Do Chickens Get Bored???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Rose66, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Rose66

    Rose66 Chillin' With My Peeps

    209
    3
    101
    Jan 26, 2011
    Alabama
    I'm getting my first chickens in the spring and am trying to decide on how I want to build my coop and run. I remember pretty much every permanent chicken pen I've ever seen being just bare dirt so that got me to wondering: What do chickens do all day long once they have eaten every blade of grass from the run? Do they just amble around mindlessly scratching out of boredom, or what? Thanks!
     
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    16,242
    105
    336
    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    I would think so. Honestly I do not have my chickens in runs, as I do find it kind of cruel to get a chicken so bored to be in a small area, just pacing around on dirt or gravel. . .

    But, of course, I have the room to allow mine to run around, fly around, and search around a 3 acre pasture of trees, shrubs, hills, dustbathing "bowls," and so on. Techincally my roosters and my Polish are in a run, but it is big enough that I've yet to ever have any problems with the grass or shrubs being eaten to nothing. My Polish's area is still completely green, and my rooster's area is also green in several places. (there's also places that never were, some places that always are)

    A chicken doesn't really need toys to be entertained, but I think it at least needs a place to run around, a place to eat natural foods (grass, insects, other greens and seeds) and places to perch on or at least explore. Something new at least once a week to find. [​IMG]
     
  3. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    4,445
    16
    213
    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida
    I don't know if they get "bored" per se but my roos can look miserable when closed up in the chicken yard. I go out and play with them alot and give them things to play with when I'm not outside. They will stare at themselves in the mirror I gave them and chatter away. My BO rooster also plays with a shiny metal water dish (I can't put water in it because he kicks it all over the place. ) I saw someone post that they hang a head of cabbage in the run so the chickens have to work for the yummy treat. I personally think giving them things to investigate and keep them occupied is a good thing. [​IMG]

    [​IMG] and [​IMG]
     
  4. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    10,684
    96
    321
    May 13, 2008
    Yes they can get bored if you want to put it that way but that is really a human thing some people who think they are chicken wisperers LOL.
    If you are new to chickens and don't have any yet, my advice would first be to learn how to raise and care for them properly and keep them healthy and housed well. Before worrying about their mental faculties and if they are at peace with the world. If you do all of the above well they will be happier.

    AL
     
  5. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    4,445
    16
    213
    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida
    Quote:I agree allowing them to free range is best way to keep them happy. I have had to keep mine penned more lately because we are having an invasion of hawks. [​IMG] They killed one of my birds and flew away with my BO (he was found alive under the hawk's nest about a block down the road). These things are huge! Fortunately I have a large, covered chicken yard and am working on an even larger one.

    Rose, I would suggest you start learning about predators BEFORE you get your birds. I wish someone had told me that! [​IMG]
     
  6. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    5,535
    69
    308
    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Ahhh, the age old question. The answer is simple: yes and no.

    Most everyone here will say yes. They will look out and see them with nothing "to do" and find they react to anything that comes within sight. Ergo, they are bored (they are going to do that regardless, but you get the point).

    But, of course, they don't share our concepts of time as it relates to activity. So they cannot be bored, in the sense that we understand it.

    So there you go - yes and no. Takes your pick.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  7. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    I believe that they do for sure. I have a huge coop (20x40) that I put mine up in at night then a huge lot that they have access to along with a 30x40 barn to run through during the day. I let them free range over my property several days a week when I can sit out with them. I also put perches at many different levels in the coop, in the run and on the lot and they make use of all of them.

    I feel sorry for the birds that are locked up in small coops. If you have to keep them in that situation, I have heard of people using those seed bells for wild birds to keep them entertained. I dont know how long that wold work...best thing is to give them to as large of a space as you possibly can.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    86
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:How can you possibly know, unless you are claiming to either a) have been a chicken in a previous life and remember it well, or b) have accurate psychic connections with chickens.

    Nobody knows what goes on in anyone else's heads -- peoples' OR animals''

    The best we can do is infer it from their behavior.

    A number of animals, including chickens, display behavior that if humans did it in that context we'd call it bored.

    <shrug>

    As to the o.p.'s question, it is better if you can offer them a more enriched environment -- larger, more varied, and with stuff to scratch/sort/dig through. Chickens are pretty detail-oriented critters, though, and can while away a lot of time poking carefully around just in case there might be *one* last eensy little bug crawling by.

    Pat
     
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,852
    32
    249
    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    All creatures get bored, frustrated and stressed when they are prevented by the circumstances of their confinement from doing what nature has designed them to do. This is why zoos have come up with the concept of "enrichment." It isn't just a matter of being touchy/feely, either. Chickens don't lay as well if they're stressed.

    Chicken enrichment can take many forms, but primarily what chickens like to do is look for food and eat. In the fall, I bag up leaves from our yard, and then periodically dump one of the bags in the run. For a couple of days my flock is in heaven, trying to scratch under every new leaf just in case there might be something tasty hidden under there. After they've shredded all the leaves, I rake them up and put in a fresh bag. Sometimes I throw down part of a bale of alfalfa hay.

    I also scatter a handful or two of scratch in the run and clip up chard, kale, or other greens, throw out an ear of corn, etc. Most of the year I put the flock in a day tractor so they can have the benefit of scratching on fresh ground and eating the grass every day.
     
  10. TreeHugger

    TreeHugger Chillin' With My Peeps

    333
    1
    141
    Apr 7, 2008
    I can't allow my birds to free range - to do so would be a death sentence.

    The no grass thing concerned me so I built them a few grass beds. This is basically 4" by 4" pieces of wood arranged in a rectangle with chicken wire covering the top of it. The chicken can pick at the grass but cannot dig it up. It provides them hours of entertainment in the spring, summer and fall.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by