Monday, July 13, 2009

Preschool - Instilling Confidence

Importance of Cage Placement - Fourth Principle

All young birds need to be housed in cages that are waist or head high to help the birds develop confidence. In my aviary, I have mostly three tier cages and an additional two stacks of four tiers.

The bottom tier in all cases is used for older stock birds whether hens or cock but separated by sex. In the four tier stack, the bottom two tiers are used for the same separated older birds. These birds have had confidence training when they were young and at this stage of life are completely happy with living in low level cages that offer privacy and promote a laid back life style.

The very top tier is used for the most timid birds, primarily young hens, and any bird that does not develop confidence during waist high housing. By housing in cages that are head high, self confidence will develop over time especially when you spend a little time talking with them. This is especially important for young hens, as come breeding season, I want them comfortable with me so that when I check her nest for egg shells during hatching, she does not freak out on me. With confidence training, I avoid the problem of timid hens that so adamantly protect her newly hatched chicks from perceived predators that after a peak she will only sit and not feed. If I happen to purchase any birds, whether young or old, I give them confidence training by housing them in the upper tier.

I prefer the waist high tier for my potential show Borders, Staffords and Colorbred because I want them to stand up and show their best confirmation. Rollers can be housed at this level provided the perches are placed very high in the cage.

Critical Concept: Confidence is improved when birds are housed in cages that are waist or better yet head high.

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