THE CHICKEN SWING. ARE CHICKENS REALLY SWINGERS?

In a land far, far away there are ponies who ride bicycles, cats who carry briefcases and chickens that play on swings.

Again.  I kindda feel it’s necessary to reiterate … that land is far FAR away.  Like, super-far.  End of a black hole far.

 

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Some time around Christmas a reader told me she’d like to send me a present.  Well, not me actually, my chickens. She’d seen a Chicken Swing for sale and was dying to know if chickens were really swingers.

Well according to the website for The Chicken Swing, they are indeed the swingiest of the swingers.  Swaying to and fro on their chicken swing.  Here’s their video proof.

The swing isn’t only for the chicken owner’s amusement, chickens get bored, especially in the winter and they like to have things to do.  That’s partly why they scratch around in the dirt so much.  It’s entertainment for them.  The chicken swing is supposed to help combat coop boredom.

According to the manufacturer it’s easiest to teach a young chicken new tricks so I started with the youngest chickens I have and worked my way up to the older ones.

This was going to be very easy because I follow instructions well and I’m very smart and I have a blog that shows people how to do stuff.  So.  Easy.

This is how it went for me.

the-chicken-swing-little-one

Walk over to the swing with the tiny chicken and …

chicken-swing-baby

… gently place the chicken on the swing while holding the swing steady.

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Watch as chicken immediately jumps away and off of the swing without so much as the stink eye.

the-chicken-swing-3-sweetie

The little ones might just be a bit scatter brained so I head over to Sweetie.  My 2 1/2 month old hen who is terrified of air, let alone a swinging, swaying artificial cob of corn.

Sweetie jumped away so fast there isn’t even photographic evidence of it.  Ditto for Cheez Whiz and Josephine.

 

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That left Mabel who is pretty chill.  The second I got near the swing with her, Mabel started back peddling into my underarm.  I calmed her down, talked to her soothingly then slowlyyyyy moved her in the general vicinity of the swing.

 

the-chicken-swing-mabel

 

At which point she flailed like a banshee, scrambled up my legs and ran under a tree.

So that’s how that went.

Here it is in video.

 

 

I kindda knew this is how it was going to play out.  A chicken isn’t  likely to just jump up on a swing and start whipping back and forth any more than a cat is liable to pick up a briefcase and walk out the door.  So I went to the website, read all their tips on how to get a chicken to use the swing AND looked up the Chicken Swing reviews on Amazon.  It turns out the swing gets GREAT reviews and you just have to be patient.  Even then all your chickens might not use it but the adventurous ones seem to and they apparently  genuinely like it.

I figured when I first saw chickens swinging that they only swung back and forth like lunatics because they were too afraid to jump off.  Again, according to the Amazon reviews this doesn’t seem to be the case.  Chickens are swingers.  Willingly.

I’m going to leave the swing in the coop and go through allll the steps outlined on the Fowl Play website very slowly to get the chickens used to it.

I will let you know when my chickens are officially swingers. Since they don’t drive, I’m not sure how we’re going to have the key party, but we’ll figure it out.

Click here if you wanna buy The Chicken Swing!

 

 

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68 Comments

  1. Kathie Ball says:

    LOL…Oh my goodness, I was laughing out loud, my dogs think I am nuts. ..I loved the music you picked for the video.
    I can’t wait to see your progress…I have been wondering how they knew to swing, you know was it natural or did you have to teach them.

  2. Jane S says:

    OMG. I went to the website and didn’t even look at the swing. I was mesmerized by the chicken harnesses. Do people really take their chickens for a walk? And chicken bracelets! It’s as bad as doggy dresses.

  3. MaryJo says:

    Laughing till tears came rolling down my cheeks!!

  4. Friggin’ hysterical, and why we all love you!

    I’d do the same thing. IF I had chickens…I’d definitely buy a chicken swing.

    Heck, last week I bought a $250 steel drum, and I don’t play a lick.

    I thought for SURE we’d see you sitting on the swing to illustrate, to your chickens, exactly what you wanted them to do.

    It’s 11:15 pm here, and I’m FOTFLMAO…which spell check is telling me is not a word.

    Right. What do they know? Bet, they don’t have a chicken swing…or a steel drum.

  5. j says:

    OK, so you are really funny, and I just betcha that sooner than later you’ll look out at the coop to see one of your chicks swinging away with a look of glassy eyed contentment, smoking a cigarette.

  6. Dale says:

    Maybe put a monitor up in the chicken pen so they can see the chickens of Amazon having such fun they will hop on out of swing envy. Hey, if she can do it, I can too!!!
    Good luck with that.
    Or tape some kernels of corn onto the swing. It may get them up there to check it out.
    Or put a swing in the chicken pen for you. You give your chickens a ride on the swing while on your lap. They’ll get accustomed to the centrifugal force.
    I taught freshmen boys for 40 years. I’ve learned patience is a virtue.

