Bored chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DenFlo, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. DenFlo

    DenFlo Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2016
    Anyone got any suggestions as to how I can make life a bit more interesting for my girls (and boy)?

    Due to the bird flu outbreak, they are all enclosed in a bird proof pen at the moment and it looks like this will be continuing for the foreseeable. But my chooks are bored :-( . I have given them some Brussel sprout stalks which they peck at off and on, they get corn and mixed feed scattered to pick up and I give them mealworms about once a day. Is there anything else I can give them to do? They are not keen on the usual vegetables - I've tried hanging kale and lettuces for them to peck at, but they are not bothered. The pen is a makeshift thing with netting over the top and is open to the elements, so not practical to hang swings etc, or put out bales of straw but I want to let them have something else. Can anyone give me any ideas? I can't wait until this restriction is lifted and they can have free run of the garden again, but I bet it will be extended again at the end of February.
  2. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    There are threads on BYC that address chicken toys and/or boredom busters...I think if you do a search you'll find them.

    One idea is a flock block (a large block of healthy things they can peck at). Or maybe piles of dry leaves they can scratch in.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ameraucanas

    Ameraucanas Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2015
    • Hang some cabbage for them to work at.
    • Buy a chicken swing.
    • Give them grapes or tomatoes to play with.
    • Give them a flock block to peck at.
    • Give them some compost/mulch/leaves to scratch around in.
    • Drill some holes in an old peanut butter container, and fill it with food or treats for the chickens to get out.
    • Make sure they have an area to dust bathe.
    • Pet bird toys.
    • Put a mirror in their coop.
    • Make a tunnel for them to play in.
    • Throw some boiled spagghetti in their coop for them to eat and play with.
    • Make some DIY bird feeders and put them in the coop.
    • Put some stumps in their coop for them to stand on and peck at.
    • Spend more time with them!
    • Buy this awesome toy that my chickens love-
    1 person likes this.
  4. DenFlo

    DenFlo Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2016
    Great ideas, thank you! I'm heading off to the garden centre/farm shop now!
  5. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    I dump the old straw bedding in the run when I change the bedding weekly. I tossed leaves in last fall. They scratch and peck through it. I took an empty rectangular gallon spring water bottle with a screw cap, screwed the cap on tight and poked a hole in the cap, so the bottle wouldn't collapse with a change in temperature. They peck at it and kick it around, the label fell off in about 3 days. I also put 3 fallen branches in their 500 square foot run[​IMG] They hop onto and prune themselves and walk along, testing their balancing skills, chatting amongst themselves, particularly about the the neighbors rooster they can hear crowing in the morning, but have never seen. or just to take a nap. I toss scratch grains in the run a couple of times a day. GC
    1 person likes this.
  6. I hang apples from strings. If they are hesitant to peck at the whole apple, cut a wedge out of it. Chickens LOVE apples and don't mind if they are mushy or have a bad spot in them.

    I also take some of their bedding out of the coop and spread it in the run. They spend hours scratching through it like they've never seen it before.

    Leaves seem to upset my birds. I use deep litter and added them to the mix this year. They got spooked by the noise and just wound up crunching them up underfoot without really digging through them. Wheat straw is another matter. They love it and spend hours digging around in it.
    1 person likes this.
  7. aldarita

    aldarita Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2012
    Brenham TX
    Try to focus on things that are not food related, given a choice, chickens much rather eat treats (even if they are healthy ones) than their feed. It is important for them to eat their daily ration of balanced feed and not dilute it with other foods.
    I have different roosts placed at different elevations and they love to jump, perch and preen in all of them. I also think that piling dry leaves everywhere for them to scratch is a good idea, mine spend time scratching so it keeps them busy.
    Good luck
    1 person likes this.
  8. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Flock Master

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    I agree on limiting the low protein treats. It becomes like giving a human kid a candybar every time they cry.

    I make sure mine have to work on finding the scratch. I spread straw in the run and the scratch falls through making them spend more time looking for it.
    Alfalfa is a favorite of mine. I do the same as with the straw and they get bonus alfalfa leaves.
    If you cannot put roosts/branches off the ground try a couple simple saw horses. Before I added some solid roof to my run for shade I took two small sawhorses and a piece of plywood (screwed the plywood to the sawhorses). They were on and under it all day long.
    Mine love a fresh bag of peat moss to roll around and dust bathe in.

    1 person likes this.

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