Do you keep chickens just for the pleasure of having chickens? If so, you’re not alone. Many chicken owners keep chickens for the fun of it. Fresh eggs are nice, but just owning chickens is enough reason itself. There are many ways that you can show your chickens that you enjoy them. We’ve put together a list of ways that you can show your chickens some love.
Feed your chickens treats.
One of the best ways to show your chickens love is to feed them yummy treats. Chickens are especially fond of mealworms. Chickens crave the protein that is found in mealworms. Although it seems gross to us, mealworms are a delicious treat for your chickens. To make it even more fun for your chickens, toss a couple of handfuls of the mealworms into a pile of freshly cut grass or a pile of straw. Your chickens will enjoy digging through the pile and searching for mealworms.
You can also give your chickens messy treats that they wouldn’t usually get. Yogurt is a great treat for chickens that can introduce healthy bacteria into their digestive tract. On a hot day, provide a small bowl of cool yogurt for a refreshing treat. On a cold day, a warm bowl of cooked oatmeal will help warm your flock up. Stand back and watch your chickens slurp up all of the delicious treat!
Make chicken ‘toys’.
Chickens don’t play the same way other animals do, but you can give them fun things to play with if you incorporate food. A great way to provide your chickens with hours of entertainment is to make them a hanging treat. Take a head of broccoli or cabbage and tie string around it. Hang it inside of the run so that it hangs down at eye level with your chickens. They’ll peck at it and eat it slowly until it’s all gone.
You can also take scratch grains, whole kernel corn, seeds or berries and make ice treats in the summer. Place a mix of the berries, seeds or grains into an ice cube tray, filling each hole about ½ of the way full with treats. Fill it the rest of the way with water and freeze. Your chickens will enjoy pecking through the ice to get to the treats inside.
In the winter, use the same idea to make suet cakes. Mix berries, seeds or grains with a fat like lard or coconut oil and pour into a loaf pan. Once the fat cools and sets up, you can slice it into suet cakes.
Plant herbs for them.
Chickens love herbs. They enjoy herbs in their feed and dust bath. Herbs in the coop can have a calming effect on laying hens. Chickens will readily eat herbs if they’re available. Make it a habit to give your chickens herbs frequently. Toss dried lavender, rosemary and lemongrass into their dust bath and nesting boxes. Hang fresh lavender in the coop to help with odor and create a calming atmosphere.
Plant herbs around the perimeter of your coop’s run. Plant the herbs outside of the coop. Place the plants just close enough to the coop that your chickens can reach them, but they can’t consume the entire plant. Herbs around the coop will give your chickens access to fresh herbs. Herbs have a medicinal value that chickens can benefit from.
Spend time with your chickens.
Chickens may not seem like a lovey-dovey animal at first glance, but they can actually be quite affectionate. Handling your chickens occasionally is a great way to not only show them some love, but to get them used to being handled. This comes in handy when you have a chicken that needs special care or medications. When you handle your chickens, hold them gently but firmly and talk soothingly to them. A relaxed chicken will close its eyes and appear to fall asleep. Chickens also respond well if you stroke them from the back of the neck down to the tail.
If you’re not a fan of handling your chickens, you can still spend time with them. Take a five gallon bucket out to the coop and flip it upside down and have a seat with your flock. Chickens are very social animals and will enjoy the time you spend with them.