As the weather gets colder, wetter and windier, the amount of greenery available for our chickens to eat and play in has reduced considerably. They've been starting to look bored. I'd heard that a good way to keep chickens occupied is to hang up a cabbage in the run that can swing freely for them to peck at. One Tesco Basics cabbage, some screws, wire, string and sticks later and Joe had set up a contraption to do just that.
Unfortunately, it turns out that we have fussy hens. On our return from holiday the cabbage was untouched and being resolutely ignored by the girls. A few torn-off bits that we'd tried to encourage them with were still sitting on the mud. All in all, an unmitigated failure!
In an attempt to see if the swinging food idea would work, we removed the cabbage and replaced it with an apple. We know the girls love apple - in fact they will wolf down any fruit. It took them a day or two to work it out, but once they did they loved it. It provided us with great amusement to see them bobbing their heads back and forth in an attempt to judge the movement of the fruit before making a jab. All four of them were crowded around it making the apple twist and swing - hopefully they were enjoying it as much as we were! It should have been only a matter of time before one of them got an apple to the face - but it turns out they are better at ducking than I gave them credit for. In no time at all the apple was demolished.
The following day we were amazed to see that they were starting to peck at the cabbage. In a fit of laziness we had left the whole cabbage on the run floor, and slowly each bird was giving it a go and finding it wasn't so bad after all. We hung it up again and this time they're going for it, although with less enthusiasm than the apple caused. Typical!