Do chickens get bored?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Snob Doctor, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Snob Doctor

    Snob Doctor Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 3, 2013
    Central New York
    Since last summer, I have grown my flock to seven chickens (hopefully it'll continue to grow[​IMG]with SPRING BABIES!) We built them a shed-sized coop that is a work in progress, and a decent-sized run. Every once in a while (way more often in the warmer weather) I let them out to roam our yard.

    But the run is pretty bare, and will probably turn annoyingly muddy come CNY springtime [​IMG] I have a low ~4 ft perch on one side of the run... I can't put it too high because my three pesky "golden girls" have flown out before (the fencing is ~8 ft high) so it's like 10 inches of the ground. We have learned to clip wings though, just a little off one wing, and they'd have to fly all the way over, they can't perch on top of the fencing. Sooo hopefully I could add higher perches.

    Anywhoo, I always worry about my animals' worlds being too small. Besides treats, is there anything I should/could put in there to keep them entertained and happy? If I didn't love them to pieces and want to make up for past mistakes, or was assured that entertaining them isn't necessary, I might not care as much. But yanno, whatever, I'm a carpenter's daughter, I can build almost anything :p and I'll have a lot more free time when the semester ends.

    It's not a huge run... but it may expand in the future. So any suggestions? :D

    Much appreciated! ~~ Mallory
    1 person likes this.
  2. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Occasionally i will dump a pile of chipped wood or leaves in the run, and then sprinkle scratch grains on it. They Love it! keeps them busy.

    I have also added piles of scrap wood for them to climb on and scratch around.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  3. chookbookchook

    chookbookchook Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 17, 2013
    New Zealand
    I have a piece of rope in my coop with a pine cone attached on the end of it. they love playing with it. you can also put treats on it too mine seems to love this [​IMG]
  4. redneck farmer

    redneck farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey everyone I had the same question so so i think that everyone should post some chicken toys to keep them from getting bored
  5. EggsBeesSeeds

    EggsBeesSeeds Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 15, 2013
    My chickens tend to spend most of their time free ranging, so when they have to be "cooped up" in their run, I like to make sure they are entertained. These are a few things I like to do:

    I like to hang bunches of greens (kale, chard, cabbage, lettuce, carrot tops, etc) just out of reach of the chickens. They spend so much time jumping up to grab little chunks. Plus it is really fun watching them!

    Soft rotting logs are also good entertainment for the birds. Mine seem to work for hours to get at whatever is inside! I have a lot of them on my property and when I find some particularly soft/squishy ones I just put them in the run. They all seem to take turns pecking and pecking and pecking.

    Scratch grains are always good! I like to throw some on the ground and then cover it with fresh straw so they have to work a little harder to get at it.

    I place large flat stones on the ground and leave them there for a couple weeks. Then, I turn them over and watch the chickens go nuts for all the worms in the ground. (it has to be moist for this to work!) I find sometimes they spend hours scratching and pecking "holes" in the ground where the worm stones were, maybe looking for more?
  6. Snob Doctor

    Snob Doctor Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 3, 2013
    Central New York
    Holy crap these suggestions are great! The log idea is fantastic :D I can't wait to try these.. happy chickens are my favorite :p
  7. redneck farmer

    redneck farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ya really great ideas! Keep em coming
  8. aldarita

    aldarita Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2012
    Brenham TX
    I read in BYC forum that a member uses empty Gatorade bottles with holes on them and fills them with black sun flower seeds or scratch and puts them in the run, I did that and it takes a while for the chickens to learn what to do with them but once they learn, they spend a long time rolling the bottles with their feet to get the seeds out. If you live in the north it will be OK to fill the bottle with scratch since chickens need extra calories in the winter to fend the cold weather, I use black sun flower seeds more often than scratch.
  9. AVintageLife

    AVintageLife Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2012
    New Hampshire
    So many great ideas here! I built a rustic ladder out of tree branches and propped it up against a high roost in the run, they like to hang out there. In one corner of the run I made a dusting area, surrounded with some big, flat rocks to keep the sand/wood ash contained. It gives them another place to dust themselves and I figure the rocks keep their toenails filed too. They go through a hanging cabbage a week and every other week I fill a hanging suet cage on the side of the run. I have two/three bales of hay in the run in the winter and on the weekend when I do my coop chores, I move them around, they like different heights and things to climb up on. As the bale breaks apart, they like to forage through it and spread it all around the run for me. At night when I'm closing the pop door for the night, I quietly sprinkle some scratch or BOSS in the run as a surprise for them in the morning after I've opened everything up again. They only get out to forage on the weekends so during the week, I try to give them a variety of "foraging activities" within the coop and run. I've read on this site about people making chicken hammocks and using tires (on the ground or hanging, I don't know).
  10. redneck farmer

    redneck farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was thinking about putting a treat basket on top of a series of chicken steps

    ————— <--- steps
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013

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