digging holes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by go-veggie, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. go-veggie

    go-veggie Flew the Coop

    My chickens are 10 weeks old and are kept in a chicken tractor with plenty of everything they need...like grass, food, grit, water, sun, shade, love and attention, etc. We move them to new areas of grass every day or two. Lately, they always leave a big hole...I've watched while they do it too. I am not sure if it's just a way to get bugs or if they want the cool dirt on their bellies or if it's like they are making a nest, but I want to nicely discourage it. I've read about how they take dust baths...hmmmm. I didn't know about that before, so I put a chicken sized tub of sand in their coop for them earlier in the evening. (is that ok? how do you accomodate them for dust baths?) If they dig holes, they dig holes...not much we can do, but I just want to know if it is because they are lacking something or if there is something I can do to discourage it. Any thoughts? Just curious..... [​IMG]
     
  2. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know with this heat mine have been digging to find a cool spot to lay down, so it may be that, or it may be just the dust bath issue. Maybe someone else will have some idea.
     
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sounds like they are making holes to satisfy their deep desires for an ever so relaxing spa like dust bath! I have a few dusting areas that are a foot or so deep due to how they are so prized as the best dust bathing areas on the property... and they can roam as far as they want.

    Unfortunately... the silkies have a cereal bowl sized hole right in the middle of the path between the big tractor and their tractor. It's about 6 inches deep and i swear, will break my ankle in it if they keep on digging to the other side of the earth.
     
  4. go-veggie

    go-veggie Flew the Coop

    Quote:Thanks for the reply! How do we do the whole dust bath thing in a tractor? Should it be in the coop part or within the run area? Just in a plastic tub? What do you use? Sand? Any specific advice would be great... One more thing...how many nest boxes would I need for 6 chickens? What do you think? Thanks again![​IMG]
     
  5. go-veggie

    go-veggie Flew the Coop

    Quote:I was wondering about the heat...it was hot here up until 2 days ago...thanks!
     
  6. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The experts say two boxes for six chickens. My dh's aunt made her boxes longer and used fewer because they all try to set in there together anyway, so I only put up two longer ones, (before I knew I had so many roosters), but all seven of my hens use the same box to lay in. It's the top box of the two so that might be part of it.
     
  7. go-veggie

    go-veggie Flew the Coop

    Quote:Thank you! Great info![​IMG]
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    At my high point I had about 20 layers and they ALL would use just TWO spots to lay their eggs. [​IMG]

    I'd say one or two nests is fine for 6 hens. I'd go with two though just inc ase one just get's taken over by a broody or two birds just can't wait for each other to finish.

    As for dust baths, the birds here all free range and I don't put anything special out for them. The tractors just keep them safe at night. Play sand works fine or if they are just digging their own holes, just use the dirt from that... or just let them continue to dig holes. Litter pan, bucket, flower pot, large bowl, anythning you can scrounge up and fill with fine sand/dirt would work just fine. I'd put it in the run though else you'll have one really really dusty coop. I know where the hens have been when I open the front door and see circular piles of dirt and their calling cards placed right where you'd most likely step on them...
     
  9. go-veggie

    go-veggie Flew the Coop

    Quote:Great help! Thank you![​IMG]
     
  10. pvc coop

    pvc coop Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2008
    Oklahoma
    If your tractor is easy to move, try moving it more often to see if that helps preventing them from digging.
     

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