Alright.....do chickens really scratch?!?!?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LauraM, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. LauraM

    LauraM Out Of The Brooder

    66
    0
    29
    Feb 7, 2009
    Everett, WA
    We are happy with our chickens, about 8wks now, and they seem totally happy in their tractor. You know, the tractor that is supposed to have the benefit of working the soil because the chickens scratch and fertilize with their droppings. So what gives? I have never seen them scratch. Am I missing something? Lots of poop, though! As soon as I move the tractor my dog runs over to eat, not what I was hoping for either.
     
  2. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    7,738
    96
    321
    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    Heavens, YES!! They scratch and turn the soil like mad- you'll not see the full power of the scratch until they're 6 mos or so, but I've got some great feathered tillers who work my soil!
     
  3. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,229
    20
    241
    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    Yes, they scratch and then look down to see what they have unearthed. It's precious.
     
  4. smokeater413

    smokeater413 Chillin' With My Peeps

    108
    0
    119
    Mar 31, 2009
    NW Florida
    As far as the dog thing, I have the same problem. The dogs have little to no interest in the chickens, but eat the poop like candy.
     
  5. gapeachy

    gapeachy Chillin' With My Peeps

    686
    0
    149
    Oct 21, 2008
    Rome Ga
    mine sure scratched me....left a long scratch on my hand that bled
     
  6. BeccaOH

    BeccaOH Morning Gem Farm

    Oct 3, 2008
    east central Ohio
    Mine are working on scratching up a pile of dried pampas/ornamental grass I just cut. I throw a bit of grain on top and they go scratching away. It's amazing the progress they made in just one day. It will be compost ready in no time. [​IMG]
     
  7. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Quote:Does your tractor have a bottom? When my little ones (who are now 1 year old and no longer little) were in our tractor they couldn't really scratch because of the wire bottom. Once they were old enough to be let out into their run, OH YEAH, they scratch!
     
  8. LauraM

    LauraM Out Of The Brooder

    66
    0
    29
    Feb 7, 2009
    Everett, WA
    this is the quickest responding site I have ever posted on!! Amazing! So, I just need a bit of patience, it sounds like. There is no bottom on the tractor. They get a huge supply of worms, slugs, grubs and anything my kids can find in the yard, maybe they don't have a great need to scratch yet! HA! As for my dog, he also likes the chickens in the yard with him, he hasn't wanted to be inside during the day since we got them! He spends his time camped out next to them as much as possible. I was worried- he is a 130+ lbs mixed breed -retriever like, but so far it has been all good. We plan on letting the chickens out when they are a little bigger, not sure at what age, though. Thanks all!
     
  9. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,042
    62
    221
    Jul 30, 2008
    Missouri
    It's an instinct they just can't help. I have just hatched some EE and I got the biggest kick out of them the other day. I left the top off their chick feeder to make sure they knew where to find food and at just under 48 hours old I caught two of them just in their scractching away, having a heck of a time they were.
     
  10. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    4,210
    454
    328
    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    Oh my gosh, yes. They'll dig pretty deep. They'll also hollow out places to dust bathe in the dirt.

    Our hens were just locked into a chicken pasture on Saturday. Yesterday I spent planting all kinds of fun things. I haven't been able to have any flowers b/c the hens would scratch out the bulbs.

    We will let them out of the pasture when we till the garden, and my husband is planning on running the plow one quick sweep down the edge of the pasture so that they have a place to scratch and dust bathe.

    Last year my pullets didn't scratch until they were 6 mos. old. This year my babies (from a different hatchery) were scratching at 3 wks. They're roosting, too--something last years babies didn't do until much older. Weird.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by