From the depths of memory arose the phrase “Sunday bath” today.  That was partly because it is Sunday and partly because I witnessed the uninhibited joy of bathing outside in the fresh air and sunshine.  No, I didn’t actually do this myself and it wasn’t really, totally outside but….read on and you will see.

http://youtu.be/MH-iNVRQupo

Chickens take baths in dust!  They do this to keep their feathers clean and conditioned.  They wallow in dust or litter and work it through their feathers by flapping their wings and kicking their legs.  When they’re done dusting they stand up and shake themselves, and the dust billows out. When the weather has been suitably dry, our grandchickens do this outside in the run.  When the run is not suitable, they dust-bathe in the shavings and litter inside the coop.  We haven’t had enough dry weather to be rid of the mud that hides under the layer of straw outside in their run.

I’ve been away and haven’t been able spruce up the coop for a couple of weeks, until today. The October air was fresh and   sunny so I opened the door and windows, raked up the shavings and re-spread them around, and put clean shavings in the nesting boxes.  It felt really good to me….but obviously even better to the hens who were inspired to clean themselves and celebrate.

Now, it seems counter-intuitive that anything could get clean by rolling in the dirt.  Don’t we say something is dirty and therefore we have to clean it? I thought so until I remembered a product from the past:  Minipoo!  Anyone “of a certain age” is likely to recall the commercials that sang, “If you can’t shampoo, Minipoo!”  You can read about it here:

http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1414219

There is definitely something timeless about poultry!