The Red Jungle Fowl chicks have quadrupled in size! They were just 30 grams and now at just over 20 days old they’re 147 grams. That’s a lot of growth.
I started scale training with them today. This involved me bringing the chickens out of their enclosure which can be very chaotic. Whenever they are allowed out they run everywhere. It’s a little scary because they are so small and I’m often afraid I’ll step on them!
One at a time I bring them out and then encourage them onto the scales by showing them their favourite food which is mealworms. I have to make sure they are in really small pieces because otherwise they grab the food and run off. I want them to stay on the scales, what I call a station, so I can weigh them and the small beak-sized-treats encourages them to stay in the one spot.
We also got some more chicks the other day, which takes us up to eight. We need to spend as much time with them as possible so they see myself and the other trainers as dad and mum rather than the older chicks. They are more confident this way. To ensure this happens I take the youngest chickens out on stage twice a day without their bigger brothers and sisters, just to bond. I pick them up and scratch them and let them forage and explore. They’re extremely cute at this size.
The older Red Jungle Fowl chicks got to play as well and had an afternoon session too. They are much more confident and run up to our visitors, each investigating, seeing if they can coax food from them. Very funny.
The next stage in their training is pet pack training. We will be running them in and out of a carry container so we can move them around easily. These chickens are heaps of fun and allow us to spend just that little bit more time in the sun. Don’t worry we are being sun aware … I have my hat and sunscreen!
Bird Show Trainer
Taronga Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 9978 4606
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 6881 1400
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