We are starting to see the personalities develop in these babies. One chick in particular has a strong instinct to dust bathe like I’ve never seen before. The brooder only has a cage bottom for cleanliness. Poop drops out the bottom and away from the chicks. But the dust bathing instinct is so strong she lays on the floor flopping around even though there is no dirt to bathe in!
First, the chick found the little tray of grit and started flopping around in that. Grit is tiny stones that the chicks eat to help them digest their food. Once the chicks started eating in the outside troughs that little chick decided to drop in front of one of the open windows. The other chicks were not happy that this little girl wanted to take up space by the food to flip flop around on the cage floor! They started to stand on top of her and in some cases even started pecking at her saying “Get Out of My Way!”
She is going to have a ball when I give the girls their first tray of dirt to play with!
You can watch the dust bathing chick on their YouTube Channel:
As the weather starts warming up the ladies have some favorite ways to cool down. The dirt is still moist and cool in the shade. What better way to cool down than a cool dust bath with friends?! It’s also a great way to kick out any bugs or parasites trying to take hold.
For me it’s a nice way to spend a hot evening. Sitting back watching hens dust bathe. It’s almost hypnotic! It’s also a nice way to forget about a bad work day.
My next goal for the summer is to plop down a lounge chair, pour myself a glass of coconut water and sit back to watch the ladies free ranging. It’s so relaxing.
Just for you, I’ve uploaded a video of the ladies dust bathing on their YouTube channel so you too can relax and enjoy.
Remember that wonderful herb garden I created to surround the chicken run? Everything I read about raising chickens in an all natural way involved using a lot of herbs. They are great for the immune system, deter pests and give off a great odor to cover up that chicken stink.
I pain stakingly hunted down heirloom, organic, non-GMO seeds for a variety of recommended herbs, spend the winter growing them indoors to give them a jump start for a spring planting outside and bought top of the line soil and compost to plant them in. It turned out beautiful and many of them bloomed. My favorite was the pineapple sage.
I started to pull off leave and flowers and fed them to the chickens inside the fence. They loved it. Every time a stem or leaf grew through the fence they’d make short work of it. This worked out for both of us.
Once we started free ranging the girls they became very interested in the garden. I’d let them munch on the herbs and then distract them when the plants had enough. Unfortunately, in the fall the plants didn’t bounce back. So, when I let them out to free range, I covered them by turning pots upside down on top of them.
Unfortunately, hubbies are not as careful. The girls were let out to free range and left on their own with no supervision. The herb garden turned into a dust bath! Disappointing, but even the deer started to eat up any remains during the winter. I was told to give up, but I’m not ready to. I’m going to clean up the mess, plant more herbs, and curl some chicken wire over them. It will allow the plants to grow 4-6 inches tall before the tops pop through the wire accessible to the chickens or the deer. Wish me luck.
If you want to see the mess the hens made out of the garden, you can see it on their YouTube channel:
It’s been so snowy, cold and dark in the evenings when we get home that the hens haven’t gotten much free ranging. We’ve cleared a section in their run and threw straw down to keep their little toes off the cold frozen ground. We finally got a warm day to let them free range on the weekend. The snow melted leaving some dry spots under the bushes. It didn’t take long for the girls to tear up the ground and start using it as a dust bath. Though they have a spot in their run, It’s been awhile since they bathed and it didn’t matter that they had a share a small space. They were in heaven!!
If you didn’t know, taking a bath in the dirt and tossing it all over their bodies helps to get rid of parasites or mites that may try to attach themselves to the girls. We’ll they’re having none of that today!!
It’s the last night before we move the chicks so I want to give them a special treat! I’m going to be dissembling the brooder tomorrow anyway so lets go for broke with a giant dust bath! They loved it! I could have dumped pails of dirt in the pen and it still wouldn’t be enough! They are going to be soooo happy when their first day outside comes!
To see the video of the dust bath, go to their YouTube channel
Ever since the little chickies moved into the big brooder, they have not only been growing longer feathers, they are starting to act more like chickens. No mom around to teach them, they just seem to know what to do.
They started by scratching the ground. Finally! They were wasting so much food! Now, anything that gets knocked out of the feeder is scratched up and eaten.
They started rolling around on the ground. Ahh…..I know this one. They are trying to do a dust bath. But rolling around in their food probably isn’t the best thing for them, is it? So I brought them a dish of dirt and boy did they have fun! I can’t even describe it! You’ll have to check out the video.
The most fun is their need to be standing higher than the others. They are starting to climb up on us as high as they can go. Some of them get real comfortable and nestle down to roost, like the one in the picture. Watch out though, another one wants to take your spot! We’ve had 3 at once trying to get to the top!