Chickens care for their plumage among other things by bathing in sand or earth and free themselves from mites. If a depression or crate with soil or sand is missing in the run, your chickens scratch themselves where it may not have been desired or are more susceptible to pests and the skin diseases caused by them.
Everyone can build a sand bath himself. Simply dig a pit (approx. 40 cm deep, 1 m x 1 m wide) and fill it with sand merged with some charcoal. Lime can also be added to the sand. However, this is not mandatory. The liming of the stable walls is more important here than adding lime to the sand. Fine sand is best suited, as it can reach any part of the chicken plumage.
The sandbox for your chickens should be covered to protect the sand from the weather. We mention this topic briefly in the chapter on the covered feeding place. Also, that the sand bath should be best arranged in combination with the feeding area. Simply to save the work of having to cover two places.
However, there are a few more important tips to consider:
Chickens have a habit of weaning feces immediately after leaving the barn. If the sand bath with the feeding place was built right next to the exit, the manure would end up in the sand. Of course the sandbox has to be cleaned regularly, but the contamination can be reduced if you build a gravel bed between the barn and the sand. Unfortunately, this option is only known so far with permanently installed stables. For this you have to dig another pit about 30 cm deep and 1 m to 2 m wide. A thin layer of ballast or sand is a good substrate for the gravel. Put the gravel on top and that’s it. The excrement from the poultry can easily be rinsed off the gravel with the garden hose.
And at the end again a small video, which shows how chickens look when bathing in the sand: