Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Chicken Enrichment Activities...

As I prepare myself mentally and my garden physically for such a time as the chickens can free range I have begun a regime of chicken enrichment and training. It sounds a bit Rocky…and it is.

Having once again put out twitter pleas and returned to my favourite poultry forums (don’t laugh- it’s not as nerdy as it sounds…ok it is) and decided to sacrifice one of my dad’s wild bird feeders for the sake of the chooks. Following instructions I stuffed the suet holder with lettuce and my girls favourites- jersey royal potatoes and asparagus (they have expensive taste) and strung it up in their eglu run…

Mildred demonstrating her new toy...

It was very successful and they climbed all over each other tot get the best bits. Feeling particularly smug about my little chook toy I also shoved in a branch for them to perch on…they haven’t worked that out yet but I have faith, they really are very bright.

No girls not under it, sit on it!

Also, they’re getting much better at being picked up. They still don’t love it, squawking indignantly for a while at first but they now eat out of my spare (non chicken restraining) hand and they sit down when I go to pick them up which I think is not only a sign of my brilliant training but also the fact that they might be getting ready to lay?

Maud is ready for her close up...

Any tips for letting my chooks free range without legging it into next doors garden?


  1. A good tip for when your chickens are free-ranging is to protect any special/favourite plants with upturned hanging basket frames, this providies a 'cage' for your plants, if the chickens still peck through the large gaps wrap the basket in chicken wire. I buy them from Car Boot sales usually for about 50p each...well worth it.

    Also your perch is too thin for the chickens feet. You need a branch around the thickness of a wide broom handle or even wider. Chickens like to get a good grip with their feet to feel secure.

    I also put in logs on the ground inside the Eglu for them to sit on and you will find worms and grubs appear under this and the chickens love it.

    Warn the slugs that the chickens are coming...you will soon have a slug free area, just one of the many perks of being a chicken keeper.

    Sue xx

  2. I did suspect it would be too thin, it was the only thing I had that would fit through the bars- they seem to enjoy doing limbo under it anyway! I've seen someone using an old shoe rack in the eglu which makes a chicken climbing frame, I'm dead keen to have a go at that- thats probably a car boot job too!

    Thanks for the hanging basket tip- I'm sure this will make my dad a little happier about letting them grub about in his flower beds!

    Holly x

  3. You need a good fence around the garden to keep them where you want them......