust bath entailed, but there she was, sprawled on the ground, throwing her body upside-down and sideways, furiously flapping her wings and shaking up the dirt.

At first it was alarming, and I thought she’d been stung by a bee or infested with fleas. But as she settled into a cloud of dust, I realized she was happy as a clam at high tide. Or a kid in a candy store. Or… a chicken in a dust bath. (That’s got to be a saying somewhere!)

Dust baths are the chicken equivalent of a shower (with a little yoga in between). It might seem counterintuitive to bathe in dirt (especially when we humans are always trying to wash off our dirt), but to a chicken, a shallow pit of dry, dusty mulch (or sand or ash) in which she can roll around is pure indulgence. It’s kind of like coating a sugar donut.

I’ve written about the chicken dust bath before, but to fully appreciate the ritual, a video is the next best thing to seeing it in person. I can just picture Iman, my Golden Laced Cochin, relishing the dirt as if she were rolling around on a black sand beach in Hawaii.

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • RW
    June 27, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    The first time I saw our chicken dust bathing I thought she had been attacked by something and was hurt. I ran to get my husband and he just looked at me like I was crazy. 🙂 They can contort in all kinds of positions getting the dirt where they want it. Now I love to see them do it, it’s chicken bliss for sure:)

    • Linda Ly
      July 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      They are so hilarious to watch! I call it chicken TV.


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