I am a regular shopper at Ace Hardware. My cart contents are a little bit different now than they used to be–bags of play sand usually accompany my purchases these days. Why? Have you ever seen a chicken with fresh sand? No? You should. Everybody should.
The first time I poured new sand into their outdoor run (with the goal of filling in the various holes they’d dug around the place), I locked the girls into their “basement”–the wire mesh area below their coop–to ensure I’d be free of wandering fluffs while I worked. They waited eagerly, pacing back and forth behind the mesh door, beaks-a-flying at the impediment I’d so rudely placed between us.
I spread out the sand, tamped it down here and there, and finally released the beasts. Out they ran in a hurry, as if to a very important appointment. I stood back and watched in wonder. All three–straight to the sand piles: stop, drop and roll. Fluffed the sand all around their wings, covering their backs, digging in their beaks to make larger holes in which to pour their fluffed-up little bodies, rolling on their sides like dogs on the lawn after a bath. To say it was
amusing is an understatement. They stayed in their newly dug sand bath holes for the next hour, fluffing up their feathers and digging in their beaks, rolling on their sides, kicking up flying dust clouds; the basic revelry of a good sand bath.
I now add new sand every week, and they await their release from the basement as anxiously as the first time. It’s the best, most promising laugh I can get in a day.
Side note: I’m now getting almost three eggs a day!
PS: For those new blog subscribers, check out my earlier posts at the menu on the right. There are some memorable events in the lives of my city hens.