Advice? My chickens are chewing the walls.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by naturegrrl, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. naturegrrl

    naturegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they were horses, I'd call it cribbing... except they're just chewing, not sucking air. All three of my girls seem to have gotten into the habit of pecking at the siding on the house where their run is, as well as the fencing. They are doing a rather substantial amount of damage - enough that I'm starting to worry about installing some sort of outdoor "wainscoting" all around the run. Are they bored? Are they lacking something important in their diet? They have just about 10 sq ft per hen in the run, and daily excursions into the larger yard in the afternoons. There are no plants or anything in the run, because they have destroyed them all. They have a constant source of water and organic layer feed, and I give them scratch and/or oatmeal and/or a couple of mealworms and/or garden bugs every day. Is there anything I can do to either treat the wood so they stop "chewing" it, or distract/entertain them so they stop eating the house? Any advice is much appreciated! [​IMG]
     
  2. peckndirt

    peckndirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They may need a little crushed oyster shell or other source of large grit.
     
  3. naturegrrl

    naturegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 15, 2008
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    I have been giving them oyster shell in their scratch, but maybe I need to put in more or something. The bottom of their run is play sand, so I was hoping that would be sufficient for grit?
     
  4. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They might be bored. Ten square foot per bird is a minimum. In all reality, they need more to be really healthy. The pecking, like cribbing in horses, is usually a sign of boredom. Can they run about the yard all day? Now that it's gotten dark earlier my chickens would have no run time if I only let them out when I came home from work. But my yard is fenced and I have neighbors who keep an eye on them. So far I've had no problems except for when the EE flew over the fence but a bit of wing clipping stopped that.

    If you cannot let them out, it would be good to give them some activities. Hang a head of cabbage or caulilflower on a string and let them peck at that. Or you could get a FlockBlock from the feed store for them.

    Good luck with them.

    Mary
     
  5. naturegrrl

    naturegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 15, 2008
    Santa Cruz, CA
    We're maxed out on allowable space - I'd love to let them out into the front yard all day, but they pillage my garden every bloody time unless I'm right there watching them. I'm inclined to agree with you that they're bored, though... but I grew up with horses, so I automatically associate wood nibbling with boredom. I did try the hanging cabbage thing once, but it mostly terrified them, and then they ignored it completely... [​IMG] They're kind of silly sometimes. [​IMG] I'll check out the FlockBlock - that sounds promising! Thanks for the advice!
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Throw some BOSS in their pen each day for fun and treats. This will keep them busy awhile. Some folks cover a portion of the run/ground with a board or two or a piece of tin, until worms move in and then let the chickens scratch and demolish this space. Then they start it all over in another place in the run.

    I've never seen this type of thing except in chicks.
     

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