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Rolling in the dirt?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

I got my first three gals today.  After getting acquainted with the hen house, I let them out to graze.  After a little while all three started to scratch and dig "nests", eating earthworms all the while. then they would roll in the dirt and sometimes just sit as if the were laying (they are 17 weeks and havn'e started laying yet).  Is this normal?

2 golden comets, 5 Easter Eggers, and a sheep dog that herds chickens (and kids)
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2 golden comets, 5 Easter Eggers, and a sheep dog that herds chickens (and kids)
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post #2 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by awalters0815 

I got my first three gals today.  After getting acquainted with the hen house, I let them out to graze.  After a little while all three started to scratch and dig "nests", eating earthworms all the while. then they would roll in the dirt and sometimes just sit as if the were laying (they are 17 weeks and havn'e started laying yet).  Is this normal?


It's totally normal (but only if you're a chicken!). They're taking "dustbaths" and it helps them to clean themselves (ironically) and it must feel good, because they seem to revel in it!

post #3 of 37

Completely normal. They are just dust bathing. Wait until they combine it with sunbathing and sprawl out on their backs/sides looking like they're dead.

post #4 of 37

Yes! That's dustbathing and chickens and other groundbirds do it. Cute, isn't it?

post #5 of 37

The rolling in the dirt is calling dusting.  All birds do it.  surprizingly it helps to clean their feathers and more importantly it is there method to combat mites.  I have a sandy area in my run that the birds like to dust in.  I have built a covered roost over that spot to help keep it dry.  I further augment their dusting by adding a little DE in the dusting hole they use.

When having problems with chickens stop and think, what would Harlan do?
I've dealt with many thorns in my life and the flower is always worth the effort.

6 Nest rollout nest box plans  http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/287684/new-rollout-nest-design-picture-heavy-edited-1-21

Smoker plans http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/721017/opas-recirculating-smoker

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When having problems with chickens stop and think, what would Harlan do?
I've dealt with many thorns in my life and the flower is always worth the effort.

6 Nest rollout nest box plans  http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/287684/new-rollout-nest-design-picture-heavy-edited-1-21

Smoker plans http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/721017/opas-recirculating-smoker

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post #6 of 37

That's their way of cleaning themselves and they also seem to enjoy it. I hate when my feather feeted bantams do it and I really hate it when I just got done powdering them and they go and roll in the dirt.roll

post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 

thanks so much for the quick info

2 golden comets, 5 Easter Eggers, and a sheep dog that herds chickens (and kids)
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2 golden comets, 5 Easter Eggers, and a sheep dog that herds chickens (and kids)
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post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrizzlesRule 

That's their way of cleaning themselves and they also seem to enjoy it. I hate when my feather feeted bantams do it and I really hate it when I just got done powdering them and they go and roll in the dirt.roll


what is powdering and how do I do it?

2 golden comets, 5 Easter Eggers, and a sheep dog that herds chickens (and kids)
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2 golden comets, 5 Easter Eggers, and a sheep dog that herds chickens (and kids)
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post #9 of 37

I put powder on them. You can get lice powder, but mine are pets and super clean, so I just use people powder on them. It makes them more cuddly and they smell nice. I do it just about everyday since I'm alway hugging and kissing them.smile


Edited by FrizzlesRule - 4/1/10 at 5:11pm
post #10 of 37

yeah, the first time my dad saw out chickens dust bathing on our first chicken they were all in a line and laying down with one leg in the air and we thought they had died. hehe.

I am a crazy pullet of BYC okieglory - The Preppy One!!!!! I have downgraded to 3 chickens right now but don't worry I'm getting more!!!
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I am a crazy pullet of BYC okieglory - The Preppy One!!!!! I have downgraded to 3 chickens right now but don't worry I'm getting more!!!
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