Mission Statement: We at The Feathery Folk aim to provide our birds with the highest possible welfare we can, which involves various types of enrichment.
What is enrichment?
Arguably the best form of enrichment for any flighted bird is free flight. We aim to fly our birds as often as possible but living in the British weather has its drawbacks. However, when this is not possible we provide other forms of enrichment to keep our birds happy and healthy.
Enrichment begins in the aviary. Each aviary is specifically tailored to the individual birds needs.
We use swing perches, natural branching and bungee perches to improve fitness, balance and foot health.
However, we like to try out different items and layouts to see what the bird reacts best to, for example some enjoy sand baths.
We have also designed our own multi-functional perching system to allow us to change elements within the aviary easily. This keeps the aviary dynamic and interesting (See video right).
All our birds are primarily given two food sources: day old chicks and mice, although we offer them all a variety of meats when there is available.
Some food we offer is designed to keep their beaks and talons short and works their muscles, as it is so tough e.g. turkey necks, pigeon wings and rabbit heads.
Other food such as live invertebrates (e.g. mealworms, locusts, crickets) allows them to use their natural hunting instincts.
On occasion we will also discover food that the birds wouldn't naturally come across but seem to enjoy e.g. Elki our Buzzard loves a fish head.
This type of enrichment targets their brains as well as their bodies.
We use positive reinforcement training to reduce stress during maintenance work, for example aviary cleaning, equipment changing and beak/talon trimming.