It is spring, and what is more fun than hatching your very own chicks! However, the chicks need something to do whilst you can’t be there to prevent them getting bored, they may start to peck each other in the flock, bored chicks won’t be as alert to predators, boredom can lead to stress which can lead to health issues. Don’t worry, there are a variety of things to keep your chicks full of energy and happiness.
Firstly, the first thing to think about is how much space they have. Chickens are very active poultry and like to forage. In the first few weeks they barely need any extra space, however, they grow quickly, and, in a few days, they will require more room to explore and forage.
Chicks will sleep under their heat lamp to keep warm, they will enjoy exploring different levels such as jumping on and off perches, in the wild chickens would sleep in higher up areas such as treetops, avoiding predators so introducing chicks to perches is a good way of encouraging their natural instincts, whilst exercising them at the same time.
Chickens love dust bathing as it is very healthy and helpful for them. Dust baths can get rid of the mites and lice hidden in their feathers. Chicks would appreciate dust bathing so adding a tray with some sand and garden soil is a simple and effective way of stimulating your little chicks.
Like budgies and other domesticated small birds, they enjoy mirrors and looking at themselves. They will spend their days looking at the reflection trying to impress or intimidate the ‘other chick.’
Tidy up your garden by removing the weeds, and getting a handful of grass to give to the chicks, they will enjoy pecking and foraging for food, if there are worms in the weeds, the chick will run around the brooder trying to keep it to themselves, try to regularly give them treats like this by digging the worms up. Doing this can create a bond with you and your chicks as they will recognize you as the treat bringer.
Finally, the most fun way to entertain your chicks is to play with them! Even just sitting and watching them will give them, and you the entertainment they want. This will also get them used to being handled for the future. This type of entertainment will allow you to spot faults in the brooder easier.
With supervision the chicks can be let out to interact with other chickens that you have, this is a good way for them to play and bond with the other chickens, which could help prevent fights when they get introduced fully when they are old enough.
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