Cast and Crew

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dust Bathing to Beat the Heat

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. We really do have some hot chicks. Temps have been in the eighties for quite a few days in a row, the AC is on in the bedroom, the dogs are panting, and the chickens are open-beak breathing. Summer has finally arrived. It's time for a cool bath!

Chickens love to dust themselves. If you raise hens, you know exactly what I mean. Our neighbor across the street worried that his three girls didn't have a dusty spot to use, but I warned him that they would make their own if he let them out.

Just look what ours have done! Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a row of cedar trees in this spot. We cut them down about two years ago, and, while we were taking care of the douglas fir in the front yard, we had the stump grinder guy remove the cedar stumps in the backyard, too.

The girls are delighted. The dry, crumbly earth is easy to scratch, fun to peck at, and it makes the BEST dirt bath EVER. The other chickens took off when I came outside with the camera, but Raquel has no shame. She continued to kick up the dirt and made quite a show of herself.

Shake your groove thing, Raquel!

Chickens don't have sweat glands like mammals do. Even dogs and cats can sweat through their paws. When the temperatures climb, chickens breathe through their beaks (a sign of heat stress), frolic in the shade, and take dust baths to cool off.

Doesn't she look refreshed? Dust baths also help keep the bugs away. They're fun to eat, but not so much fun to wear. Dust is a natural flea and mite repellant.

One final fluff to get the dirt out...

The hollows left behind demonstrate just how much fun our girls have in the dirt. And, like our neighbor quickly learned, if you don't give them a dusting spot, they'll make their own.


  1. Nothing like a good dirt bath is there?!=)

  2. Great pictures! I would love to get some chickens. I bet they are a lot of fun to watch, besides the great eggs! We planned on it last year but didn't find the time to build a chicken coop so I am still chickenless. What kind of chicken is Raquel?

  3. True, so true! My chickens have made a million dust bath spots. Okay, maybe not a million, but a lot.

  4. Great post. The days here have been in the upper 90s and our chickens enjoy their dust baths to keep cool

  5. Our chickens have been hot too. Too hot! I even leave the heat lamp off in our brooder during the day, otherwise the babes are sprawled out on the paper and panting like dogs.

  6. Jennifer...
    Raquel and Ursula are both Dominiques, which are considered the oldest domestic American breed. They are the breed from which the Barred Rock is descended. All of our girls (except Winnie) are heritage breed chickens.


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