Silly Chickens and Mud Puddles June 27, 2014

Silly chickens. Chickens can be contrary.

  • You can provide them with the most fabulous coop, and some will want to roost in a nearby tree in the rain.
  • You can give them huge, roomy nests filled with soft, clean nesting material in a secure place, and they want to lay eggs in the dirt under your porch.
  • You can give them a dust bath you built yourself, and filled with the good stuff: diatomaceous earth, wood ash, sand and so on… and they want to dust bathe on your flower beds.
Silly chickens

You can also grow them fresh “chicken salad” greens, and they’ll still want to eat your petunias!

There are ways to deal with each of the above problems. For the first two, it helps to leave the chickens “cooped up” for a few days, so they learn to regard their coop as home (again), a safe place to lay (again). Chickens are creatures of habit, after all–you just need to get them into a new habit, or in some cases, a new old habit. You can also, with a little effort, keep them out of your landscaping and garden beds with a combination of fencing and netting.


Read more about how to keep your chickens from scattering the mulch at this link.

There’s one thing I haven’t been able to come up with a solution for, though: how do I convince the chickens to drink from their clean waterer rather than from mud puddles? Silly chickens.


Don’t you know you have fresh clean water inside the coop?!

Addressing the habit thing really doesn’t seem to help in this case. Keeping them cooped up inside for a few days means they drink from their waterer during that time, but as soon as they’re let out, the mud puddle habit re-establishes itself. They go straight for any puddles in the road. During dry spells when there are no puddles–and there are few enough dry spells in WV–they drink from their waterer as a last resort! But as soon as there is enough to dip their beaks in, they’re right back at it.

Silly chickens. The only thing I can think is that they prefer their water with, er, considerably more flavor. Mud flavor. Yum.


George Castonguay June 27th, 2014

It is also amazing how you can put their treats like lettuce and such inside a clean tray but they much prefer to toss it all over the ground before eating it. Maybe all the dirt adds texture and flavor.

Lissa June 27th, 2014

Ha! You may be right!

Practical Parsimony June 28th, 2014

I am amazed that my chickens just like walking in puddles. Yes, they drink from it, too. They always lay in the box. But, putting clean greens or anything else in their pen and expecting it to stay clean is ludicrous. They eat anything after throwing it around their pen with plenty of poop. The only thing that keeps their water clean is that I have it sitting about 18 inches off the ground with brick steps for the smaller chickens. the large RIR can reach the water just fine.

They have scratched up places and used them for dust baths. But, they eradicate bugs from my yard and cleared the front yard of grubs eating the grass roots.

Des July 7th, 2014

Yes this is so funny. My chickens prefer drinking from the plant pond than their waterers.
I ordered some chicks from you and love them. They are starting to grow up now. One is an olive egger and I think she’s blue. Would this color be considered a blue hen?

Lissa July 7th, 2014

Yes, how pretty! She is blue. 🙂

Des July 10th, 2014

Oh wonderful! Thank you for letting me know.

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