  7. Wendi Miller says:

    OMG, how fun!!! I sure hope you have some adventurous chickens who will eventually use it. I’d love to see that video!

    One suggestion though: Let me preface this comment with the fact that I’m not a chicken owner, so I may be completely wrong about how chickens react to things. I noticed in the company’s video that when a chicken jumps off the swing, the swing goes FLYING. I’m thinking you might want to raise the swing so that if an adventurous chicken decides to give it a try, she doesn’t get whacked in the head when the swing comes back at her. If chickens are anything like ME (and I think they just might be), getting knocked on the noggin might dissuade them from trying again…or from even walking near the damn thing lolol

    Keep us updated on the chicken swing progress, what fun idea!

  8. Auntiepatch says:

    I don’t know anything about chickens but I think I would start with the swing touching the ground. After they get used to it in the pen raise it up just above the ground. Then raise it up again so that they get used to it a little at a time. Slow and steady……

    • Mary W says:

      I was going to say I would put in on the ground until they got used to it, also. When I introduce a new toy to my cats or the budgie, I leave it next to the cage or food bowl for a few days until they see it isn’t going to “get them”.

  9. Kathleen says:

    Excellent music track for the video. Thanks for an early morning chuckle. So after the swing is a jungle gym next on the cards? 🙂

  10. Paula says:

    Lol. They doth protest.

  11. Sande says:

    What fun! Such a perfect little video with such a great ensemble…it seems you & your chickens have a way of bringing out the best in each other.
    And I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that YOU were my favorite.

  12. Sherry in Alaska says:

    Well. As my cat went out the door with his briefcase tucked underneath his arm…. He shook his head and said,
    “Chickens are Not swingers.
    Swingers they are not.
    Neither will they ever be.
    They do not fly, they do not care.
    For swinging they have no flair.”

  13. Alexandra says:

    This video is the best thing I’ve seen in at least a week – and I saw the GIF of a chihuahua dressed as a Roman centurion, in a chariot pulled by a dachshund, so that’s saying something.

    I like the video, because I never realised how big your chickens are, and how fluffy! Also, Josephine is a beauty (I’m thinking it’s Josephine, from the coppery flash on the feathers when she walks away), and that last pic of you and Mabel is the best thing ever.

    • Karen says:

      Yes, Josephine does have a coppery flash and she is quite beautiful. So is Mabel. And Sweetie is well … pretty darn cute. ~ karen!

  14. Marna says:

    LOL so funny! Love the music! Maybe if you do leave it for a bit, how about lowering it some
    too? Please let us know if they ever do get use to it. Just so funny! 🙂

  15. Cathy says:

    Once it’s been there awhile, and not going away, I think a couple of them may give it a go.
    It’s like the monolith in the film 2001 A Space Odessey; the apes finally ignored it, then beat the crap out of it. Now, if your poultry pick up sticks ( or straw, or feces ) you may want to get that on video. Hell, they’re probably already swinging on it at night then they’re all like…” Cool it, here she comes–quick, act like chickens again!”

  16. KariMcD says:

    try Duck tape…it fixes everything.

  17. Ann says:

    I think I told you this before. Out of 14 chickens, only 1 has ever gotten on our chicken swing. And that is rare and she only stays a few minutes at best. The rest totally ignore it and have now for over 2 years.

    My chickens fav toys are just stumps from a tree our neighbor cut down. I dragged 3 irregular shaped blocks home and put them in the coop. They hop up and sit, jump from stump to stump and sometimes just stand and peck at them. Another great toy for chickens supposedly is a mirror. I keep hoping to find a decent sized one in a plastic type frame at a charity or thrift store that I can buy for them and hang in their run. I have a metal mesh ball meant to be a squirrel feeder. They love that filled with sunflower seeds. But it is more than just the seeds they love. If it hangs down loose enough, they almost treat it like a tether ball.

  18. Ev Wilcox says:

    I still have the smile on my face! Good luck with it. I am wondering if their egg laying has been set back or maybe they will lay like crazy, as in having it scared out of them! The vids of the professional swingers were cool, but not nearly as entertaining!

  19. Gramma Carol says:

    My grandaughter has taught her chickens to swing. I think part of your problem is the yellow plastic swing…too foreign to them. Kam uses a stick between two pieces of baling twine. js

  20. Mel Robicheau says:

    Heh. A chicken swing.
    So many flies in that video. Did your wasps not do their job?

