My chook pen has been getting really slippery and muddy in all this wet weather so i have laid a load of sawdust down - mainly to stop me from slipping over, but also i thought they would like having a nice dust bath in it.
They hate it and will do anything to stay off it. I dont understand? It is sawdust from a local feed merchants and is also used as horse bedding so its not got anything in it thats poisionous.
They will literally do anything to stay off it - they sit on top of the coop and look all miserable and wont go to their food or water.
I use Bliss bedding (or whatever's on special offer!) in our walk-in run and our chooks love scratching around in it. Mind you, they're used to it so it's never been an issue. Perhaps yours just need a bit more time? Maybe you could scatter some of their favourite treats in it to tempt them down? What happens if you literally place them in it? Good luck!
Playground grade bark works a treat in our run and was recommended to me by Flytes of Fancy where we got our hen coop etc from. I bought from them initially but then discovered B&Q do massive bags of it and often on offer/money off. Stopped our run turning into a mud bath, and gives them something to scratch around in a la in the jungle if they were in the wild. Been fine in the rain, light snow/frost recently. A good load of that on the sawdust would at least cover it up
Studies have shown that chickens prefer not to dust bath or scratch on sawdust if they have already had better alternatives <Random fact of the day> if all they know is sawdust then they will perform the behaviours but not as frequently did my dissertation on chicken behaviour
We use Bliss eucalyptus in their house and bark in the run. They also have 1-2 hours a day in the garden and in the green house (the only dry bit of soil that they can currently use to dust bath). They all seem happy and perform their full range of behaviours