Continuing with my ABC based on our chickens - D is for the dustbaths they enjoy so much! Here is a short video I recorded way back in the days when summer meant sunshine! The distinct sounds of their contentment are quite clear.
Chickens don’t bath their bodies with water the way humans do, they use soil to clean their plumage (feathers) and this form of bathing is very vital to their health. Chickens really enjoy taking a dust bath to clean their feathers and help with mites and other parasites that like to feast on chicken and sap their energy.
Dustbaths help remove excess oil from the chickens feathers. Dusting is also a method chickens use to cool off when it’s hot.
Whilst our chickens have a variety of places they enjoy dustbaths - mostly in the hedge or in a patchy area in the neighbouring field, another good source for a dust bath to help control lice and mites is wood ash from our Rayburn.
Wood charcoal can very beneficial and an important supplement for our chickens. Charcoal has the capabilities to absorb toxins and is capable of absorbing up to two hundred times its own weight. Extensive research suggests that animals consume it for its medicinal, toxin-binding properties. The charcoal is also a laxative and so then can work twofold and move the impurities it absorbs out of the body. If worms or worm ova are present, it can to some degree help move them out of the body as well.
Our chickens also from time to time are seen eating the wood ash as well as charcoal. Wood ash is highly soluble in vitamin K, followed by calcium and magnesium. Vitamin K is useful for blood clotting in poultry. Wood ash has a very nice texture to aid in dust bathing and adding it to our chickens dust bath to eat and dust in must give our chickens a double-benefit!
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It is also a treble offering for D's this week following our motorbike adventure on Sunday.
The weather forecast (why do we listen?) stated that the better weather would be over towards the Lakes and not too good here on the North East Coast! Like utter fools we decided to have a little tootle over to the Lakes. The weather was LOVELY here, but we feared this would change. We packed a picnic and headed over towards the Lakes.
As we made our way along the A66 we noticed the BLACK sky above the area we were heading, even lightning at one point, so we changed route and headed along to Hawes. Whilst we had stopped for our picnic we had put on our waterproofs, it was so lovely at Hawes, we removed our waterproofs and packed them away. After a cup of tea we set off for home - normally about an hour. Just outside Hawes we came to our first road hold-up. This is how the North Air Ambulance reported the incident.
"Yesterday afternoon we airlifted a 65-year-old motorcyclist near Bainbridge in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. The man had collided with a car and sustained a severe leg injury. Our doctor and paramedic team worked closely with a Yorkshire Ambulance Service road crew on scene. The man was then taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, a journey which took just 15 minutes. We wish him a speedy recovery."
Having stopped and enquired that there was nothing we could do, we continued along our route. It soon became obvious we had misjudged the waterproofs situation. We pulled up and dragged on our jackets and over-trousers - not easy in the rain. Once again we set off and in a matter of minutes we came across floods! We made our way through the huge puddles across the roads and just when we thought that we were managing, an idiot in a large 4x4 thought it was hilarious to overtake us at speed, midst the flood sending a torrent of gushing water over both us and our motorbike! (We did report him to the police!) Jon managed to remain in control of the situation and would you believe we then came across SNOW!
The conditions were reported here in the local press.
Again, Jon's experience and skill ensured we made it home, but what a DAY!