gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Muck Magnets

on September 17, 2012

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Hens love to give themselves dust baths. When it is warm outside, hens will look for a new place and scratch down until they reach nice, fine dirt. They’ll flop onto their backs, close their eyes and just roll around. When people observe dust bathing for the first time, they often think their chickens are dying of some terrible disease! Dust bathing behavior looks quite odd. When chickens dust bathe, they lie down in the dirt, scratch it onto their backs, roll in it, rub their necks in it, and shuffle it under their feathers. Dust bathing activity frequently leaves hollows in the ground that look like miniature moon craters. The chickens usually have a favorite spot to dust bathe that they will come back to again and again. They get the dirt way down into their feathers until it reaches their skin. When they are done, they’ll shake it all off and feel fresh and clean.
I wish I could work out how chickens use dirt to clean themselves, when my boys play in the dirt they just get dirty! The littlest one I still refer to as a Muck Magnet 🙂
The early result of moving the coop off the lawn is that the hens have begun dust rolling in the soil. Those girls really look like they are having a pleasurable experience, all huddled up and dirty together.
In addition to cleaning the chickens, dirt naturally clogs the respiratory pores of parasites, like lice and mites. When the respiratory pores of these parasites are clogged, they can no longer breathe and they die.
Smart chickens.
There’s been a back-to-school outbreak of headlice in number four son’s class, maybe I should be dunking his head in a pot of topsoil instead of a tedious period of combing and searching every evening (no wee beasties found yet thankfully)

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