Icelandic Supermom Lukka was out with her brood today. She is raising two Cuckoo Marans, and three Brabanter chicks, all five weeks old.
Lukka is what I like to call a super-broody, a chicken that lives to hatch and raise baby chicks. I cannot tell you how many times she has been broody, but one day I will figure it out. She loves having babies and she is happy with one or a dozen. Between broods she lays a few eggs, then goes back to sitting again. Today I was able to watch as she and her little brood took a dustbath.
Chickens bathe in the dust to keep their feathers clean and to ward off creepy crawlies. Wikipedia describes it this way:
Dust bathing has been extensively studied in the domestic hen. In normal dust bathing, the hen initially scratches and bill-rakes at the ground, then erects her feathers and squats. Once lying down, the behavior contains four main elements: vertical wing-shaking, head rubbing, bill-raking and scratching with one leg. The dust collects between the feathers and is then subsequently shaken off which may reduce the amount of feather lipids and so help the plumage maintain good insulating capacity and may help control of ectoparasites.
If you watch the video, I think you will see that Lukka has taught her babies well!