How to Keep Chickens from Getting Bored?

Placing chicken toys, hanging edibles and providing dust baths helps to mimic natural environment for chickens. Engage and regularly supervise your flocks to avoid boredom related behaviours.

Chickens are naturally suspicious and curious about their surroundings. They get bored quickly if they don’t have any interesting activity to do.

Boredom is common among urban flocks due to small setup and limited run, which leads to undesirable behavior like plucking feathers, injuries, cannibalism and unhealthy hens.

Though treats like fruits, table scraps, veggies and mealworms can seem an answer, serving too many goodies isn’t good for chicken’s health.

Luckily, there are many other boredom busters to keep your chickens busy and avoid bulging bellies.

Are your chickens bored – How do you know when chicken is bored?

chicken boredom

It’s common that chickens get bored and you can notice undesirable signs like:

  • Feather plucking: Bored chickens pluck their own feathers and bite other hens in the coop.
  • Cannibalism: If you chicken eats its eggs, then probably it is bored of its surroundings.
  • Reduced appetite.
  • Decrease pace and less activity.
  • Sleeps a lot during day time.

In case you notice these signs, then try to keep them active. Below mentioned are different boredom busters that can keep your chickens active even in winter.

How to Keep Chickens Entertained in the Winter?

With drop in temperature, chickens spend more time in their coop to keep themselves warm. Like it sits idle for 14 hours a day in colder regions.

This obviously, makes them bore and they show nasty behavioral changes.

It is important that you keep them active and entertained most of them time to reduce stress levels and encourage their foraging behaviour.

Keeping chickens active increase immune system and make them healthy, which eventually benefit you with improved egg production.

9 Boredom Busters to Keep Your Chickens from Getting Bored

Not keeping chickens entertained isn’t good for their health. Active chickens stay healthy and produce quality eggs.

Like any other pet or animal in your homestead, mental stimulation and physical activity is essential for chicken’s well being.

Below mentioned are few ways with which you can keep your chicken active.

You can explore more depending on your requirement.

Roost and Perches

Naturally, chickens perches, install small bench or ladder to roost.

Placing small branches or hangers will allow the chickens to rest, sleep, and observe their surroundings.

They mimic the natural behavior of chickens, which prefer to perch off the ground at night. Here are some points to consider:

  • Variety: Install roosts and perches at different heights and angles to cater to your chickens’ preferences.
  • Material: Use natural materials such as wood for roosts to prevent foot injuries and provide a comfortable surface.
  • Spacing: Ensure there is enough space between roosts to prevent overcrowding and allow all chickens to access them comfortably.
  • Location: Place roosts in a well-ventilated area of the coop away from direct drafts and predators.

Dust Baths

Chickens love to dust bathe as it helps them keep their feathers clean and free from parasites.

Creating a designated dust bathing area can keep your chickens entertained for hours. Here’s how to set it up:

  • Materials: Use fine sand, dirt, or wood ash as the base for the dust bathing area.
  • Size: Ensure the dust bathing area is large enough for multiple chickens to use simultaneously.
  • Accessibility: Place the dust bath in a shaded area of the coop or run where chickens can access it easily.
  • Maintenance: Regularly replenish the dust bath material and rake it to keep it clean and free from debris.

Chicken Toys

Introducing toys into your chickens’ environment can provide mental stimulation and prevent boredom.

There are various toys available, or you can make your own. Consider the following:

  • Pecking Balls: Hang pecking balls filled with treats such as grains or vegetables to encourage natural foraging behavior.
  • Mirror: Install a mirror in the coop to provide chickens with visual stimulation and companionship.
  • Swing: Hang a chicken swing in the run for chickens to perch and swing on, promoting physical activity.
  • Puzzle Feeders: Use puzzle feeders to challenge chickens’ problem-solving skills and keep them entertained while eating.

Hanging Edibles

Hanging edible treats in the coop or run can provide chickens with both physical and mental stimulation.

Here’s how to incorporate hanging edibles into your chickens’ environment:

  • DIY Treat Dispensers: Create DIY treat dispensers using plastic bottles or PVC pipes filled with grains or mealworms.
  • Fruit Kabobs: Thread fruits such as apples or berries onto a string and hang them in the coop for chickens to peck at.
  • Vegetable Pinata: Hang a vegetable pinata filled with leafy greens or other vegetables for chickens to peck and eat.

Extend the Run

Expanding the size of your chickens’ run allows them more space to explore, forage, and engage in natural behaviors.

Consider the following tips when extending the run:

  • Fencing: Ensure the extended run is securely fenced to prevent predators from accessing it.
  • Vegetation: Plant bushes or shrubs in the extended run to provide chickens with shade, shelter, and foraging opportunities.
  • Obstacles: Place logs, branches, or other natural obstacles in the run to create an enriching environment for chickens to explore.

Allow Supervised Ranging

Supervised ranging allows chickens to explore outside their coop and run under the watchful eye of their owner.

Here’s how to safely implement supervised ranging:

  • Secure Environment: Ensure the ranging area is secure from predators and hazards such as poisonous plants.
  • Supervision: Keep a close eye on your chickens while they’re ranging to prevent them from getting into mischief or danger.
  • Time Limit: Limit the duration of supervised ranging sessions to prevent chickens from wandering too far or becoming stressed.

Show Them Some Love

Interacting with your chickens not only strengthens the bond between you but also provides them with mental stimulation and enrichment.

Here are some ways to show your chickens some love:

  • Hand-Feeding: Hand-feed your chickens treat such as mealworms or fruits to build trust and affection.
  • Gentle Handling: Handle your chickens gently and calmly to help them feel safe and secure around you.
  • Talking and Singing: Spend time talking or singing to your chickens to provide auditory stimulation and companionship.

Switch Chicken Feed

Variety in their diet can prevent boredom and encourage natural foraging behaviors. Consider switching up your chickens’ feed with the following tips:

  • Scratch Grains: Offer scratch grains as a treat or scattered on the ground to encourage chickens to forage and scratch.
  • Vegetable Scraps: Feed chickens vegetable scraps from your kitchen to provide nutritional variety and enrichment.
  • Commercial Treats: Provide commercial treats such as mealworms, dried fruits, or seed mixes to supplement their diet and keep them interested in eating.

Treat Toys

Treat toys combine play and food, making them an excellent boredom buster for chickens. Here are some ideas for treat toys:

  • Suet Feeders: Hang suet feeders filled with seeds, grains, or mealworms for chickens to peck and enjoy.
  • Foraging Balls: Fill foraging balls with treats or scratch grains for chickens to roll around and peck at.
  • Vegetable Dispensers: Create vegetable dispensers using mesh bags or netting filled with leafy greens or vegetables for chickens to peck and pull.

By implementing these boredom busters, you can ensure that your chickens lead happy, healthy, and enriched lives.

Whether it’s providing them with stimulating toys, expanding their environment, or simply spending quality time with them, keeping chickens entertained is essential for their overall well-being.

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