You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘busy as a bee’. I think that ‘busy as a chicken’ should be just as relevant. Chickens are extremely busy and constantly going. Well, when they aren’t cooped up that is. Naturally, chickens would spend the majority of their time walking around scratching the ground searching for insects, seeds and bits of grass to eat. They would get up before daylight and spend the entire day doing this, only retiring right at dark.
In an ideal world, you’d be able to let your chickens out everyday and they could spend their days out and about. But, what if you can’t let your chickens out because of your neighbor’s dogs, wild animals, lack of space or your work schedule? How can you keep your chickens entertained all day when they’re cooped up? Keep reading to discover ways you can keep your chickens active and entertained.
This is one of the simplest ways to entertain both your chickens and yourself. It’s also low cost. You need a raw vegetable like cabbage or ears of corn, string and a screw-in eye hook. Screw the end of the eye hook into the stem of the cabbage or corn and use this to tie the vegetable to the roof of the coop. Make sure that the vegetable is hanging low enough for your chickens to be able to reach it. Once it’s hung, sit back and watch them peck away at it. Your chickens will go crazy for the fresh vegetable. They’ll take turns pecking at the swinging vegetable that will entertain them for hours.
Piles of Grass
If there’s one thing that seems to drive chickens crazy, it’s a pile of something. Piles of straw, hay, grass clippings or leaves and chickens don’t get along. Your chickens will go crazy if you pile something up in their coop. And when we say go crazy, we mean that in a good way! Chickens are made to walk around, scratching the ground in search of food. Scratching the same coop floor each day can get boring, so the next time that you rake leaves or mow the yard, toss the leaves or grass clippings into your chicken coop. Your chickens will scratch through it, finding any and every insect, seed or edible bit from the pile. It’s a great way to give your chickens exercise, a different treat and let them satisfy their urge to dig around.
You don’t have to limit the space where your chickens can move around to just the coop. If you want to let your chickens explore, but don’t like the idea of them not being enclosed, then consider setting up temporary spaces for them. Chicken tractors can be put together over the weekend and will allow you to move your chickens to new spaces frequently. This is great for both your chickens and your yard if you have enough space. Your chickens will eat any insects that they see and keep the grass fertilized. Another great idea is to set up a chicken tunnel around your garden. Many gardeners have used this method to keep insects out of their garden and it works wonders. The tunnel can be created around the perimeter of your garden with simple chicken wire. The tunnel keeps the chickens aways from your garden plants but allows them to catch any insects that are making their way to your garden.
You know that chickens like to roost at night, but they also enjoy having space in the run to perch during the day. This is especially true if you have a rooster. A rooster’s job is to look out for his hens and this means keeping an eye out for predators. Perches in the run can provide a better vantage point to see from. There are many ways that you can put perches in the coop, from chicken swings to repurposed old ladders and tree branches.
This is the perfect way to keep your chickens entertained and cool in the summer. It’s also really simple. Take some of your chicken’s favorite treats like whole kernel corn, scratch grains or mealworms and place a few into an ice cube tray. Cover them with water and freeze. Once frozen, pop the ice cubes into a bucket of water in the coop. Your chickens will try to peck at the ice cube to get to the treat. Mix up the frozen treats every few days to keep your chickens entertained.
There are many ways to keep your chickens entertained and prevent them from being bored. Bored chickens can develop bad habits that are hard to break. Start using some of these boredom busters to keep your chickens happy!