Bzzzz March 31st, 2010

Now that spring has sprung, I’m more willing to do outdoor guard duty while the chickens have some walkabout time at the edges of the woods and in the yard.

They have the run of the place for at least a couple of hours most days. But when I open their outdoor run, the first thing all the chickens do is run, run, run for a spot between the back of the house and my Miss Kim lilac. This is where they bathe.

For chickens, a bath doesn’t involve water and bubbles. It involves loose dirt or dust.

The chickens dig and scratch with their sharp nails until there is a nice, soft patch of loose soil. Then each hen nestles down into the spot that she has prepared and wallows around, scratching and kicking the soil onto her back, opening her wings and rolling around. It looks like chicken heaven. You should be so happy in the bath.

This little ritual serves a useful purpose for the chickens. In hot weather it helps to cool them off as the soil particles work their way into the feathers. It also goes a long way toward avoiding mites, lice and other parasites. So the dirt bath is serious chicken hygiene.

For me, the chickens have also done me a favor. They have completely eradicated some invasive morning glories that no amount of weeding could control. In the years BC (Before Chickens), the morning glories would often wind their way into the lilac bush.

“Hey, wait!” you say. “Where is the big man while all these hens are bathing?”

Well, T. Boone Chickens usually takes a very abbreviated bath and then standards guard to ensure that the hens are protected and have their privacy.

He’s such a gentleman.

P.S. This is not really a chicken blog. But I do have a chicken section in my photo album. Have you visited it?

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Bzzzz March 24th, 2010

That’s right. Chickens play games. And they have toys.

Now that spring is here, I have a nearly endless supply of chickweed I can pull out of the lawn. Sure, I could toss it into the chicken run for them to feast on—and I often do. But it’s much more fun to fill their bell toy and watch them jump up to get it. As they grab the chickweed, the bell rings.

Meredith, pictured below, adores chickweed. Can you see her airborne to get a bite?

Of course, as the head of the household, T. Boone Chickens figures it’s his job to make sure his hens have a fair supply of treats. When they’re on walkabout in the yard, he often finds tasty little morsels. But rather than eating them himself, he makes a wonderful and excited “chuck, chuck, chuck” sound to call over the hens so they can eat the treat.

In the chicken run, he’s so tall compared to the hens he just reaches up and pulls down the chickweed for the hens to eat.

In his own roosterly way, he loves his hens, I think.

So there you have it. Chicken games!

Posted In: Chickens

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