First time owner! How do I entertain them?


8 Years
May 27, 2011
Thanks to this wonderful forum I was finally able to take the plunge and get a (very small) flock of chickens.
I just picked up two Ameraucanas and two Buff Orpingtons.

They are all six days old seem to be in excellent health. The Buffs are so tame they'll walk right onto my hand and even though the Ameraucanas are a little skittish they quiet right down as soon as they are in your hand.
Right now the only thing in the brooder is paper towels, a feeder, and water.
I am trying really hard not to anthropomorphise them. I realize birds are very different from us and have their own wants and needs but I can't help thinking how boring that brooder must be.
At what point do you add "toys" or sticks to perch on and what, if any, do you recommend?
Are these forms of distraction actually beneficial to the chickens or are they more to make the owners feel better about keeping them in a small container?
In my experience, they seemed bored. (Maybe it was just me, like you said!) I gave them a cardboard egg carton turned upside down to roost on and they loved it. I've also heard of folks giving them small toys that were safe to investigate and peck on and a clean feather duster to snuggle with!
Ha ha
It's probably a little of both. In the very beginning just eating, drinking, sleeping and chasing are all part of a pretty big adventure! I hung a little stick in mine and when they were ready they flew up to perch on it. That took a little while. I also hung a rag in there that they would peck at, but you have to be careful that it is not something that they can pull threads out of and eat.
I put in a teddy bear, roosts, and a mirror. (at just a few days old) and i took them out in the coop at a month old. They are now a month and a half, and they run around the run during the day and are locked in there separated part of the coop so my hen wont hurt them. My hen free ranges during the day. so the chicks have the whole run to themselves!
I had the same concern with my last batch because I had too many birds in a small area and they were pecking at each other. Between more room, lightly trimmed the beaks, gave them a playground of branches to run thru & hop around on and hung a small chunk of head lettuce on a string it stopped the pecking and they seemed to be happier.... then they moved to the big coop and discovered FREE RANGE! and a dog, and a goose, and a sheep, and a goat, and sunshine, and rain, and....
Check my chicken page- I added a mirror! OMG, funny, they'd sing to it, sleep next to it, coo to it. I also added a small perch, which they loved, a small barbell. They had a blast!
I get a small empty tissue box and cut off one side so they have a little cubby to hide in and they love to hop on top of it, some times they argue over who gets to sit on top of it
its simple, cheap and they seem to enjoy it
I signed mine up for Netflix.

Actually, I moved the brooder out to the garage about a month ago when they were about 4 weeks old. Within a day, they were getting out of it and exploring every nook and cranny. I let them roam the yard every day while I was getting the coop ready for them. They go in the coop every night but they still like to get in the garage and explore.

My little chicks are brooded in the garage at night, but during the day they are out in the yard with some netting to keep them seperate from the big chicks.

By using 1" mesh and step in stakes, I can make corrals in various parts of the yard. So each group can explore tall grass, mowed lawn, dirt patches, wood piles or dense shrubs. They get to see each other every day and I hope that will help when its time to blend the 2 groups.

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