We looked out one recent morning to see Esmeralda and Marigold buried up to their necks in the cold frame, right behind the last of the arugula.
It was a very cute little scene, but also an essential reminder for the urban chicken farmer. In the dripping Seattle winter, there is not much dry dirt to be found. Where is a girl chicken to bathe? Chickens need dust baths to keep their skin healthy–fluffing in dry soil helps to release essential oils in the skin, and prevent nasty ectoparasites. They also just seem to enjoy it, finding a calm comfort in excavating and inhabiting their earthen holes. In this wet/snowy weather, let’s all remember to keep some outdoor covered space for the chickens where the dirt will stay dry and loose. A propped-open cold frame is perfect, as my girls taught me, and I’m also keeping the space under the coop open and available to them.
Wishing a peaceful winter, warm baths, and healthy skin to all–feathered and not.