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    • CommentAuthorjoannec
    • CommentTimeOct 19th, 2007 10:14pm (Oct 19th 2007)
     
    Hello

    Can i ask a question please.......

    I am the one with egg eating, soft shell laying hens x 2.

    Do my girls get bored in there 7ft run????? and why are they always hungry???

    Any ideas anyone : )

    Thanks
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeOct 20th, 2007 3:15pm (Oct 20th 2007)
     
    I'm sure Neil or Scarlett will be able to answer you when they're back from Budapest, but I don't have any idea!
    I know from watching Milly, Tilly and Penny they like to scratch around and peck a lot. Should hens 'work' for some of their food to keep them occupied?
    • CommentAuthorjoannec
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd, 2007 8:39pm (Oct 22nd 2007)
     
    Hi Kateb

    Thanks for replying. I let the girls out to roam free range in the garden at the weekend they thoroughly enjoyed it, the thing is though when i let them into there run this morning they were totally miffed because they wanted to go for a wonder around the garden and as i work during the week i dont think i would settle knowing they were out all day without me there to look after them, i will let them out every weekend i do hope they forgive me for not letting them out in the week though : (
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd, 2007 9:17pm (Oct 22nd 2007)
     
    I think its probably wise not to let them free roam when you're at work unless your garden is very secure. There are lots of natural predators for chickens! I won't leave my cats out when I'm not home so I'm sure I'd do the same as you.
    It shows that chickens are more intelligent than they're given credit for though if they've learnt about having the whole garden already!
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeOct 28th, 2007 12:03pm (Oct 28th 2007) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hey jo,

    Yeah, good advice: always watch you hens when they are free ranging. We used to let the chicks out during the day, they were almost full grown and equally as big as our other three adult hens (they were buff's, so were a HUGE breed :) ) but a fox managed to take all three of them, just like that. We never heard a thing and we were right inside the house. We don't even live right out in the countryside, but Mr Fox still came visiting.

    To help stop boredom, there are a few things you can do. We add plant pots and other perches (logs etc) into the coop for the hens to hop onto. There's also a sand pit towards the back half of the coop which the girls enjoy dust bathing in. Another useful idea is tying a lettuce to the roof of the coop, hanging a few feet from the ground. The chooks will enjoy jumping and pecking at it and watching it swing - although they may be scared of it at first!

    I've also heard tying nettles to the coop roof for the chickens to peck at is a good way to keep them entertained, and is nutritional too, but i haven't tried that one yet - mainly because of the stinging involved actually getting the nettles into the coop :P

    Putting lots of straw in the coop and scattering their feed amongst it also helps stave off boredom.

    As for your hens always being hungry, I'm not sure. If we give our girls a treat, like tomato or lettuce, then they will eat it all. However if we give them two full bowls of feed, they will usually eat a bit and save the rest until later. Although it's normally all gone when we go out the next day to re-fill it :)

    Do your girls eat all the feed given, no matter how much? And do they eat it continuously until it has gone?

    Hope this helps,
    Scarlet
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeOct 28th, 2007 12:35pm (Oct 28th 2007)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    One more thing i've just thought of...

    Get a big plastic container, or something like it, and fill it with fresh soil (compost soil is good because it's full of bugs and worms!) then put it in the coop. The girls will love scratting about discovering all the tasty bugs, and afterwards they might use it as a dust bathing box! If you don't have a plastic container, you can just tip the soil straight into the coop in a big mound, they'll love that, but it does mean you'll have to dig all the soil out when it gets all poopy :P