Saturday, 11 July 2009

Environmental enrichment

A commonly used buzz word I know, however I do believe in providing the best possible and most suitable accommodation for individual species needs. Today the effect of environmental enrichment had to be seen to be believed.

The turkey poults are housed in a large circular brooder in the garage. They have auboise as bedding, a 250 watt white heat lamp (recommended for the first 2 weeks to encourage feeding ) and plenty of food and water.

They are kept clean, their food and water is replaced several times a day and I visit frequently to provide them with company and get them used to people. ( OK I just like to watch them ) Yet, just recently, whenever I went in they panicked and spent the time flying up to the wire and crashing down. No matter how softly I spoke to them they continued to do so. I didn't know if they behaved in the same way when I wasn't around and I was concerned they were becoming a little crazy.

So today I added a few logs for them to perch on, clamber over etc. a lettuce hanging from the wire for them to peck at and turned the radio on. The transformation had to be seen to be believed, within minutes they had calmed down, almost to the extent I worried I had scared them to death !

Checking on them just now they were happily going about their business, eating, drinking, chirping away, standing with their heads to one side listening, it was amazing...four very happy little turkeys !

Tonight I shall replace their heat lamp with a dull emitter bulb, so during the day they will have the light and radio on and at night just the heat, providing a more natural day/night pattern.

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