As much fun as eating cornmeal and screaming endlessly, chicken can get bored, too. Don’t laugh: bored chickens can cause more chaos than you think. says Dana Campbell, an animal behaviorist in Australia Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. You don’t want that in your barn.
Fortunately, providing chickens with enrichment is surprisingly easy, and it can be as simple as adding a rustic wooden hammock to their roosting environment. This kind of structural enrichment has the added benefit of being incredibly entertaining to watch; You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a chicken turn a coop into a playground as it sways back and forth, hopping curiously. In addition, you can make one from materials you may already have.
- time: 10 to 30 minutes
- The cost of material: From $7 to $30
- difficulty: easy
How to build a chicken hammock
1. Find some affiliates. I collected some branches that had already fallen from the trees and cut them down Carbonated Chinese tallow for others. Chickens can hang on sticks of different sizes, but they are about 2 inches in diameter. I also cut my branches back to about 1.5 feet in length to accommodate the size of my Swedish flower hens, but some breeds of cow chickens may need a little more space. You may not need to trim your branches at all, or you may find it easier to cut them by hand.
2. Drill holes in the sticks. Where to put these holes also depends on the size of your chickens, but I’ve made swings for several different breeds and drilled holes about an inch and a half from either end of each branch. You’ll want the bit of the drill bit to be a little larger than the rope so you can slide through it. I used a 9/32 inch bit for my twists.
3. (Optional) Sand the branches. If there are any splintered or particularly uneven areas of the branches, you can sand them down so the chickens can grip their claws better. In the wild, chickens often roost in trees, so there’s no need to sand the branches until they’re completely even. It can be more enriching to err on the side of natural rather than using perfectly fine sticks.
4. Cut the thread. The length of your rope will depend on where you hang your hammock and how close to the ground you want it to be. Typically, a chicken hammock is not hung no more than 3.5 feet or so off the ground, but it can certainly be lower to accommodate the chicken’s age, perching preferences, and knowledge of the vicissitudes.
Measure from where you plan to hang your hammock to the height you want above the ground, then add a few inches so you have plenty of room to securely tie the rope.
5. (Optional) Add some beads. After you cut the rope, but before you attach it to the branch, you can move some of the wooden beads around to give the chickens more enrichment – your birds may twirl the beads or find them visually appealing. Even if you don’t have the most curious chickens, these swinging accessories will also add flair to your coop decor. Once the beads are in place, tie a knot underneath.
6. Pass the rope through the drilled holes. This is where a yarn needle can be particularly useful, especially if you’re using a type of rope that tends to bunch up, like jute. When the rope goes through the holes, tie a double knot tightly at the base of one of the holes. Use a level to make sure the branch is even, then tie a knot under the other hole.
7. Hang a hammock. I tied the top of my rope to the rafters of the barn, twisted it several times and tied it tightly with several knots. Since the chicken does not weigh much, this is much safer. But if you want extra strength, drill holes in a beam inside your coop, attach two metal eye hooks, and thread the rope securely into the hooks. Make sure the hooks are the same distance between the two holes in the branch.
8. Let the birds swing. It can take time for chickens to try their new swing, so don’t worry if your feathered friends don’t appreciate your work right away. You can help them get used to it by holding the swing close to the ground at first and gradually moving it higher as they become more comfortable. Gently place the birds on the swing and reward them Delicious mealworm treats It can help them adjust, too. And while you can certainly teach an old bird new tricks, your best chance at breeding an avid swinger is to introduce the bird to a swing when it’s young. This project can always be scaled down from branches to twigs to get the juveniles on their way to being a swinging chicken miracle.
#build #DIY #chicken #hammock