Preening. It usually starts on the chest…
then systematically moves down the body. Sometimes the entire head disappears inside all that fluff!
Feathers can appear ruffled from preening.
A quick chicken shake and the feathers return to their position.
Preening is a natural way chickens clean themselves in addition to a good dust bath. In fact, these habits begin as baby chicks. Chickens preen themselves to help release new feathers from their sheaths, remove bugs and pest, and add oil to their feathers to keep them in good condition. Doing this with the oil also helps to keep their feathers somewhat water resistant in rain.Watch closely. Every so often, you will see your chicken tuck their beak in by their tail. They are getting a drop of oil for their feather from the uropygial gland that sits on top of their tail.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest