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Providing entertainment for hens

22 replies

Creamlegbar · 15/09/2010 18:16

I just bought a big mirror at the market for £3 (£3!) and one of my hens put her beak on the mirror and slid it from one side of the mirror to another, trying to figure out what was going on.

I hang up cabbages but they don't touch them.

Also, given that they demolish grass at the rate that they do, would they like some turf if I can get hold of some that someone is throwing out?

I have put their food in bird feeders. I am assuming this will be safe from rats.

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Creamlegbar · 15/09/2010 18:17

And I would love to hear your ideas for entertaining chooks.

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ChooksAway · 15/09/2010 18:32

Straw on the floor of the pen to scratch around in.
If they don't like cabbages, how about nettles?
Are they in a pen, or free ranging? Shelves in the pen and ramps are good for flightier birds (am imagining from your name that yours will be of the flighty variety!) Long logs propped up against the sides, things like that!

Creamlegbar · 15/09/2010 18:48

Free ranging in a sectioned off end of garden, but have a small pen too, with the food and water in it.

Shelves in the pen?
A bunch of nettles hanging from the roof of the pen?

I have given them sand for a sand bath and I will get some more, I think.

Ramps?

Thanks Chooks.

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BabyDubsEverywhere · 15/09/2010 22:43

My two play apples, i throw whole apples into the garden and they run around chasing the things, looks like Chicken Footy! :0

Rabbits! My two rabbits chase my two chickens and back and forth for ages, and they all lie on the grass together, well the rabbits lie, the chickens sit with them, they seem to like each other though and definatly keep each other amused :0

My run is on bark so when i clean it out i rake all that over and give it a blast which seems to bring the bugs up, i also chuck a handful of corn in to keep them scrating around.

Parrot toys, I have a swinging perch in my run designed for big parrots, the chickens actually swing on it.

We will be moving soon and will have a permanent area for the chickens and rabbits which will be around 3m x 6m, in this area i plan to plant a few bushes for them to hide in/under.

I will be seeding the are with meadow grass, or simelar, to give a bit of variety to normal grass.

Cant think of anything else, so also marking my place to steal ideas Grin

Creamlegbar · 16/09/2010 08:40

Baby, thanks. Yesterday my Speckledy was standing on the door of the pen as it swayed in the wind, which made me think of setting up a trapeze but I thought it sounded a bit daft. Of course! if I call it a perch it sounds less circussy.

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BeenBeta · 16/09/2010 09:04

I fence ours on patch of garden that needs a good weeding and a dig over. They like doing it and it saves me a job. Grin

Creamlegbar · 16/09/2010 11:49

Beenbeta. Thanks. I am seriously thinking of carrying my hens the short distance to the allotment ((200 yards, very lucky with that) and just letting them clear the weeds. I would need a light cage for them. And let them get on with it. (BB, is there a part of mn where we can talk aboutshares/investments?)

Hens: I am thinking of getting some sort of noise stimulation, eg bells, wind chimes.

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BeenBeta · 16/09/2010 11:53

I have a 5 ft high wire fence that some 6 ft stakes I stick in the ground wherever I want. Just be careful on your allotment for foxes sneaking about but they will do a fab job over a month or so though.

There is an Investment section.

Creamlegbar · 16/09/2010 12:02

Thanks Beta, won't talk about high yielding Brazilian government bonds here then.

I have been 'bitten' by foxes, so I won't be taking any chances at all, won't let them on the allotment out of eyesight.

What is the wire fence? I have lots of chicken wire. Is it a 'flexible' fence? In my mind I have a 3 man tent size pen that I can move along. Almost thinking of an upside down playpen. Obviously whatever size of garden I give, they will eat, hence the question about giving them old turf to peck at.

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BeenBeta · 16/09/2010 12:14

I dont use chicken wire. Its a sort of square guage heay proper fencing wire which is stiff enough to just about stand up on its own. The holes in it are about 4 cm x 10 cm and the roll I got is about 10m long. I just stick 4 stakes in the ground in a rough square and sort of roll the wire loosly around them and tie with a few bits of string.

They dont seem to want to fly over the top.

Creamlegbar · 16/09/2010 12:36

And what dp you call this sq. guage heavy fencing wire, if I need to ask at Countrywide? Do countrywide stock it? It sounds just what I want. Thx.

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BeenBeta · 16/09/2010 12:54

I had a quick look on Countrywide and could not find exactly what I was looking for. I will have another look elsewhere after lunch.

ChooksAway · 16/09/2010 13:11

Creamlegbar - if you have a pen that's covered over, some hens like to get quite high up, so wide shelves along an edge with a ramp up to it, or logs, can be entertaining for them, and help them to feel safe and secure.

The chickens I've found this works with (in my case, anyway) are legbars, leghorn, pheasant fowl, that sort of thing - the ones that still seem to have a wild streak in them. Our silkies, ex-batts, orpingtons don't like it at all and never venture on.

Should have been clearer with my first post :)

Creamlegbar · 16/09/2010 13:51

Chooks, iswym now. My pen is very low. The 'run' has lots of bits and pieces that they do fly onto. Have you tried a mirror? For comedy? I am definitely going to look into the parrot toys.

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BeenBeta · 16/09/2010 14:13

It was this B&Q Garden Fence Green that I bought.

It is green and PVC coated so it does not look ugly in a garden setting. I also got some of these stakes to hold it up with.

Tippychoocks · 16/09/2010 14:18

I chuck all my garden weeding and end of season clearing (old plants, bolted veg) in for them to have a scratch through before it gets put on the compost. That has the added bonus of them pooing on the waste before it gets composted and giving it a kick start.

I keep sunflower heads and tie one up every few days along with cabbages for them to peck.

Sounds like yours may not need amusing though if they have a good portion of garden to roam in.

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows · 16/09/2010 14:22

I pile up logs for them to jump about on, and they also love chasing a dry weetabix about the patio. One pecks it and it shoots off across the floor, so they chase it etc. Particularly amusing if there's been a frost

suwoo · 17/09/2010 11:50

What about silkies, do they need much in the way of entertainment?

ChooksAway · 17/09/2010 13:59

My silkies seem to have the attention span of a goldfish - being together seems to be entertainment enough - but maybe that's just mine :o

nickelbabe · 17/09/2010 15:12

i've just mentioned in another threa dthat i wrap the garden in flimsy chicken wire when we let the girls out - in the allotment, if you're not going to leave them unattended, that's all you need.

get a large cat carrier for your birds to cart them around (useful for vets visits too) - we could fit 4 in ours.


wrt entertainment - ours have a "jungle gym" in their run - it's basically lots of ramps (plain wooden planks with little ridges nailed on - they don't like ladders), shelves, and rough large branches all screwed together at various heights.

we've tried them with a football and they didn't like it.

they don't peck at veg if it's hanging up, but they do it it's on the ground/surface

and we have a tyre on the ground, too, with a little ramp to it. they run up theramp, jump into the tyre middle, then up onto the edge of the tyre then away.

MixedNutPlate · 22/09/2010 21:00

I thread 10mm canes thru the bars at varying levels and move them and they get used lots, our cuckoo maren believes herself a cane walker par excellence.

I use cable ties to attach group of stems/leaves like tomato, carrot, beetroot onto the wire sides.

We scatter bark chipping down and the scat about and then it all goes into the compost bin.

We also scatter corn around the pen and they love digging in the stone chippings for it.

I move their water and feed hoppers each week.

Creamlegbar · 28/09/2010 10:56

Beetadad, thank you for the B and Q links. Just what I was after for the allotment.

MNP, hadn't even thought about something as simple as moving the hoppers.

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