Digging to China

August 12, 2011

The chickens have been partaking in digging one large deep hole daily.  The holes are created by the larger girls.  Dirt flies everywhere. It is amazing to watch.   High and low, you do not want to be behind one of these chickens on their archaeological excavation.  Why are they creating these large holes?   I am not entirely sure.  They are much too large for dust bathing.  When complete, I can barely see the top of the chicken’s heads as they stand deep down in the cool earth.

Oyster Cracker looks on as Feathers watches Autumn and Dottie Speckles explore

Today, I was lucky enough to capture the girls digging one of these colossal creations.  This, being the second day that a new hole was created, I was sure to bring my camera.  Yesterday, I was a bit saddened when I went to lock them in the coop last night.  The mammoth hole that they had dug earlier was no longer present.  The girls had filled in the hole.  So today, I was thrilled to see them dig a new one.

I sat there for a while as the girls, especially Tilly, commanded the scene.  She was the fore-chicken.  Once in a while she would dig and discover.  Then she would go away and leave the others at work.  Within a minute or so, she would return and rediscover the hole all over again.  The big girls dug and dug and dug.  Dirt from the run’s floor flew everywhere.  My legs and toes were covered and I could feel the gritty earth in my flip flops as I moved out of the way.

View from above, 3 chickens in the hole

Apparently, these holes are being dug for bugs.  Deep down, standing between tree and plant roots, the girls forage for tiny little wiggling snacks.  After a while, the larger girls allow the Silkies to pop in and see what they can find.  The Silkies alone are not great at digging which makes it nice to see the bigger girls sharing with the smaller ones.  They never cease to amaze me as I have discovered that they are excellent excavators.  They “will work” for treats.

Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest


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3 thoughts on “Digging to China”

  1. Oh, From Beyond My Kitchen Window, just like you can't wait to have some girls of your own, I can't wait to make those Lemon Brownies that you blogged about today! You should know, I am still drooling!!!

  2. They eat mycelium growing on the tree roots.
    There are some articles on the optimum growth of chickens eating natural mushroom spores and mycelium.
    When you think about it, Chicken manure is used to grow mushrooms.
    And Molds and fungus are what penicillin and other antibiotics are grown from.
    So it is a smart way to maintain healthy gut bacteria in your hens.
    Grain as a primary diet does nasty things to the natural gut fauna.
    Jeff Lawton has some great info on free range chicken health.


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.