There are several strategies to improve the physical and mental health of captive animals, known as environmental enrichment strategies. It mainly aims at busting the bird’s boredom as well as boosting the natural behaviors and nutritional health in a flock. Imagine living a life of the same routine, from being confined
into a small area, consuming the same food, following similar patterns of life every day visualizing a similar view, hearing the same sound, and being occupied by the same people every day. Like your possessions, never change, and you have no hint of “variety” in your life. It will no doubt make your life bored and miserable. Variety adds spice in life. Similar is the case with captive animals. A similar routine means boredom and boredom means unhappiness and being unhappy makes them unhealthy. So, environmental enrichment strategies add up spices in their lives, making them live to the fullest by changing their behavioral patterns.
Increased Foraging Activities:
The wild birds spend most of their time searching for their own food. While domesticated and captive animals being confined in an area may stay deprive of this as their
owner themselves provide them food. Just like wild, captive birds need good conditions to thrive. They want to be happy and healthy. So, provide them with a shelter from the worst of the weather may be a chicken coop surrounded by an enclosure.
A chicken coop is somewhere where they can go in and lay their eggs, shelter overnight and can be protected from the predators. In order to involve them in some physical activity, the chicken coop is often surrounded by some ground substrate. That ground substrate can be a fence, a straw bale, some furniture in the surrounding or the poultry
playscape. To add a new perspective to their lives, keep on moving and changing the coop furniture periodically. The physical habitat is necessary for the physical well being of the chicken. Avoid pesticide enriched wood as it may prove to be harmful to the chicken.
Chickens often get tired of facing similar conditions. In order to entertain the flock, play some music or bird song for them, rub some fragrant on their furniture or set a shinny pinwheel outside their coop. In order to boost their cognitive functioning, try some clicker training as chickens seem to be easily trainable. Always keep on trying something new and engage them in activities that make them active and healthy. As novelty always adds
spices in life.
Keep the chicken coop clean:
An Environmental enrichment strategy never comes without any risk. The surrounding is occupied with bacteria and parasites. Always clean the place with pesticides.
Avoid moldy foods as mold toxins can kill your bird.
Strings and ropes offer a strangulation hazard. Carefully handle such things.
Never sabotage flock’s diet as it may cause digestive problems.
While chickens are roaming, put them under strict supervision as predation chances are high while birds are roaming carelessly.
Infographic by: www.poultrydvm.com