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Question about dust bathing?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by salsss, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. salsss

    salsss Chirping

    Mar 26, 2016
    Adirondacks, NY
    Looked out today and I see a chicken dust bathing in the dirt bottomed run...that's fine but there are a circle of others around her pecking at her--are they preening or did I miss a mite problem? I do check them...not every one but..

    Also they are digging that hole bigger for her. Hopefully I'm not seeing a mite or pest issue?

    Thanks...I have a camera out there and the first time I saw that, I thought I had a dead chicken!! LOL

  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    Mine do that - I think the one churning the dirt brings up goodies or at least the others think there are some :)

    Chickens don't dust bathe if they are ill - if she wanted to she can just get up and move.
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The "pecking" associated with dirt bathing isn't what you think. Instead of an aggressive action, it's a social one. Pay attention closely and you will notice the beak action isn't a hammering one, but more of a sliding action. It signifies a desire to join in the dirt bathing and the need for it to be communal.

    Dirt bathing is one of the most social activities chickens engage in and they derive great joy in the closeness of their peers while engaging in it.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Dust bathing can be the best chicken TV!

    Hard to say why they are pecking her...
    ....there's a lot of pecking goes on in the dust bath, at each other and the ground.
    Have seen them peck to lord status, pull rank, and take over the bathing area.

    Bug checks are good thing to do regularly regardless:
    Bugs check
    Have you checked them over real well for mites and/or lice?
    Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.
    Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).
    Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.
    Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.

    If you do find some...check out this thread:
  5. salsss

    salsss Chirping

    Mar 26, 2016
    Adirondacks, NY
    Thanks all. I'm watching more closely and it seems more like preening/social pecks. Lovely to see. Even my little chicks in the living room do it.

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