My Umbrella Dusting Station For Chickens + DIY So You Can Make One Too - Pardon My Dust
This is crazy:
Snow-mageddon is on, the Polar Vortex is freezing and your chickens are literally cooped up.
Fun, warm days slinging treats in green grasses with my butt planted in a lawn chair enjoying a micro-brew with the chickens at my feet is merely a memory.
A sweet, sweet memory.
But here's the kicker:
These days it's about survival: snow, frost bite, frozen mud, or sand bagging the coop so it doesn't flood or, or, or, in my case, tarping the roof so the rickety thing (circa 1946) doesn't collapse under the heavy rain fall here in Northern California.
I get a lot of questions about the dusting space for my chickens and the gigantic umbrella.
So, I set aside the time and put together the details so you can make one too.
Here's the thing:
Your backyard chickens need to dust year around.
Like every day.
Even more so in the Winter when the air is crisp, freezing, wet and just damn cold.
You know how your skin gets dry and wind whipped?
They get it too.
Even with all their feathers.
Ahnnnnnd: chickens in Winter are more prone to pests (mites, lice, etc).
Because backyard chickens rely on dusting in dirt (or dirt-like-matter) as their main way for keeping clean (in addition to preening), it's even more crucial to provide an area for them to do so when they can't do it on their own: frozen ground, no access to dirt, snow-on-everything.
Because, you see: backyard chickens also don't like to dust in the mud.
This is what you need to do:
Find a container. I use a fire ring that I purchased off Amazon a few years ago. Maybe you like a different design? Hop on Amazon
or grab one at your local hardware store when your on your mission for the items below. You can also use a metal tub or a big plastic container/bin.
Order your umbrella here
: I chose this company because they are a small biz and, well, I like supporting other like-minded organizations.
Make sure you order the 62 inch automatic open golf umbrella. There are a few colors/patters. They do have smaller sizes if your space requires a smaller footprint.
You want all your things to arrive about the same time so order Pardon My Dust too (shown above).
Head to the hardware store or landscape supply and purchase two things:
1.) Enough bags of compost/potting soil (NO Vermiculite or Perlite in the mix (example shown below)) to fill your tub, fire ring, bucket or bin half-way.
2.) Buy a metal (or plastic/pvc) pole (don't lose me here).
The opening needs to be 2 inches wide so the handle of the umbrella will slide right in (see photo below).
The length of the pole is up to you but mine is 4 feet long (this way I can get under it to add more soil and Pardon My Dust
, easily - see very, very last photo).
Want to know the best part?:
This height offers the best view for watching your flock and photo opportunities.
* Pro Tip: most local (not big-box) hardware stores have a department with a tool that will cut your pole to length so you don't have to buy one that is 6 or 8 feet long.
If you have this luxury: ask for an additional cut on one end.
You want the end going in the ground to be a sharp point.
This isn't critical, just helpful AF. *
While waiting for UPS or the Postal Service to make your delivery of the super large umbrella and Pardon My Dust - map out the best place to erect your new dusting space.
Once you have all your items:
- Pardon My Dust
- Support pole
You are ready.
Put your container in place.
If you are using a container that has a bottom (tub, bin, etc) puncture a hole in the bottom to allow for the pole to slip through.
Hammer the pole into the middle, add bags of soil, scatter Pardon My Dust on top of soil and slide the umbrella handle inside the pole.
Repeat Pardon My Dust application at least weekly.
Depending on the size of your container, refill with dry soil when the levels lower.
As your chickens frolic they'll be tossing out the dry soil. Having more on hand saves an extra trip to the store.
Lastly: snap a photo and tag me @treats4chickens with #pardonmydust. I'd love to see what you create.
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