Keep your chickens entertained
Who enjoys being bored? The same boredom that plagues humans and other pets can creep into your chicken flock – potentially causing destructive behaviour. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your chickens entertained. We’ll share our favourite ways to keep your flock’s minds and bodies busy to effectively keep boredom at bay.
Why do chickens need to be entertained?
Much like children, chickens can act out if they become bored. It’s not uncommon for bored hens to display a variety of negative behaviours or attitudes when they don’t receive enough mental or physical stimulation. Some signs that your chickens may be bored include:
- Feather pulling (on themselves or picking at flockmates)
- Sudden assertive or aggressive behaviour
- Dull demeanour
- Decreased appetite
Chickens are very social animals, and while having companions helps curb their craving to be entertained, supplemental activities will help keep your flock fit and happy.
Ways to keep your flock occupied
Keeping your chickens entertained in any season is easier than you may think. Simple additions to your chickens’ run can make the difference between doldrums and delight. The following boredom-busting activities are great for any sized flock to get a great mental and physical workout in.
Chicken perches are an easy, yet effective way to get your flock engaged in their run. Perching is a natural behaviour for nearly every species of bird, and your hens are likely craving some vertical variety in their space. Freestanding chicken perches are quick to install and move when needed and can be customised to accommodate even the smallest hen in your flock. Or, go big with a PoleTree customisable chicken perch for the ultimate perching and play experience.
Put out heaps of leaves, straw or hay
Sometimes you need not look any further than nature for inspiration for enrichment. Freshly raked piles of leaves or scattered piles of straw or hay are great ways to encourage foraging in your flock. Toss some scratch grains or dried insect treats into the piles and watch your hens scratch around for hours searching for their snacks.
Designate a dust bathing area
Dust baths for chickens aren’t just to keep their feathers in good condition but are also a social activity among hen pals. You’ll often notice two or three hens taking a dust bath together. Providing your flock with a dust bathing area in a specific area of their run will help create a communal spot to hang out and catch up on coop gossip.
Put up a mirror
Chickens take pride in their appearance, and will appreciate the opportunity to check out their reflection. Take care that any mirrors are securely mounted, and are not in an area that will reflect concentrated sun rays onto flammable surfaces like straw, hay, leaves, or dry grass. Use a mirror with caution if you have a rooster in your flock. If they perceive another rooster encroaching on their hens they will go on the defensive – even if it’s against their own reflection. This could stress them (and the rest of your flock) and do more harm than good.
Chicken toys are helpful to motivate hens to exercise mentally and physically. Elevate your hens’ snacktime with peck toys. The Pendant Peck Toy swings and sways along with your chickens’ efforts, which stimulates both their minds and bodies. Or, choose the Poppy Peck Toy for a more stationary option. The Caddi Chicken Treat Holder lets you serve your flock’s favourite fresh finds in a creative way. Stuff it full of leafy greens, hay, or
Other toys for chickens include the Chicken Swing, which provides a fun alternative to an ordinary perch. Many chickens enjoy a nice sit on a gently swaying swing – especially when there’s a nice breeze. Some other toy ideas include:
- Xylophones mounted to the side of the run
- Toy balls (large enough to not be choked on)
- Hollow dog toys to fill with scratch grains or other treats
Change things up
Chicken tractors are perfect for changing things up for your flock. Chickens thrive on routine, but benefit from variety. Move your chickens’ coop to different areas of your garden to give them fresh pecking grounds, new scenery, and different sunning angles.
If you have a stationary chicken coop, try moving some toys or perches around periodically to spice things up. Adjust perch heights, move peck toys to new spots, or add herbs to their dust baths to give your hens variety in their everyday routines.
Spend time with them
This activity doesn’t require any special equipment – just your time. Even if your chickens just view you as the bringer of food, having you in their run for an extended visit helps liven things up. Bring a chair or stool to sit with your flock, or offer some treats by hand to build a bond with hesitant hens. As any chicken keeper knows, time spent with your hens is time well spent.
Omlet: providing your flock with fun
At Omlet, there’s no shortage of fun or innovation. The result? Imaginative chicken toys and accessories that are anything but dull. From pillar pieces like strong chicken coops, to quirky components like the Chicken Swing, our products help you create the perfect hen habitat.
This entry was posted in Chickens