One interesting thing I've learned about chickens is that to keep their feathers nice and clean, they take dirt baths!
|Dirt bath buddies Penguin and Aster - sadly no longer with us, but I have many happy memories!|
At first it really scared me because they writhe around in the dirt and kick it up on their feathers. I thought they had fallen over unable to walk and were struggling to get back up, but of course that was not the case at all. Just taking a bath! It really is the funniest thing to watch. They lay down on their side and kick dirt all up in their feathers. After a while, they stand up and shake out like a wet dog and dirt goes everywhere! It really is beneficial to them because it helps to keep their feathers clean, gets rid of any bugs or mites, and cools them off when it's hot outside. It's just a natural, instinctual chicken behavior and a sign that they are happy. :)
The guineas love to dust bathe as well. Unfortunately their favorite place to do so is in my herb garden!