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Digital Subscriptions > Chickens > Nov/Dec 19 > Boredom Busters

Boredom Busters

By the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis

One of the great pleasures of raising backyard chickens is watching them roam, jump, peck and dust bathe to their heart’s content. From finding “new” items and running around with them in their beaks as the rest of the flock gives chase to laying eggs in the most unusual places, chickens can be quite curious, adventurous and just plain quirky. Hence, it can be very rewarding and entertaining to let them express those natural behaviors in the outdoors. However, while chickens are very good at entertaining themselves — and us — there are ways you can help your chicken’s quirky side shine through by the addition of a few extra toys (aka environmental enrichments).

In the most general sense, these “boredom busters” can be thought of as environmental modifications that are designed to encourage and enhance the expression of natural behaviors such as perching and dust bathing to maintain or improve the health of your chickens. From a welfare perspective, environmental enrichments provide an important mental and physical stimulus that prevents boredom, reduces fearfulness, enhances learning and improves the health of your flock.

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