So – you’ve got chickens and have noticed that they peck and scratch everything. We call them our “volunteer gardeners” because we don’t ask them to garden, they just do it. They eat plants that chickens don’t like (jade plants!) and can’t be good for them. We tried penning ours up with a bird cloth run, and they spent the first morning just looking (and finding) a way under it.
What’s a responsible chicken keeper to do? Entertain them with enrichment in their run. Keep them busy so they don’t look for trouble. Chickens are busy by nature, so making the environment you want them to stay in interesting is key.
Here are four ways to enrich their little chicken lives:
- build perches for them to hang out on and get away from each other
- plant green things they can eat, but have to work for such as grass underneath a screen, so they can only reach the mature leaves and the rest of it will continue to grow (and provide enrichment). Note the grape arbor to the left has NO leaves at chicken jumping height.
- build a swing – apparently chickens like to swing, so build one or two out of a thick branch and some sturdy rope for them to swing to their hearts’ delight
- provide cover – if your run is out in the open, they will feel vulnerable and instinctively search for a safe spot – and before you know it, your girls have escaped their run
Remember – happy chickens lay more eggs.