And I always thought I was a pretty great chicken mama! Yesterday, after too many below freezing days have prevented much needed butt washing, I got the tubs out and began going down the roster. Much crust and clots of poop had built up, and I'm sure each hen weighed a little less after her "tune-up". I always examine and wash, if needed, the feathered feet. These chickens also seem to be prone to getting pebbles and poop caught in dimples in their foot pads. But this was the first time I'd decided to check the clean-legged ones. When I looked at the foot pad of my four-year old SLW Alice, I was horrified to find a one centimeter sized pebble lodged in a dimple I never knew she had. When I popped it out, it left a cavernous hole even deeper than what appeared on the surface. I have no doubt she would have eventually gone lame. It looked like the pebble had been in there a long time already. She had given no indication that she had anything wrong with her feet, either. Usually, they'll hold the foot up or peck at it. The run is sand, so that may account for this. I'll be doing regular foot exams on the entire fleet from now on. Just wanted to pass this on in case it hasn't occurred to some of you to do regular foot inspections.