Skip to Content

Why Do Chickens Dig Holes – 3 Main Reasons

Chickens are the most exciting birds. You will probably know this if at one time you have watched them. They are an inexhaustible source of amusement in many ways.

If you’re new to the chickens, you’ll quickly be astonished at how deep they love to dig holes and how frequently they seem to do that. Even many farmers are wondering why digging seems like an obsession.

Interestingly, many animals dig holes in the ground; however, many have feet that appear to be designed to remove dirt. Chickens should not be effective due to their physical limitations.

Typically, they have clawed toes, which are unsuitable for the ground job. But they can manage to keep going it very well. But the question you need to ask yourself is, why do chickens dig holes?

Why Do Chickens Dig Holes?

There are various reasons why chickens dig holes, which include:

1. They look for bugs and insects

Chickens are natural scavengers. If you have seen them doing their business for a while, you’ve probably seen the chickens digging holes. In the wild, bugs and insects make up a large part of their diet.

Also, some courtyard chicken owners depend on their chickens to get a large amount of food when they have plenty of outdoor lands.

Chickens almost look for anything that moves. They also scratch the earth’s surface, and if it is loose or they have seen something, they dig it.

Also, they have very sharp craws, which can break through hard ground. So, they do not want to find earthworms or other invertebrates that live underground.

2. They take a dust bath

Another critical reason chickens dig holes is to take a dust bath. They are not the only animals doing this. Some small rodents, such as gerbils, chinchillas, and deguts, take a dust bath, and large animals such as elephants, bison, and pigs.

To do this, the chickens scratch the ground with the beak and claws to make the shallow holes.

Then they lay down or squat in a dust pit, spread the feathers, and then roll around, kicking the dust storm and rubbing the dirt between the feathers.

How does this clean them? First, the ground helps to remove and kill parasites, mites, and lice. It also helps to remove things that are stuck in the feathers. Then your chicken will shake off as dirty as possible. Also, you can apply oil when preening to protect and clean them.

3. To build a nest

If you’ve enough nesting boxes in your chicken coop and the chickens are locked overnight, they’re less likely to build the nest outside. However, some chickens can by digging holes. Like the guinea fowl, some species are more likely to make holes in the nesting site than using the nesting box.

Why do chickens bury in the soil?

Chickens bury themselves in the soil to get rid of the crawling insects or cool themselves. Many owners can testify that when their chickens dig a suitable hole, they cover themselves with the soil. You can do this in some ways, but many chickens flop around to make their skin very dirty.

Some even put dirt in their mouths and then contorted to get rid of dirt on their backs. Chickens are also known for dropping a lot of ground on the back like other flock members.

The soil helps to cool them. It is suitable for them when the moist soil at the base of the hole be rubbed against the skin.

Finally, chickens don’t have many coverings to protect themselves from the heat and sun. If you see them going through this process, you can find that they hardly remove soil from the surface to be scrubbed.

Crawling insects are a great trouble to chickens where they fluff the feathers or shake themselves to remove flying insects, which cling to the skin.

The dirt that comes into contact with the skin will help remove the common parasites, which attach themselves. Those whose soil does not come off will suffocate when covered in dirt.

While all responsible pet owners care for their chickens against mites and the like, some may survive. If you’ve ever had an itch, which you can’t scratch, imagine how it can feel when insects move around the chickens’ bodies. Also, it is common for chickens to peck each other.

Why do chickens peck on the ground?

Chickens love to peck on the ground because of the following reasons:

1. Test potential foods

Not everything is edible, although the chickens would like it. Therefore, pecking can determine if something is worth eating or safe to eat.

2. To get food

Chickens are always on their beaks, pecking to get food. It is challenging for them, particularly when you think that they have to choose something that can move.

Do chickens dig under the fences?

Chickens sometimes dig under the fences if they want to see something from the other side. Also, they prefer taking the path, which is least resistant. Typically, if the ground in the main parting area is challenging to move to, they can look for a place that is not a big problem.

If the soil around the fence is soft, the chickens will keep digging there. Unluckily, this can make them vulnerable to predators.

If they try to dig under the wall, you should bury the fence at least one foot below the ground. However, it is best to scare away animals that can harm the flock, mainly if they don’t go to a closed chicken coop at night.

>> Related Post:


Rearing chickens is the best experience from the beginning to the end. Chickens are fun, reduce the number of mites and insects in your garden, and offer nutritious eggs.

Like other animals, they make commitments while in the field. They will scratch and dig up holes to get the tasty insects or create a dust bath by spinning and rubbing their feathers on the dirt. With this article, you get complete information.