Chicken Boredom

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pigcoon, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. pigcoon

    pigcoon Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    Can I have some suggestions for livening up our chicken run? (5 hens, no rooster) They can't free range because of hawks. I think they pick on each other more because of boredom. They can dust bathe, there are a couple of roosts, I get one of those big blocks of chicken seed/scratch to peck at, once in a while I hang a big head of lettuce or cabbage for them to go at, but I think they need something more.

  2. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Some ideas - think like a 2yo child....that's a great place to start!

    Take some tree branches (without leaves) and lean against the run wires (tie one end if you can). They'll be able to 'see' more that way!

    Partially bury a small-ish bucket (think small sandcastle bucket) and put some mealworms or BOSS partially buried in leaf litter or sand - the girls will have a great time digging for them!

    Use whole logs to create 'stools' - just bury partway so they don't fall on someone - again, something to stand and look around upon.

    Hope you get some more - those are off the top of the list of things I did to 'improve' my pen that were really really cheap.

    Also, lately there's been a great thread on 'chicken gardens' - a raised bed within the run - plant with grass seed or lettuce mix - cover with larger opening hardware cloth (so chooks can get to 'fresh' greens, but not rip 'em to shreds!)....hope you find some of that discussion.


    -- Blessed are the flexible, for they will not break --
  3. Cat Water

    Cat Water That Person

    Jul 4, 2010
    Mid Coast Maine
    Toss a bale of hay in there. That will keep them occupied for hours, picking that thing apart.
  4. bburn

    bburn Songster

    Jul 9, 2010
    Delaware, Arkansas
    I bought a bale of wheat straw twice this winter. I am glad I did because with all the rain it has helped in the run....but they spent hours and hours picking thru for the wheat.

    The logs are a great can just shallow out the ground where you are going to put it and it won't roll. Better than than is a piece of firewood off the bottom of the will have bugs in it and that is hours of entertainment.

    I stopped at a junk store one day that bought over stock. They had a crate out back that was really a pallet with some sides about three feet tall....I asked for it and they were glad to give it to me. I brought it home and nailed a piece of tin on top and put a roost inside. They all get on it but the rooster uses it the most to stand on it to crow. The girls crawl around inside.....treats in there help also.

    I buy the large bags of turnip greens at the store. They are all chopped up. I use those for treats two or three times a week. Turnip greens have lots of calcium. Who knew? I just throw them in the run and they dive for them.

    The very best treat in the world for them is when the BOSS falls outside the run and they sprout.....we go through and pick them and throw them in the run.....the MOB turns into a MOB!

  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Get your feed store to order you a couple of flock blocks. These are big, ice block size cubes made of all kinds of seeds held together by hardened molasses. My chickens spend the majority of their time whittling away at it. It's hard as a rock, and lasts months. It's kind of like the chicken version of a real complicated jigsaw puzzle - they'll obsess over it.
  6. motoclown

    motoclown Songster

    May 27, 2010
    New Castle, PA
    Let them in the grass.
    Grow them sprouts.
  7. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I just thought of another sure-fire cure for boredom. Get a sturdy freezer-strength plastic storage bag and fill it with raisins, peanuts, BOSS, raw oatmeal, scratch and toss it into the pen. They'll spend hours scratching and biting the bag trying to get to the goodies. They'll finally make a hole in the bag, and the stuff will get eaten over the next few hours.

    This is usually good for most of a day, and no, they will not devour the bag. Don't be ridiculous, chickens know what's edible, so get rid of that silly fear right away.

  8. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Apple on a string works well too and is hilarious entertainment. Harder for them to figure out, maybe, than a cabbage. Or, an ear of squirrel corn on a string, same thing.

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