Another 5-Chick Outing in Oregon
In the hot part of the day at Smith Rock, when the sun was too bright and flat for good painting conditions, Naomi and I took a chick break near the edge of basalt cliff overlooking the Crooked River. Here’s Shantie waking from a brief nap in Naomi’s hands:
Next, I happened to catch Shantie as she launched on a flight to my lap, in the photo at the top of this post.
Below are a few views of the chicks hanging out with us, and dust-bathing, in the mountains of southern Washington, during our drive home on June 21.
Chickens, like many other birds, have a strong dust-bathing instinct, and they clearly take great pleasure in it. The dust can be essential for preventing mites and lice, which can infest birds if they don’t have access to dust. More than any other group of chicks we’ve had, this crew makes dust baths into a community affair, and for some reason the chicks like to peck at the bits of dirt in each others’ feathers. Following the curve from upper middle to lower right: Dori the Golden-Laced Wyandotte, Amy the (rare and pricey) Cream Legbar, Puffy the Dominique, Sophie the White Rock, and Shantie the Buff Orpington.
Dust bathing is a vigorous operation, where birds scoop dirt up with their wings and spray it far and wide, to make sure every part of their body is exposed.
Here, Puffy closes her eyes and leans away to dodge Shantie’s dirt geyser:
Taking turns dust bathing and grooming each other…
Dust bathing often leads to napping or sunbathing: