Avian Flu Restrictions Causing Boredom
With the current guidelines in place across the U.K. regarding to the Avian Flu restrictions, back garden chicken keepers may be struggling to keep their hens busy in a smaller and enclosed area. Due to a few recent confirmed cases of Avian Flu we are being requested to keep our chickens in a covered run or building to help stop the virus gathering momentum.
Although necessary at the moment this can cause some issues, chickens are creatures of habit a change to their normal free ranging or garden time routine can create stress and boredom and this can result in some strange behaviours.
There are some very simple ways you can create fun and entertainment in a small space for your chickens to receive their boredom.
Perhaps not in a language we are familiar with but by watching their behaviour you can learn a lot about how they feel and their wellbeing. By watching them you may see some of the below signs that your hens are bored and frustrated.
- Pacing. Chickens will repeatedly pace up and down the perimeter of their enclosure when bored. This repetitive behaviour is not only a sign of boredom but a sign of anxiety and stress.
- Feather Pecking. This is a very nasty trait, some chickens when bored, stressed or frustrated will resort to entertaining themselves by pecking theirs or their flock mates feathers out. There are other reasons chickens may feather peck each other but if you can rule out thirst, hunger, aggression etc… then this is usually due to boredom or anxiety.
- Lethargy. Chickens really are very susceptible and sensitive to their surroundings. When they become unhappy, believe it or not, they can sink into a depression, this can make them very lethargic, hunched over and still. This can even result in them going on a food strike, so be careful to ensure this does not happen. There are illnesses that can cause this but with no other symptoms then boredom could be the main cause.
- NOISE!!! Oh, my goodness, some breeds especially Pekins Bantam Chickens, Polish Bantam Chickens, Modern Game etc.. will let you and your neighbours know all about it if they are unhappy. They will shout and cluck and generally be very vocal about their dissatisfaction.
- Over Preening. Chickens can over preen when bored, this will result in bald patches on the bird where they start to over worry a specific area. If you cannot see lice, mites or some kind of skin irritation but you hen has developed bald spots and is preening more regularly then they are BORED!
Adding enrichment to your run does not need to be costly and you can utilise everyday items you have lying around or can forage yourselves from a lovely woodland walk.
Our Top 10 Easy Homemade Chicken Boredom Busters.