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Hens Digging Huge Holes!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AmandaKyle, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. AmandaKyle

    AmandaKyle Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Apr 13, 2014
    Kingston, MA
    Our hens have started digging giant holes in the run. I wouldn't mind, but many of them are deep and are alongside the hardware cloth that we buried underground. I'm worried that all of these holes are going to make it easier for predators to dig under. I'm guessing if I fill them in the hens will just excavate them again.

    Anyone know why they are doing this or how to get them to stop? Thank you!

    (I'm attaching a pic. You can see how big that hole is since the hen's entire body fits inside! It's actually bigger now.)

    [​IMG]
     
  2. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    That is dust bathing hole. Hens do that. You can put a "skirt" of hardware cloth around the outside perimeter of the pen to EYP predators.

    You can put LARGE rocks in the hole, but they will just dig another hole some where else.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Mine are doing that right now too....it's kinda of hilarious.
    Looks like a bunch of ostriches out there!!
    I think they are digging into mole/vole tunnels...softer dirt maybe?

    They are incredible excavators!!
    If mine are digging near the wall or around blocks that are holding things up...
    .....I throw a brick or rock or put down a paver.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1086535/excavation-by-birds-a-word-of-warning

    [​IMG]
     
  4. AmandaKyle

    AmandaKyle Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Apr 13, 2014
    Kingston, MA
    That would make sense if it were just that hole, but they have basically dug up the entire perimeter of the run as well. It's like they have dug a moat!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I put large logs(~6-12" dia) and some old 2x lumber all along the perimeter of my run....it helps, but they can dig under those too!
     
  6. bantambarnyard

    bantambarnyard Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 4, 2016
    Southern California
    They are dust bathing! You can put a rock in it, or dig up the inside perimeter of your coup/run and line the hardware cloth with rocks to keep them in and predators out. Good luck!
     
  7. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hilo, HI
    Ok, I'm realizing I can't have a nice yard with (4) hens digging! They don't dust bathe in these holes nor do they cool off in them, they just dig & dig & dig! In the evening I have them go back to their Run/Coop, fill holes and dirt's missing! They have a huge bin full of nice clean topsoil in their Run to bathe in but haven't seen them bathe in it but have seen them sitting in it.

    I've got 2 EEs & 2 RIRs who just started laying, I've had RIRs in the past but don't recall all this digging! Every evening after they're in their Run/Coop, I refill holes which they'll dig again the next day or find another area to dig. My Run/Coop is large enough that I could keep them locked in but they're used being let out & their pacing the door is hard to watch.

    I live in a residential area, let them loose in the back grassed yard when I'm home. I've found a use for all the empty mulch bags (filling holes), I cover around the base of my plants & areas I'm trying to regrow grass....I've got CDs hanging from some of my plants & CDs covering some bald areas....I've got pinwheels surrounding some plants....I'm loosing this battle ha ha.

    I want my yard back but do love the antics they provide. Are there any breeds that don't dig as much or deep? Do the bantams, Seramas and/or Silkies dig least?
     

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