2015 - Volume #39, Issue #4, Page #11[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Birds Catch On Fast To Chicken Swing
She got the idea when she needed to pen her flock up all day because of foxes in the neighborhood. “My goal was to give them something to do,” Connell recalls, but when she realized how well the idea worked she started the expensive process of making a marketable product. After years of experimentation she came up with her patented design, which is manufactured from high quality, UV-resistant molded plastic.
The perch’s texture and mailbox shape allows birds of all sizes to get a good grip and pump the swing to keep it going. A top cross-member keeps the swing from twisting. Rope buckles make it easy to level and adjust the swing’s height.
If the swing is set just inches off the ground when first introduced to hens, they often learn how to swing on their own. Older chickens can be taught how to swing using treats. Connell suggests setting the swing about 18 in. to 2 1/2 ft. off the ground; her peacock prefers a higher swing, about 4 1/2 ft.
The Columbia, Mo., entrepreneur began selling The Chicken Swing at the end of 2013 and discovered international interest. She sells the swings for $29.99 through her website, Amazon and a growing number of small retailers.
For DIYers interested in making their own swings, Connell offers a few suggestions.
“Look carefully at my design,” she says. “You really need to give the perch stability so it doesn’t roll. Think about safety and the kickback - not just for the swingers, but the other animals in the coop as well.”
When chickens dismount, the kick off can be hard, and simply putting a log or board seat on ropes isn’t effective. Avoid screws and poor materials that can be unsafe for your flock.
Not all of Connell’s chickens use the swing daily. But she knows they enjoy it because she lets them free-range during the day and some deliberately go back to the pen so they can swing.
“It gives them something to do besides pecking each other. I have four roosters (with 30 hens), and I don’t have a lot of pecking,” she says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jennifer Connell, Fowl Play Products LLC, 4775 E. Deer Park Rd., Columbia, Mo. 65201 (ph 573 864-0096; www.fowlplayproducts.com; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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