The complete list of boredom busters
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Photo by @Fuchsia! Thank you!


What is a boredom buster?
A boredom buster, is a toy, or object, to distract chickens, and entertain them from boredom,
which can be caused by many things. Boredom busters are useful because they help distract hens, and are surprisingly easy to make!

What causes boredom in chickens?
Many things can cause boredom-
Not enough space
Weather, hot, cold, rain, snow
Not enough to do
Not enough to distract them
Bored chickens will start bad habits, a few are feather picking, on themselves and others, and egg eating.



The complete list of boredom busters!


1. Clutter up the run!
You can do this, by adding abnormal things, and stuff for them to check out.
Anything, new and out of the ordinary will get them excited, and curious,
they just can't help but check it out! Things you can use, are-
buckets, chairs, hay bales, stumps, rocks, and more!

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Photo by @MGG

2. Make a Jungle gym!
A jungle gym or something they can climb on, and perch on, is anther great way to
entertain them! You can use large chairs, and even nail structures together, for them to explore!
Old christmas trees, work great in this regard, and anything new, to climb on!

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Photo by @K0k0shka Thanks!

3. Natural Debris
You can add, hay straw, fallen leaves, grass clippings, and all kinds of natural debris to the
run, for the hens to check out! They love searching for little bugs, and goodies in piles of bark, mulch
and any decaying material. Old crops, and anything to scratch through, is a great boredom buster,
while also creating good habits like scratching in the dirt, which helps keep nails short.

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Photo by @MGG Thanks!

4. Then there are toys! The Xylophone
I have never tired this myself, but have heard great things about chickens and Xylophones!
The most classical one, is the rainbow Xylophone, which you can buy on Amazon. This one,
I don't know how to DIY, but Amazon has a great deal for Xylophones for hens!
Click here for link

5. The mirror
A mirror, is also a popular option, which makes chickens really think.
They might spend lots of time in front of it were there curiosity gets the better of them!
A rooster might start wondering where the other rooster came from, and try to show him who is boss!

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Picture by @DaisyG2317 Thanks!

6. Hanging treat bag!
For this, there are plenty of balls made especially for this on Amazon,
but its is super easy, and a great way to reuse plastic mesh produce bags!
When you go to the store, save the mesh produce bags that you get
Oranges, and Apples in, and fill them with treats, like carrot tops,
and veggie scraps, and even grass clippings. Hang it in the run for them to peck at!

7. DIY treat ball dispenser!
You have probably seen the yellow plastic ones on Amazon, and at Tractor supply, well
who knew it was so easy to make one! It is a great way to resume a plastic water bottle,
save the water bottle, and fill it with yummy treats, then poke holes in it to release the treats!
Scratch and feed, minced veggies, and other treats are great to use in the dispenser, keep the treats as healthy as
possible, since we will fill the water bottle. Then, drill, punch or cut
holes in the the water bottle, only 1-3, because they have to roll it around to get the treats out.
I would put 1 hole on each side, to make it harder for them. Make them a certain size depending on what
you will be filling the ball with. Then fill up your feed dispenser, and see what they think!
PS. It is best if it is clear, so they can see what feed is inside it, encouraging them to check it out!

8. The chicken swing

Chicken swings, work well for some hens, but it does take a bit of getting used to. Mine,
didn't seem to care much, but maybe they weren't bored enough! Chicken swings can be bought on Amazon
but also can be easily DIY'ed! If I were to try them again, I would use a wider surface, to make
balancing easier, and overall easier to get the hang of. You can take 2x4's, sticks, or any
swing material, and tie rope, to either end and hang in the run. Once your hens get the hang of
it, they might truly enjoy this DIY swing!


9. Homemade flock block!
You can buy Flock blocks at the store for close to $30-40. This one, is homemade, you know exactly what is in it,
and what you are feeding your flock, it isn't difficult to make, and it is relatively cheeper!
Recipe- https://www.mastercook.com/app/Recipe/WebRecipeDetails?recipeId=582185

There is a link above, for a great recipe!
The recipe link consists of-
Scratch grain,
There food
Oats
Sunflower seeds
Wheat germ
Flour
Eggs
Cinnamon
Cayenne pepper
Molasses
Coconut oil
Once they come out, you can cut a hole in the top and hang in the run, or just put it on the ground for them!

The recipe suggest cake pans, I would use mini bundt pans, I explain why in the responsibly feeding section below.

10. Funfetti ball!
On amazon, you can buy a bunch of confetti tied together, on a string to hang in the coop,
which resembles a ball, that chickens can pick at. You can purchase this, or you can shred stuffing paper,
in long strips and tie them together at one end. It should look all bushy, and frilly, and resemble the one in the link
provided. You can hang this in the coop so then can peck at it, and let there curiosity come loose!
For link click here.

11. Simply paths through the snow!
In winter, your flock may get snowed in. You can simply shovel paths in the snow for them, and
put little bit of scratch, grass, meal worms, or other treats, and send them on a little scavenger hunt!
Chickens love this, to explore the world in winter, you will be surprised!


12. Plants in the run!
I don't know how much by its self, this will help, but anything new, and intresting
for them to peck at, new edible plants in the run, will entertain them!
Plus, it will pretty up the run for you! Chickens won't be interested in this alone for
very long though, so you may want to try some of the other buster ideas above too!

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Photo by @K0k0shka Thank you!

13. Last but not least dust baths!
Chickens love to have a nice bath! Putting a dust bath in there run, is simple, and great for even more the entertainment!
It is good to keep parasites away, and them nice, clean and healthy! You can make a dust bath out of wood ash from your fire place,
sand, dirt, and dust. This is a super simple buster, your flock will appreciate if you don't already have one!

Caution: Be exreamly careful when using string to hang things in the run. If a chicken eats loose string, it could get tangled up in
intestines and kill
them!


Busters with treats, How to responsibly feed.
Even though they are boredom busters, a lot of the items listed above contain treats, and snacks.
Chickens still need to have a healthy diet, and you still need to feed the busters used along with treats, responsibly.
Treats, should consist up of no more then 5% of there diet, which is about 2 tablespoons per day. So when using the water bottle dispenser,
the hanging treat bag, and flock blocks, you need to only allow a certain amount so that they don't over eat, and over all stay healthy.
Don't use the same Buster everyday, use one that doesn't require treats one day, and one with treats another.
This will keep them heathy, and also keep them from getting bored of one buster in particular. With flock blocks especially,
make them in a considerable size, so that if your flock eats the whole thing, they won't over eat. Mini bundt cake pans are a good idea,
since they are small, any hens who hoard the block, won't eat very much because not very much is available to them. They also have holes in the center
for easy hanging. It is very important to feed responsibly, because your flock wold rather be bored them overfed, unhealthy, since then they are more prone to diseases. Thank for reading this article, hope it helps with your boredom buster ideas!




Credits
I want to thank the following articles for the info they gave me in writing this piece-
https://www.hobbyfarms.com/boredom-chickens-winter-prevent/
https://www.fresheggsdaily.blog/2013/02/10-boredom-busters-for-chickens.html
https://www.thefeatherbrain.com/blog/chickens-scratch-the-ground
https://the-chicken-chick.com/chicken-treats-guide-dont-love-your/