do chickens get bored?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MaKettle, May 11, 2010.

  1. MaKettle

    MaKettle Songster

    My almost 7 week old girls are tearing their brooder to bits! They all reside in an extra large dog crate, complete with roosts, a mirror, and things to climb on. I have pieces of cardboard around the bottom of the brooder to help with the stuff that flies out onto the floor. Over the last week, they are pulling the cardboard pieces out of their places & into the brooder, making a huge mess on the floor surrounding it. Yesterday, I came home & found their feeder with the top split apart from the bottom and empty. I thought maybe they were just really hungry (maybe I forgot to fill the thing up yesterday or something) I put it all back together, filled it up & find the same thing again this morning--split apart & empty. Needless to say, we are headed to TSC tonight for a hanging feeder & waterer.

    Are they really this hungry? Or are they just bored? I feed them chick starter with a full head of lettuce every couple of days, oatmeal every day and boiled eggs when they don't get the lettuce.

    Unfortunately, we are going to Alaska on friday and will be gone for almost 2 weeks so we don't feel comfortable moving them outdoors until we are the weather has been funky here in Ohio & we've had another cold spell.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

  2. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Songster

    Feb 5, 2009
    Are you free feeding them? As long as you're doing that, they definitely have enough food. Mine did practically the same thing. They'd climb all over everything and tear whatever wasn't metal or plastic to pieces! I had to break down and buy a hanging metal feeder, too.

    I used an extra large dog crate too, but I used plastic tarp taped around the edges instead of cardboard. It worked out fine, the chicks were more interested in the tape than the plastic!

    As far as I can tell, you have some very healthy, active chickens.
  3. foxflower

    foxflower Songster

    Mar 9, 2010
    Surprise Valley, CA
    I think chickens are just curious, especially if you have a good foraging breed. It's instinct to peck and pull. I think they've been too busy to be bored [​IMG]
  4. geebs

    geebs Lovin' the Lowriders!

    Sep 28, 2008
    If you want them to have some exersize and keep their minds happy... It will make you feel good about leaving them too... Make up a suet cake or two with extra good yummies in it.... Birdseed and dried berries and nuts.... mix with fat and put cat food or tuna cans etc. Feed them one every couple of days just so they have something to play with. Also you can have some crickets available for pickup (this would be a really good friend that would get these to your chickies... also a bird feeder filled.... hung up with feed in it helps with boredom. Make sure you ration things so their won't be stuff left for vermin.

  5. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    I think they are just being chickens. I have been chopping up broccoli into small pieces and spreading it around the bottom of their brooder box. It keeps them busy trying to find all the pieces. Shredded cheese works well too. We have been having cold weather here in NY so I cant get them out as much or as often as I would like.
  6. MaKettle

    MaKettle Songster

    Thanks for all of the replies! I try to keep them active & vary their treats so that nothing is too predictable. I may look into making up some suet cakes for them--I do have the suet feeder but have only been putting boston lettuce in it.

    My cousin is house sitting for us while we are gone so I was trying to keep the activity down for him since we already have 2 dogs & a cat for him to babysit. I'm not sure how he will react to me asking him to sit in our storage room for upwards on an hour a day to let the chickens roam around, sit on him ,etc. I try to do this everynight as they are getting bigger & more cramped in that dog crate. As soon as we come home though, the finishing touches are going to take place on the coop & run so that we can put them outside.

    Thanks to everyone for their responses! We appreciate it![​IMG]
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    If at all possible, you should try to provide a larger brooder space for them. Boredom and overcrowding can lead to picking and eventually cannibalism. In two weeks time they will grow a lot and require even more space. Good luck working this out.
    Last edited: May 11, 2010

  8. MaKettle

    MaKettle Songster

    Thanks Sourland. Our plan is to move them outside the day that we get home. As you might imagine, I have concerns with putting them out & not being there to watch them closely. I bought a hanging feeder last night & a big flock block that we cut up & put into the suet feeder. We've not had any cannabilism or pecking so I'll keep my fingers crossed on that.

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