Please tell me what my gals are doing.....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AllenInTampa, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. AllenInTampa

    AllenInTampa Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 8, 2012
    Please forgive my ignorance as I have been a chicken owner for a total of 4 days!!! They have not done this as of yet and am trying to understand what and why. Today they started digging holes in this particular spot. I don't care if they dig just to dig, I just want to make sure they are not doing it because they are deficient in something and are digging to look for it. I have a tray of feed for them, a tray of oyster shell, and a tray of grit, plus clean water and an afternoon bowl of treats

    I have gone in the pen and shoveled dirt back in the hole 2x already, and levelled it out..only to have them go right back there and start over. I don't mind if they dig, just that they are kicking dirt in front of the dang door and I can't get it open.There used to be a huge oak tree about 10' behind this spot so there are still tons of roots there
    I am assuming they are either looking for something, or looking for a place to cool off (its hit nearly 85 today)

    Please watch short 1-minute video.
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    They are dust-bathing - completely normal behavior! (You should see the holes along the side of my house. Right now their preferred dust-bathing area is in my vegie garden. I open it up to them over the winter and as its in the sun, they are in heaven. I call it "tilling the soil for next year's crop" LOL).

    Although it also feels good to them, dust-bathing also helps them to keep external parasites under control so there is a practical reason for them to do it too.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  3. devora

    devora Chillin' With My Peeps

    You should see my yard and my run: looks like a bombed out war zone.

    This is what chickens do. Scratch scratch, dig dig. They are looking for bugs. Also, they will turn up dirt to bathe in.

    Trying to fill it in seems to court some type of sisyphean lifestyle! [​IMG]
  4. Linn Bee

    Linn Bee Chillin' With My Peeps

    As HEChicken said, they are taking dust baths. This does NOT mean they have mites, lice, or any other pests. Chicken just love to play in the dust. I have a large kitty litter box in their coop filled with dust - from their fave spot beside the house - and some DE which will help them stay pest free.

    DE = Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae and is used as an insecticide in garden, and coop.
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Mine do this in the shavings in the coop AND out in the yard. They freely range the whole property, so their favorite areas look like a moonscape.

    The funniest thing is when they get their "fox holes" deep enough for them to nearly disappear into the hole, then pop their heads up to look around, as if they are periscoping. Each hen does it at a different time, but something may cause them all to pop up to look around. It's like "Whack-a-Mole" only without any moles .... Or whacking.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  6. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    Mine discovered the covered deck on the backside of our house. There is a good 2' of clearance underneath and that dirt is DRY and dusty. They go under there and get all crazy digging and fluffing and then emerge and shake -- making a cloud that looks exactly like Pigpen from Peanuts.
  7. Kara515

    Kara515 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2011
    Southeast Missouri
  8. Kara515

    Kara515 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2011
    Southeast Missouri

    [​IMG] That is too funny!!! I never thought of it like that before! Now, that is all I'm going to be picturing when I go out and see them all in their holes!!! LOL Thanks for a good chuckle!!
  9. bucky52

    bucky52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2011
    i have a plastic masonary trough in one of my covered runs i filled it with dry dirt, ashes from the wood stove and some de.they love it.
  10. Break an Egg

    Break an Egg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2008
    San Antonio
    You don't have anything to worry about, chickens scratch and peck all day. Your dirt looks very sandy, and if so they love to dust bathe in sandy spots. Very pretty chickens btw.

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