    • Karen says:

      Oh that’s nothing, lol. On a normal hot summer day there’d literally be a swarm of them when you walked in the coop. The flies have been cut way way down from the parasitic wasps. Plus I have a fly trap (which I keep forgetting to bait). I’m quite satisfied with the wasps. 🙂 ~ karen!

  21. Jenny Brandon says:

    Now you’ve got me started. I want to build a goat tire swing. Step one, find a tree they haven’t debarked. That’s gonna take a while. I’ll let you know once it’s up. I’m certain the goats will take to it immediately – that’s just how they are. Build it and they will jump up on it. By the time my tree grows, I’ll bet your chickens will be swinging. Good luck with that.

  22. Charlene Brown says:

    We built our own swing from a small log about 30 inches long and hung it from the run roof. It is near their ramp and often my Speckled Sussex will jump on it first thing in the morning as she leaves the coop. I’ve seen as many as three on it at once and often there are two. They discovered it on their own within a day. I am sure yours will too and soon you will be getting a second one!

    Really enjoy your blog!

  23. Courtney says:

    Once they get the hang of it they will LOVE it. I’ve been meaning to make my girls one – but they have improvised by using our #sokuswings

  24. leo muzzin says:

    DUH…… of course they don’t stay….. nobody stands on a swing…… try sitting them down!! LOL
    If they swing, will the eggs be naturally scrambled? So if only the “adventurous ” chickens will do it, does this mean that your chickens are boring? Sorry…. but I think this is your funniest post ever! LOL

  25. Debbie says:

    Hmmmm….show them the website video maybe that would help. Barring that, maybe some duct tape?

  26. Linda in Illinois says:

    Too fake feeling maybe for them, hard bright yellow plastic isn’t real. Try a natural branch instead, lower to the ground to start, let them do it on their own time. Love the music and video – made me laugh after I got over feeling sorry for the pour chicks. ha

  27. Barbie says:

    Ok, so I watched your video …then the companies video! LOL Looks like you may need to be patient….I cannot WAIT to see if “your” chickens will swing. LOL Thanks for the great giggle this morning!
    PS: Your video was WAY better! hahaha!

  28. Debbie from Illinois says:

    Lol!!!!

  29. Ardith says:

    Well, leave it to my brilliant husband to notice something key to the “success” in the seller’s videos. There are no roosting bars in the enclosures. In other words, if those chickens want to try and roost, they only have the swings to do so. They are literally forced to use those swings (and as another commenter states, they can risk getting hit in the head when the swings go astray). Your chickens are too smart and well cared for to use the contraption.

  30. Lori says:

    I had the same results with my little ones….haven’t tried the big girls yet but…..I am looking forward to seeing them out there swinging away!

  31. What I don’t get about this silly thing is the plastic! It seems slippery for the birds, and flat, so hard to grab on. If people really wanted to let their chickens swing, hang a stick from a rope! I have been tempted to try it, but there was no way I’d buy one. Plus the yellow and green wouldn’t at all go with my rustic coop decor. You’ve inspired me to maybe actually try it……

    If you’re dead set on having them swing, my guess is just time. I have lots of branches and roosts in my coop for them to hang out on, and even those take a bit of time before they hop on them.

    On unrelated, how do you make your videos and overlay the music?

    • Karen says:

      Oh dear, ” how do you make your videos and overlay the music?”, lol. That’s a lot more information than I could possibly put in a comment. I use mostly iMovie. It’s really just a matter of fiddling around with it and getting frustrated and using it over and over again. Plus, I’ve been editing videos since I first got into television right out of University so there’s that. 🙂 ~ karen!

  32. Ana says:

    What timing! My dad installed a swing (a birch branch with some rope) in his coop and two of the chickens swing all the time! One chicken (my favorite, I named her George), started by getting a running start and then hopping/flapping up there. Soon, her bestie Ginger followed suit. The other chickens don’t care for it, but George and Ginger are wild swingers. And it’s so funny to watch.

    Here’s a photo for proof!

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-XuH_TsPc2CM1RjU212U3NsT2VqNWtvVzRtZGE3c1pIb3Ew

    • Dale says:

      Maybe a small item to notice but the swing in Ana’s Dad’s coop has a round wooden stick for the chicken to grab with its claws for stability. The flat plastic in Karen’s coop does not allow the gripping surface that a stick has.
      Karen, see if a stick swing works.

  33. Gretchen says:

    Best. Video. Yet.

  34. Ian says:

    I already wanted chickens for eggs, but now that I know they can swing they are a must. I’ll have a chicken playground, and an indoor/outdoor cat play space of life. You know the ones, where crazy cat people have a cat door that leads to a gigantic outdoor play pen. I will look magnificently lonely and it will me amazing.

