I'm about to create a bigger more permanent enclosure for my 3 blackrock hens. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for things that would be good or fun for them. I know they love their dustbaths but any other suggestions?
They love chunks of sod, if you can get leftovers from a landscaping place or your own yard, or you can grow wheat sprouts in a big tray in the house - they'll gobble those up. I have hung a head of cabbage or some broccoli (a little brown or broccoli turning yellow) just at the top of their reach, and they will be entertaining (and hopefully entertained!) working on that.
The one thing that I put in my run that they seem to "enjoy" is their day roost. I simply took two stumps about two feet high and nailed a nice big round tree branch to it.
They love to sit up on the branch during the day an preen theirselves as well as nap. Last evening when I got home and looked out the window that branch was covered with hens from end to end.
They love to sit on the seats and backs of the chairs. Several of them get up on the table at once. When that end of the run wasn't covered, they used to stand under the table as a shelter when it rained.
They really like to get up on anything you can give them. Mine also have a tree stump and a big rubber livestock feed bowl that's filled with sand. They love to perch on the edge of the rubber bowl. It must feel good to their feet. Sometimes they dust bathe in the bowl, other times they like to just stand around in it or scratch around in it.
Anything you can give them as food entertainment will be appreciated out there, too.
I have an elm and a peach tree, large shrubs for shade. A windmill and a tom turkey keeps hawks away. Large tree stumps (3) different heights for them to play on. They can get under the coop for dirt and protection and one 4'x4' platform to play on and hide under too.
Mine loooooove a big ol' pile of garden weedings or turf (like from enlarging or edging garden beds) or dug-up anthills (transport to run *quickly* <vbg>). Anything compost-pile-like that they can dig and scratch and pick through to their hearts' delight, just as long as it is not so wet or dense that it could mold and obviously don't put in toxic plants.
Mine seem convinced that no matter how 'used' a pile of stuff is, if they just look long enough they will find another tasty bug or seed or root
Mine will be in heaven when we start free ranging again and they can spend endless hours scratching through the leaves in the woods and along the fence lines. Scratching through a pile of stuff, looking for a bug or some tidbit must be the favorite activity of all chickens.