Today many urban chickens are not able to free range, they are confined to a run. Many people do not have enough space to let there chickens free range, or they want there chickens to be safe from predators. Some chickens must stay in a run so they don't wander into the neighbors yard, or into the road. Whatever the reason your chickens must stay in a run, there are many ways to make the run more fun for your chickens.Her are just a few of the many ways to make your run more fun:
It's a fact all chicken owners know: Chickens love to roost. So adding roosts to your run will help your chickens to have a more joyful experience in the run. Because it is very obvious that chickens love to roost most chicken owners already have a roost or two in their run but I still thought that I would mention it because adding a roost is one of the simplest ways to make your run more enjoyable for your chickens.
Here is the roost I have in my coop, it is made out of a piece of bamboo. The roost is really low, I should probably make it higher sometime soon.
Most runs have dirt or pine shavings as their bottoms, but to get the most out of my run I put a thick layer of hay in one corner of the run, the rest of the run has a dirt bottom. Chickens love to scratch in the hay and spread it around so it is exactly where they want it. My girls love the combination of dirt and straw.
My girls scratching around in the hay.
In my run I have a few stairs that my dad built especially for the chickens. I love watching the chickens climb the stairs and get to the top. I also like to sprinkle a few mealworms on each step and watch the chickens climb up each step and gobble up the treats. Stairs are an easy way to make your run more fun for your chickens.
They really enjoy the stairs!
#4 Tree stumps, bales of hay, lawn chairs etc.
Chickens love anything that they can jump on top of, my welsummer pickles loves tree stumps. I currently have a bale of hay and two stumps in my run. I used to also have an old lawn chair in the run and the chickens really liked it but I took it out because it was taking up too much space. When putting things for your chickens to jump on in your run be careful not to add to many, because if you add a lot of things it could take up too much of the ground space for your chickens to scratch in.
My welsummer Pickles on a stump. She lost one of her eyes to a raccoon a few months ago
My buff orpington Haddie chilling on a hay bale.
#5 Dust bathing areas
It is necessary that you have an area where your chickens can dust bathe in your run all year round. Dust bathing is important for chickens because it keeps them clean. The dust removes excess oil from the chickens skin and can even kill parasites. Dust bathing kills parasites by covering them in dust which suffocates them. You have to make sure your run has an area of dry loose dirt and sand that your chickens can dust bathe in and you also have to make sure that the area is protected from becoming a big muddy mess in the rain. To keep the dust bathing area from getting wet try to put a roof over it- I suggest putting a roof on top of your whole run to protect your chickens from hawks and other predators that could easily climb over a fence.
To provide a dust bathing area for your chickens you can pour some sand in the corner of your run, fill an old tire with sand, or let your chickens make their own dust bathing area and just help them to keep it dry.
This is the favorite dust bathing spot in my run, a dry dusty corner. One or two chickens can use this spot at a time, the others either wait until they are done or dust bathe in another dry spot in the run.
#6 A fun treat
This is basically an apple hanging from a piece of string but your chickens will really love pecking at it and it is a great way to add excitement to your chickens run. It is super easy to make too! Heres how:
Step 1: First get an apple and stab through the center with a straw, you can also use a skewer, whatever will get a hole through the center
Step 2: Now peel the apple
You can feed the peels to your chickens! Apple peels are a favorite treat in my flock.
Step 3: Now get a knife and cut many horizontal lines across the whole apple.
Step 4: Now you can cut vertical lines all over the apple. These cuts make it easier for the chickens to pull off pieces of the apple.
Step 5: Now get a rope and stick it through the hole in the center of the apple. Tie a knot at the bottom.
Step 6: Now hang the apple in your run where the chickens will be able to reach it. Your chickens will love this treat.
You can make this with practically any fruit or vegetable. It is a great snack year round!
Thanks for reading!
If you have any other ideas about how to make a run more fun for chickens please comment and I would be glad to add it to this article.