Toys and other forms of enrichment for chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KatieKanDo, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. KatieKanDo

    KatieKanDo Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2014
    My chickens are constantly busy, but are confined to their coop due to the difficult winter this year. Although they are warm, clean and well fed, some of their behaviors are turning to feather picking and egg breaking. I gather the eggs early (before noon), but am noticing more bare backs. I am going to try a Bumpa Bit on Zelda the bully, but I wonder about other distractors that will keep them busy for more than 15 minutes.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The best activity by far is foraging. If they will go in their run if you open the door, I would let them. If not, perhaps you could cover an area for them, or even shovel it. People use hanging foods such as a cabbage, flock blocks, items such as boxes or concrete blocks that they can jump on or hide under, etc. Almost anything that is different will generate some curiosity. But these probably tend to have the problem you mention, of not being effective for more than a few minutes.
     
  3. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When my chickens are cooped up for long periods of time, I mix scratch grains in with their bedding material. They'll spend hours turning the bedding over to find the treats, and leave each other alone as a result. Other things you could do is hanging treats in bags from the ceiling, so that chickens have to jump and peck at it to get them, putting new objects in the coop to make their environment more interesting, or perhaps even investing in a treat ball that dispenses goodies as the hens roll it around.

    For my adult chickens, scratch in the bedding is normally more than sufficient to keep them occupied, but I've kept baby chicks in the brooder busy with old CD's, mirrors, terra cotta flower pots, and other items.
     
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