Archive for the ‘The Great Escape’ Category

The Chickens are Hatching…. a Plot—not Eggs!

October 30, 2008

I’ve been working a lot of hours recently and I think the chickens are busy scheming. They’ve been in their run more than usual because I’m not home. By the time I do get home it’s soon dark so they haven’t been doing much running in the backyard. Today I came home early to discover the chicks had been up to something. I think they’re trying to escape.

They’d been digging in their run all day and there were three big holes. A deep hole under the water bowl, another one halfway down the run and a third one near the coop. It looked like they were enacting The Great Escape or maybe Chicken Run. (I think Crazy Lulu would love the Steve McQueen role, she seems the motorcycle type!)

Chickens love digging in the dirt. They spend all day scratching for food, grubs and other goodies. They also lay on their sides and kick dirt onto themselves forming shallow holes in the process. The dirt actually keeps them clean. As the hens kick, the fine dirt settles on their feathers and filters through to their skin. They’ll usually roll around rubbing the dirt into their pores before shaking like a wet dog scattering the dirt and debris away. It’s their way of keeping parasites from attaching to their skin. When they’re done, they walk away looking as clean as if they’d bathed in water. (Aren’t you dog owners jealous?)

If chickens don’t have a place to dust-bathe they’ll create one. My chicks usually love the scrubby part of the garden behind the garage and I’ll often find them there when they seem to have disappeared. For those who have or want an immaculate backyard, it’s best to provide an area for the chicks to roll around in or they’ll create one themselves. I’ve heard they’ll even bathe in a flowerpot or large pan of sand but mine seem to prefer the dirt by the garage. When they’re denied access to it I guess they start digging tunnels.