Chickens Like Baths, But They Still Can’t Take One Under New Colorado Law
Chickens are natural foragers. They graze, not like a cow, but they can cover quite a bit of ground, pecking seeds and bugs.
Chickens also do this strange thing where they scratch the ground and make a little dip in the loose dirt, then roll in it for a really long time. It's called a dirt bath. Chickens seem to be totally at ease when they are taking a dirt bath.
If you don't know, chickens are afraid of everything. They are "chicken." So, observing them without a care in the world and clearly feeling good is pretty cool.
Our flock consists of 11 chickens. They are free to roam. Their natural behavior takes up lots of space. They adventure all over the place, constantly scratching and pecking. The thought of a chicken being in a cage is really cruel.
Luckily Colorado lawmakers have realized this. As of January 1, 2023, egg producers have to allow hens that are confined in an enclosure "at least 1 square foot of usable floor space per hen." By the beginning of 2025, hens need to be in a cage-free housing system, but still, only 1 square foot of space per hen will be required.
This is better than no space, but as you can see in this video, 1 square foot does not allow a chicken to take a dirt bath. It does not allow a chicken to be a chicken.