Posts tagged chicken dirt baths
Chickens Dig Dirt Baths

Charley Diggin' Dirt Meet Charley, short for Charlotte, she is a White-Crested Blue Polish hen, one of three new bantam hens I have added to my blended flock at "Coop de Manion" recently. More on this to follow.

Isn't Charley beautiful. She is as soft and fluffy to the touch as she looks. Her floppy white crest exaggerates her movement and personality. Honestly, I have had my beloved hens for about eight years, and Charley is special, she doesn't even act like a chicken. If I am crouching near the ground, she practically jumps in my lap, like a giddy teenager. With that said, she loves to be out in our garden, and loves to burrow in our soft sandy soil and create a dirt bath for herself.

In the above photo, Charley is demonstrating the fine art of a chicken "dirt bath." Don't ask me how they know how to do it, or where they learn it, they just know. Maybe they learn from their elders. If you have a prize-winning garden, this is about the most destructive a chicken will be. Chickens pride themselves in burrowing in the soil, making an indentation, and flicking dirt over themselves. If you have an exposed vegetable garden, this is another story because chickens love to help themselves to the latest gourmet treat emerging in your garden.

Charley is demonstrating her "dirt bath," in this sunny, sandy corridor where I have planted herbs along this pathway. All of my hens love to gravitate to this area, and wallow deep in the sandy soil. It is their favorite spot in the garden.

I have mentioned before when speaking of chickens in the garden, chickens love dirt baths to cleanse their feathers, cool themselves, and for general relaxation. It is sometimes hard to move a relaxed hen from her sunny dirt bath spot.

Now that you know the finer points of the chicken "dirt bath," I hope to put your mind at ease, and not be too concerned if you see your chickens doing the same in your garden. Rest assured, it is one of their little life pleasures.

Please share if your chickens like "dirt baths." Please share with us a little about your favorite chickens and their personalities.

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Chickens in the Garden

Julia, J.Lo, Fanny, and Coco at Home in the Garden Even if you provide your chickens with a chicken coop "extroadinaire" and an adjoining spacious outside pen, their preference will always be out roaming free in your yard and garden. So much garden to explore, bugs and worms to forage, dirt baths to indulge in, and plain ol' sunshine and breeze to enjoy.

I encourage you to let your chickens out to roam and free-range in your yard and garden, mind you with a watchful eye. It is important that you protect your chickens while they are outside of their pen, and on the "flip side," you are aware of the necessity of protecting your flower and vegetable gardens from your chickens, too.

If you let your chickens out in your yard and garden, be aware of possible predators such as dogs, coyotes, raccoons. Never let your chickens out to roam at night, only day time. Make sure your yard and garden is free of any glass, nails, and sharp objects which could possibly cut or puncture a chicken's foot. Punctures in a chicken's foot, has enormous consequences, and can lead to infection and bumblefoot. Use common sense to eliminate anything in your yard and garden which could potentially harm your chickens.

If you have a prize-winning garden, or an incredible green thumb growing organic vegetables, you should take precautions to keep them protected from your chickens. Chickens love home-grown vegetables, and will be in your vegetable garden, if not protected with a surrounding fence or netting. Our beloved hens will jump a foot or so to eat a lush cluster of grapes in our vineyard. We net our vineyard to dissuade wild birds, as well as own chickens. Chickens know where the good eats are, rest assured.

In your flower gardens, chickens are more likely to wallow in dirt baths at the base of shrubs, rather than eat actual plants. They are foraging for bugs, worm, small lizards more so than your flowers. Dirt baths for chickens are a form of cleansing their feathers, cooling themselves in the moist soil, and general relaxation.

Chickens if roaming outside, naturally head for their coop at dusk to perch on their roost at night. If it is not dusk, and you need to coax your chickens back into their coop and outside pen, try training them to herd.

Herding works with a small flock of chickens, not usually a large one. Herding chickens is a bit like "herding cats." When you first get your chickens, start training them at a young age to herd as soon as possible, especially if you are going to let them out to roam. I have never had a rooster, so I don't know if this method works for them, too.

My technique for herding chickens, is to gently walk behind them, patting or clapping my hands together, using my left or right arm out to steer them. It works. If you have a small flock, once you get the leaders heading towards your coop, the others fall into place. Gently clap walking slowly behind them, and they will march back to the coop.

Chickens love to be in your yard and garden. They love to have the freedom to roam and explore, but don't have to be out in your yard and garden all the time. Let them out, when you have time to keep an eye on them, and when you have time to be in your yard and garden.

Please share if you let your chickens out in your yard and garden at times. Please comment on any method you use to herd your chickens.