It’s important to consider species specific and breed specific needs as well as the needs of individuals. Not all chicken enrichment ideas will be appropriate for large breed chickens. When planning enrichment for large breed chickens, keep the following in mind:
- Because they are bred to be so big, even when kept on a restricted diet, any enrichment that uses food or treats must be carefully and thoughtfully implemented.
- Avoid enrichment the includes small objects or items that could be broken off and eaten. Large breed chickens are much more likely to eat something they shouldn’t than their non-large breed cousins.
- Remember that large breed chickens are predisposed to health challenges such as foot, joint, and heart issues. Some toys such as chicken swings or ladders could cause injury to large breed chickens especially those who are older, heavier, or have certain health issues.
While studies have shown that most chickens exhibit a behavior called contrafreeloading, where they will choose to perform a task to receive food even when there is food readily available, this behavior is seen less in large breed chickens.