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I know a lot of you are in the same position so I’m hoping you can help. Due to the bird flu outbreak my chickens are now stuck in their eglu cube and although they have a 3m run they’re used to running around our garden. I’m unable to get extensions for them and I’m hoping to get feedback from people who are in a similar situation. My main problem is not being able to move the coop but not being able to clean the lawn for months - we do it every week! Also what can I do over the coming months to keep them interested? What about dust baths? Is a lower appetite normal? Toy rotation - hygiene on the floor? They seem to be bored already and just sat in one corner. How can I cheer my girls up?
I have always been dead against the use of things like hamster balls. Really feel like an animal shouldn’t be in a situation it can’t escape from. But as you might have guessed, I had to revise my opinion. My current Syrian Hamster reall didn’t think the cage alone was enough and at every opportunity would jump/climb/dig out. I did try other boredom busters like hiding her food in toilet rolls or other food parcels, giving her more chew material and changing around her cage, but she still showed signs of boredom. As I can’t offer her any free range in my house (have a cat and too many little hidy holes and escape possibilities), I gave in and bought one of those plastic balls. And she “loves” it (as far as you can judge loving things in little rodents). First trips in the ball were very short. I put her back in the cage every minute or so and only let her get into the ball herself. Now she waits at her little door for me to open it and let her in her ball (still only gets in on her own). She has a run through the whole house for anywere from 10 minutes to half an hour, with regular trips back to the house, to give her the option to go back in. She chases the cat, rolls into her whenever she gets the opportunity. Always finds the chicken food and will scratch her ball till I give her some and investigates all the nooks and crannies of the house. I still think the ball is only for experienced owners and probably often used wrongly and definitely not a kids toy. Although the packaging suggested otherwise... But since I have been giving her her hamster ball time, she is definitely less stressed (stopped plucking at the bars of the cage and stopped pacing). And it gave my cat some entertainment too!