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Enrichment for Yard Birds – CattleDog Publishing

Breanna Ask LSH hen 1.jpg

Photograph Courtesy of Breanna Norris, KPA-CTP

Chickens, geese, geese, and different “yard birds” could be fairly social and be great pets. They want applicable predator-proof housing, medical care, meals, water, and enrichment. Enrichment helps your birds to thrive mentally and bodily, and totally different species of birds might have their very own distinctive enrichment wants.

Dust Baths

Chickens not solely take pleasure in a mud or filth bathtub however want it for good well being. This exercise reduces parasites on the feathers, retains them cooler, and helps to distribute pure oils via the preening course of throughout these baths.

If a pure filth gap doesn’t exist, you can also make one utilizing a low-sided kitty litter pan with added sand or filth which doesn’t have any added fertilizer or chemical compounds. The litter pan must be sufficiently big for big breed chickens like Bielfelders or Jersey Big to get their our bodies down within the filth.

Snuffle Mats, Snuffle Balls, and Canine Puzzle Bowls

Geese and chickens can each forage in snuffle mats. It is a nice possibility when the bottom is frozen. Black soldier fly larvae, mealworms, berries, and seeds could be sprinkled in a snuffle mat.

In hotter months, snuffle mats could be product of grass. In case your rooster run doesn’t have grass, then you possibly can develop oat grass in trays. When the grass reaches one to 2 inches tall, sprinkle in treats and provides the tray to your birds. They are going to forage for the treats, eat the grass, and dig within the filth that are all regular hen behaviors. 

Canine puzzle bowls and snuffle balls could be crammed with snacks or meals in order that birds can forage. Birds additionally take pleasure in chasing and rolling the balls round.

Herb Planters

Plant perennial herbs like mint, thyme, and oregano in planter containers. As soon as they’re nicely established, you possibly can place them in your rooster run. Put rooster wire over the containers in order that the birds can get to the vegetation however not dig within the filth. 

Hanging Meals Exercise

Kale leaves hanging from garments pins can create a enjoyable foraging exercise for birds. Cabbage heads or selfmade suet-type blocks could be suspended. The birds will stretch and hop as much as get the treats, identical to they’d naturally leap at low-hanging branches.

Kiddie Swimming pools for Geese and Different Waterfowl

Geese love the water and wish it for good well being and grooming. Offering a kiddie pool for swimming could be nice leisure for the geese. Geese will swim even in chilly climate.

Deeper swimming pools give geese a possibility to dive below the water however be sure you present them with a ramp or different secure entry out and in of the water.

Buckets and Different Water Sources

When a pool is just not an possibility, buckets can be utilized so your geese can totally submerge their head every day. This isn’t simply enriching for the duck but in addition wanted for good well being and grooming. 

Foraging for meals in water

Geese take pleasure in foraging for meals in water. Sprinkle berries, peas, bugs, sprouts, or vegetable peels in a deep dish or pool. Waterfowl upkeep meals, offered commercially, floats on the water and could be fed every day to geese and different waterfowl as their common weight-reduction plan.

Breanna Ask LSH hen 4.jpg

Photograph Courtesy of Breanna Norris, KPA-CTP


If given the house, chickens and geese can cowl loads of floor in a day, foraging for bugs and vegetation alongside the best way. Whereas many geese and chickens can stay in small areas, they need to nonetheless have alternatives to discover and forage safely. If attainable, permit for free-ranging instances when you possibly can monitor them or create a “rooster tractor” to permit the birds to soundly transfer from one space to the following.

Clicker Coaching

Chickens and geese could be clicker educated. Educate them to hop up on a platform, to focus on an object with their beak, or to come back when known as. 

Breanna Ask LSH hen 2.jpg

Photograph Courtesy of Breanna Norris, KPA-CTP


Chickens and Muscovy geese will usually roost at evening within the coop. This supplies a secure and draft-free place to sleep. When given the choice, many may even roost through the day of their run. 

Lined Exterior Area

A lined run provides your birds house for enrichment alternatives year-round, whatever the climate. Preserve snuffle mats, mud baths, and different enrichment gadgets dry and secure from dangerous climate. Greenhouse plastic on the roof and sides helps hold this house heat whereas {hardware} material retains your birds secure from predators. 

Birds are pure downside solvers and revel in interacting with enrichment actions. By offering enrichment and assembly their particular wants, yard birds is usually a great addition to your loved ones. Chances are you’ll be stunned by how a lot character they’ve.

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