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Eating the dirt out of Potted plants!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jujussaw, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. jujussaw

    jujussaw Hatching

    Nov 18, 2010
    My chickens are eating all the dirt out of every potted plant I have in the garden. Is this normal? I've put wire over the
    potted dwarf fruit trees. I had some pots with just potting soil and they've eaten it all down to the bottom! I feed them
    organic food recommended by my supplier and chicken scratch. I was also feeding them dry alfalfa, but was told to stick
    to the feed only. My Rhody Red is laying soft shell eggs. The rest are laying fine and Barred Rock is molting some on her chest.
    They also have oyster shells and their own shells that I bake and crush for them. But, maybe she's not eating them. They aren't just
    bathing in it and kicking at it....I watch them actually eat it!

    Is this normal?[​IMG]

    Thanks for the comments. : )
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010

  2. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
    I am wondering if they are actually eating the soil. If they are, they might be doing it for a mineral that is in the soil but not in the feed and they are "hungry" for that particular mineral. This is only an educated guess. I am guessing that they must free range so probably are not eating the dirt for grit purposes. I am wondering as well if your feed has enough calcium in it. Do you give them free choice of oyster shell? This could be your soft shell egg problem.
  3. Bridget399

    Bridget399 Songster

    Apr 8, 2009
    South Western PA
    Mine just scratch all the dirt out of mine... [​IMG] I don't know why they do it, but it sure is annoying.
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Mine take dust baths in my potted plants, and eventually all the dirt (and whatever plant was originally trying to live there) is gone, if it doesn't get dumped out when an exuberant chicken leaps out and kicks the much lighter pot over....

    Once they got down to the bottom, they investigated the "drainage" rocks for suitability as 1) grit, or 2) places for bugs, grub, and/or worms to hide.

    I finally realized I could either have happy chickens doing laughable things, or I could have potted plants. Can't have both.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  5. FarmerJohn3285

    FarmerJohn3285 County Line Farms

    Nov 18, 2010
    Trenton, SC
    Mine are doing the same thing. I know for a fact my RSL and WL are the culprits. They began by eating the actual plant, then moved to the empty pot with top soil only, and dig and knock it over and rummage through the soil...

    I think its funny, only cuz there was nothing planted there....
  6. Mollyszoo

    Mollyszoo Hatching

    Nov 19, 2010
    I just recently caught our chickens eating the foam from the side of my kids' trampoline....its like the consistency of a swim noodle styrofoam that covers the bars. I deter them from it, but they have little brains.....I guess I am going to have to put the foam in the shed away from thier reach. It is strange why they eat different things!

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