Chickens are quite energetic creatures! They derive a distinct pleasure from engaging in activities such as running, scratching, and pecking at anything they find interesting. For instance, you might observe them chasing after insects or digging in the dirt in search of a tasty morsel.
However, when chickens can't engage in these typical activities, boredom sets in. This boredom can trigger some concerning unhealthy behaviors and potential health issues. For instance, a bored chicken might start pecking at its own feathers or exhibit other forms of restlessness that are harmful to its welfare.
In fact, one of the most commonly observed behaviors in chickens when they're bored is pecking at each other, even to the extent of pulling out their own feathers, which in extreme cases leads to injuries. It's essential to understand why this behavior can be detrimental for the chickens and how we, as their caretakers, can work to prevent such occurrences.
Additionally, these injurious behaviors don't just increase your workload in treating the wounds, they also induce substantial stress in chickens. You might not realize it, but a stressed chicken could cease laying eggs, severely impacting its health and general demeanor. Let's delve into the adverse effects of stress on chicken health and their productive capabilities to emphasize the importance of a stress-free environment for your flock.
These problems become more pronounced in backyard settings, particularly due to the restrictive nature of smaller coops. If you're into raising chickens in your backyard, it's crucial to ensure these lively creatures always have access to toys or stimuli to keep them entertained. Let's look at the relationship between the size of the coop and the resulting behavior of the chickens to better understand this dynamic.
Interestingly, any activity that incites the natural behaviors of the chickens can be classified as 'play.' Consequently, objects instigating such enriched interactions can be considered 'toys.' If you're a chicken parent, it would be beneficial for your brood to have a variety of these toys at their disposal. Consider equipping your coop with a few chicken-approved toys for their enjoyment and well-being.
Ready to craft some DIY chicken toys? Here are 10 ideas to keep your chickens entertained and thriving at all times. Let's get those creative juices flowing and dive into this exciting adventure!
- Interactive Treat Dispensers: Fun-filled feeding stations for your chickens
- Shredded Newspaper: Creative nesting material for cozy coop corners
- Perching Places: Providing a bird's eye view for your chickens
- Old Tree Stump/Branch
- Old CDs
- Compost Piles
- Dust Bath
- Pet Bird Toys
- Rope Swing
1. Interactive Treat Dispensers
This is a very easy project that you can do using empty plastic containers. As much as possible choose a sturdy one, like soda bottles or a peanut butter jar.
Simply drill holes that are just big enough for the chicken treats to fall through. Make sure to remove any loose plastic pieces that your chooks might accidentally ingest. Fill it with chicken feed, put the lid back on and give it to your chickens!
2. Shredded Newspaper
3. Perching Places
Aside from the chicken roost inside the coop, they should also have a climbing structure outdoors which allows for some physical exercise.
You can easily do that by simply putting together some tree branches.
4. Old Tree Stump/Branch
Read more about “Which Chicken Breed Is Best For You?“
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5. Old CDs
Chickens see color better than we do. So if you still have some old broken CDs in your recycle bin, they will surely love this colorful recycled toy!
Simply hang it anywhere where they can reach it. You can also use broken ones by sticking the pieces to a softball.
6. Compost Piles
Chickens enjoy ‘work’, too! If you want to create your own compost they will gladly help. They will eat all the bugs and worms, and shred, turn and mix everything else! Definitely a win-win situation.
7. Dust Bath
Dust baths are a way for chickens to stay clean. But aside from that it also serves as a venue for socializing and ‘playing’.
Read more about “10 DIY CHICKEN TREATS that you can easily make for your flock”
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8. Pet Bird Toys
Just like with the old CD, anything colorful stimulates their curiosity will definitely entertain them.
Now, these baby toys are really great for chicks, since it’s not really advisable to give them ‘food toys’.
We’ve shared the benefits of having a chicken run before, and this idea is definitely in this list.
You can also make a similar version for the chicks by using containers. Simply cut out the other end of the container, and your chicks will enjoy passing through it like little kids in a playground!
10. Rope Swing
Here’s another great exercise tool for their feet to help keep them on their roosts.
All you need is two cuts of ropes and a wooden rod or tree branch to create a swing.
Make sure the swing is level!
What other toys can I give my chickens to entertain them?
Except for the above chicken toys, you can kill your chicken’s boredom with:
- Set up a Mirror in your chicken coop (chickens love to investigate!)
- Attach Xylofowl to your wall (chicken can compose music too!)
- Create Chicken Playground (a little advanced but it’s 100% worth it)
- DIY Chicknic Table (you can also feed your chickens here)
- Old Bicycle Wheels (spin to win)
All credits are given to TheOwnerBuilderNetwork.co for this awesome content.
Shannon Stansberry has been engaged in the business of raising chickens for more than 12 years. In 2016, she accomplished the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. At present, she tends to more than 80 chickens on her 4-hectare farm. Shannon regularly shares her insights and experience on how to raise healthy and contented chickens on the platform Typesofchickens.com