  35. Vicky Smith says:

    I kept waiting for one of the big ones to poop on you! You know, scare the sh!t out of the chicken? For your sake, I’m glad they didn’t.

    Loved the music track, btw.

  36. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    OK then..if this happens to work out for you I will consider buying briefcases for my cats…who I am pretty sure will then proceed to make them into beds…lol…great video Karen!

  37. SuzanneLH says:

    I remodel everything…consider a carpet scrap wrap, or lots and lots and lots of Saran Wrap type stuff wrapped around the yellow plastic, to make it squishy and grabable. (Is that a word?)
    Great video.

  38. Jackie says:

    OMG – I got your blog in my email today. Don’t know why or how it showed up again. Lucky me. I never heard of a chicken swing but I love it. I hope your chicks adjust to it & find that it’s a fun toy. The music was perfect. You do such a good job with the pictures – videos & music. I can’t wait to see what you have for us next time.

  39. Amanda says:

    i had chickens growing up and they would regularly swing on the bar that my dad had hung for me to practice my gymnastics stuff on. they were also fond of small branches that they could bounce on…so i believe it.

  40. Phylicia M says:

    Ahahaha! When I found out there was music, I had to watch!

  41. marli says:

    I think the best part (for me) was when you used your knees to hold the swing. Total “I need two more hands” trick, that was great!!
    Good luck with your swing. I have to agree with some of the other comments that a plain old branch would probably work as well (or better) and be pretty close to free. I’ll be waiting for an update.
    Smiles, marli

  42. Kristy says:

    Oh my gosh I needed that laugh today. I’ve been thinking about making a chicken swing… maybe if it’s made with a small branch and some rope?

  43. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Jump, jive ‘n’ wail! One of the all time great tunes. I loved it when you tried to steady the swing between your knees while doing twenty other things at the same time. Very talented. And btw, you only gots one pair o’ Crocs? I have red, navy and marigold . . . they make the best muckn’ about in the yard shoes ever. And they actually give decent protection too. And a further btw, had me some salted caramel Foundry icecream recently. That falls into the omg category!

  44. Kate says:

    Karen, maybe there’s a problem with my computer, but your video isn’t showing up (at all- it just shows a larger than normal white space between the paragraphs). Can you check to see if everything is ok with it on your end? I’d love to see it 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hey Kate! Everything is good on this end. As always, if there’s a problem with something loading try to “clear your cache” It’s also called emptying your cache. If that doesn’t work let me know and I’ll look into it more. thx. ~ karen!

  45. Maybe you need to hypnotise them first? Now that really does work. It’s a fascinating experiment in animal behaviour. https://heidiruckriegel.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/heidis-diy-chicken-hypnosis/

    • Karen says:

      I’ve never done it with my chickens because I’m afraid they’re still because their organs are being crushed, lol. I’m going to have to try it tomorrow though. 😉 I guess they’re playing dead, no? ~ karen!

      • That seems to be one theory – that it’s fear-induced ‘tonic immobility’. I have seen my hens hide under a bush, motionless, when a hawk flew overhead. But they seem quite flustered when they come out, making a hell of a racket and getting together for a big discussion of the big scary thing. They don’t seem to be at all bothered by being ‘hypnotised’ and wander off as if nothing’s happened. It really is weird. You can also do it by drawing a line on the ground and lying them down with their beak on the line. I suspect it has something to do with the two halves of their little brain getting confused. We need a chicken analyst for this, haha!

  46. Mary says:

    Love the chicken swing- what did you hang it from? Also, have you ever had to deal with mites……

  47. Mary says:

    Thanks!!! Was the dust for the chickens or their house? Love your blog… Inspiring!

  48. Lisa says:

    Hello Karen,
    I made a swing for my chickens. I did the same thing with each of them. I placed them on the swing and gently held them there and slowly let them go. They all jumped off and wanted nothing to do with swinging. So, I tried again, I’m not one to give up easily. The chicken launched herself off the swing, which came back and hit me squarely in the shins. Needless to say, the chickens aren’t swinging and I don’t care.

  49. Vanessa says:

    What about starting off with it on the ground? Just leave it where they can jump on it, and after a few weeks then raise it a bit, and then a bit higher? Might work…maybe.

  50. Cupikake says:

    Our chickens LOVE their swing. It’s one we made at home using a board that’s essentially a piece of shelving. It’s about two feet off the ground and hangs from chain.
    We routinely look outside to see two or three chickens on it at one time.
    We never taught them to use it; chickens like to fly up onto things, so the swing made perfect sense to us. We also have a wooden ladder secured against the shed that they fly up on and perch.
    Since out chicken love their swing so mug, we’re making another one. Who knew!?

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