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20150125_083501 Remember that back in November I added 5 young hens at the point of lay to my flock of 8 older girls.  It wasn’t too pretty for a while, as the older hens came to accept the new ones.  We had some injuries.  By late January I am pleased to report that everyone was getting along, one group not two, with the hierarchies that chicken social life requires.  Many thanks to my vet Dr. Sarah Chapman, who suggested making visual barriers across the run.  I used cardboard panels and put feed and water in several locations.  Now every bird can eat and drink in peace.

While out at coffee not long ago my friend – call her Sheila – suggested hanging a cabbage by a string for my chickens, to give them something to peck at instead of each other.  She had saved the idea for me on her Pintrest page.  See for yourself — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0DQyRrjewU

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Thank you Sheila for a great reminder – eating gets pretty boring for chickens during the winter, with no grass and few bugs to vary the diet of processed food…

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I happened to have part of a Chinese cabbage in the kitchen.  I tied a stick across the bottom to keep it attached while being pecked…

20150125_084242…and tried hanging it up in various places, looking for the right location and height.

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Hanging the cabbage in a bush didn’t work too well.  I got only quizzical looks “Huh?”

Hanging the cabbage on the fence was the trick.  At first the hens didn’t recognize this pale green blob as food at all.

They ran over to peck at the leaves I stripped off, but walked away from the pinata feast.   And then the AHA moment—

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“Hey! – that’s FOOOD!”  

Since I tried this twice with success, I have come across debate online about cabbage being toxic to chickens.  It is my impression that chickens like most animals will not eat something that isn’t good for them (sheep may be an exception to this rule), unless they are desperate.  Do not allow them to be desperate, and don’t offer any one food to excess.  Offer a wide range of veggie scraps, seeds, and PLENTY of mulchy stuff for them to dig through for entertainment.  Chickens aren’t bright, but if they aren’t bored to death in confinement or hunger for something that isn’t pellet, they should know what’s for dinner.