I have always loved this video – VJP Poultry’s- Ballet of the Unhatched Chick- because it shows chicken’s somewhat playful side. Some people refer to this as “Chicken Football” because they are all chasing after the one meal worm that someone has in its beak. Do chickens play? Do they get bored? Do they require a gift at Christmas? These are all questions people have asked about their birds.
Well, Cyber Monday is over, but there is still time to order your chickens a few treats online before December 25th. Most of the customers at VJP Poultry consider their chickens to be family pets. They lavish love and attention on their silkies and I would bet that some of them are planning a few Christmas surprises in their chicken’s stockings.
Most gifts are the kind that silkies can eat or the kind that silkies can play with. Let’s start with the chicken toys. Most of the chicken playthings are balls that can be filled with treats. The chicken pushes the ball around and treats fall out. Some of the balls are more complicated and the chicken needs to work at it to get the treats out. An example would be Lixit Chicken Toy or Peck and Play Ball .
The toy that I liked the best was the Chicken Veggie Ball .It is described as “an entertaining way to provide nutritious treats to a backyard flock”. You can put a head of lettuce or cabbage inside it and watch your flock kick it around like a soccer ball. This idea has been around for a long time. Oldsters used to tie a rope around a head of cabbage and hang it on a hook inside of the coop for the same effect. All of these toys are good boredom busters for your birds in the wintertime.
The most unusual toy was the Chicken Swing . The chicken hops on and is able to pump the swing back and forth. Probably not the best gift for a silkie as they may have a hard time jumping on , but other breeds seem to swing just fine on it.
Silkies always like special food treats. There is the Flock Block which lets them peck away and find treats of corn and seed. They are manufactured by many different companies and you should find it at your local feed store.
The treat my flock loves the best are meal worms. Real or freeze dried, they go crazy for them. I have, in the past, kept a meal worm farm going in my house. The live worms are a great source of protein and a wonderful way for you to bond with your bird. They will come running every time they see you if they think that you have worms for them in your apron pockets. You can also purchase freeze dried worms from Happy Hen Treats .
There has been a craze of late for putting chickens in sweaters and other kinds of outfits. You are not doing your chickens any favors by doing this. It will compromise their ability to self – regulate their body temperature. Best to leave the clothes off the birds unless it is Chicken Diapers for inside of the house.
So, do chickens play? I think so. All animals play. I know that the chest bumping I see among juvenile silkies seems to have a very playful nature to it. Do Chickens get bored? Yes, often this will result in pecking to the extreme. Do they need Christmas gifts? That’s up to you. I know that my little silkies will be getting some nice meal worms come Christmas Eve.