Food and Water is not Enough

Hi there readers, after keeping hens now for some 15 months and of course documenting it along the way, I have reached the conclusion that chickens need alot of stimulation.

It appears that they are very emotive, for example if one lays a soft egg, she may be depressed for up to 3 days, maybe to a hen this is the equivilent to a miscarriage. Also since  they have been confined to the run, I have noticed that they search for food almost most of the time, when not dust bathing or napping, therefore when the source of food in the run expires, they instantly look bored.

Their mental well being ensures a better physical well being, so I am increasingly giving them more to explore and play with in the run, also trying to provide potential homes for bugs etc, hence the title Food and Water is just not enough, the difference between living a life and exsisting. I recently cut down a dead tree that have been strangled by Ivy and dragged the ivy covered trunk into the run, this has provided both a new source of food for them and a new object to explore, now I’m not suggesting you do the same, but have a think about their day, and give them something to do.

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Camp Tenko on Full Lockdown!

As some of you may have read on the chicken update page, the girls have been locked up. Our very patient neighbour came  to the door this week and said something had to be done about the hens, they had eaten all his silvet beet (spinach like), not to mention the droppings left around his property, I’d say they have been going over to his garden for a good ten months or more. 

 Camp Tenko on full Lockdown

Tenko for chickens

The chicken run had fallen into a bit of disrepair as it wasn’t really in use other than first thing in the morning at last thing in the evening. So when the hens were put back in with the gate shut, they soon found holes in the bamboo fence big enough to get through, which was helpful to me for patching up the right places, it was a bit of a process, patch up one hole and wait for them to find the next way out. They made quite and effort in one case pulling back the wire fencing in one corner and wriggling under it, once that had been repaired they then searched for the next chink in the fence. After two hours of this, it seemed like I had found all the ways out, only to get up the next morning to find them all out, they had pushed the wire on the gate out at the bottom and crawled underneath it,  honestly they make David Blaine look like an amateur, that’s David Blaine now not David Bain, don’t what to get those two mixed up.

After day two of observing them escape and patching the gaps, they seem to be contained, however they are intent on escape, so I imagine I will ahve futher work to do yet, well it’s hard to see them locked up in a space about one twentieth of what they have gotten used to. As I type this Nancy has escaped, she just wants to get to the old nest which is at the front of the house.

The others seem ok about laying their eggs in the new nest areas I have provided for them, mainly though they look a bit bored in the run, I have been trying to find things to put in the run to keep them occupied, yesterday a put a grapefruit in for them, it was amusing to watch them peck at it, then shake their heads, simularly to a child given something bitter for the first time, but they went back for more, with the same result, which made me wonder about their memory time frame.

Hopefully they will get used to their new situation and so will we, it will benefit us in the long run too, as they would eat our vegetables too and the mess they leave around the house is undesirable, the garden should get a chance to recover from the constant pecking from the hens, maybe we can get some kind of lawn happening at the back now. I sign off  heavy hearted.