We currently have a barred rock, a white leghorn, a cochin, and an ameraucana. They are really sweet 5 month old pullets. We notice that they LOVE to sunbathe. Does anyone know why they do this? When we first saw one of them sunbathe, it looked as though its wing had been dislocated. Scared us to death! They look silly doing it! Why do they sunbathe?
Sun bathing chickens!
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They're probably trying to dust-bathe - mine always seem to prefer to do it in a sunny place. If you get a bag of play sand and put it in their preferred spot, they will love it!
Mine adore sunbathing too. It is the first thing they do when I open the coop in the morning. Their big box o playsand and DE is in the coop, so they can dustbathe as much as they want in there. But as soon as they are out, they go find a sunny spot and stretch out for a while before going to scratch around!
What was the outside temperature when they did this? Did they have access to shade?
If they were doing this in hot weather I would say that they were trying to rid themselves of excess body heat which would be an indicator of overheating.
Edited by BoltonChicken - 6/26/11 at 4:29pm
Found these two links with info on sunbathing.
This one is for birds in general:
And this one is for chickens specifically:
The short answer:
"Daylight controls and triggers many of their physiological processes. It also stimulates their metabolism, plays an important part in the formation of red and white blood cells and of vitamin D, and promotes the secretion of hormones necessary for growth and reproduction."