Flock boredom can be an occasional problem in any flock. Do your chickens sit around for most of the day, not amused by each other or the things in their coop?
Keeping your flock entertained is good for their health, and the quality of their eggs. These methods of entertaining your flock are both very simple and inexpensive (if not free), so why not? Your chickens will surely thank you!
1.) Encourage foraging with food scraps.
When your chickens are confined to a run, food scraps are a free and simple way you can give your flock some entertainment. By saving fruit, vegetable, bread, noodle, and grain scraps you can bring the health of your flock up substantially, mentally and nutritionally.
Toxic foods to avoid giving your flock are dairy products, avocados, and potato skins, because they are either difficult to digest or even poisonous! Limit consumption of bread, citrus, and pasta, because they are low in protein and have little nutritional value. Be sure to also avoid giving them things like garlic, onions, and asparagus, which can affect the flavoring of your eggs.
Try tying pieces of bread and vegetables to a piece of string and watch the chickens try to get it off, a great way to entertain them for a little longer than just throwing it onto the ground.
2.) Add perches to the coop and run to beat flock boredom.
Chickens love places to perch, both in and outside the coop. We all know chickens sleep on roosts in their coop, but perches in the run can also reduce flock boredom. Roosts can be made out of anything from tree branches to a plank of wood left over from DIY projects.
We have two old pieces of wood nailed to the fence in our run and our chickens are perching on and jumping off them all the time! They use them so much, I am most likely going to add some more soon. Be sure that the perch you make is sturdy enough to hold a couple of your chickens safely, so they don't get hurt when playing on it.
3.) Combat flock boredom by offering them a toys.
My Pet Chicken offers fun chicken toys including:
1. Hanging Chicken Treat Ball -- Add This veggie treat ball is great for chickens, ducks, and geese. You can stuff this hanging toy with cabbage, lettuce and other veggie treats your flock might enjoy. Or you can remove the chain and let the flock use it as a rolling treat ball.
2. Peck and Play Ball --You can stuff this rolling toy with chopped cabbage or other treats your chickens enjoy, and they'll really have to work to get the goods!
Or you can even make your own easy DIY chicken toys, as well. Simply string up a cabbage head so you flock will be distracted from the new bird!
4.) Add something new to your coop or run to beat flock boredom.
Chickens are naturally curious creatures, and are always interested in new things in their coops. Whether it be a hay bale, a log, a pumpkin, or an overturned bucket, they will be interested in it. They will spend lots of time pecking it, jumping on top of it, and even pooping on it.
Want to make it even more interesting? Put scraps or treats on top of it and watch them try to get it off! If they seem to show little interest in the objects you put there, or they lose interest, try adding something else.
5.) Provide a dust bath area.
Chickens have a natural inclination for dust bathing, and this behavior offers numerous advantages. By engaging in dust bathing, chickens effectively maintain the cleanliness of their feathers by eliminating surplus feather oil. Additionally, dust bathing serves as a method to rid chickens of external parasites.
Other than the practical benefits of offering a dust bath area to your flock, it offers socialization time to your flock. Consider it chicken chat time at the spa!
Remember, having a happy and entertained flock will help distract your birds and help redirect any aggressive behavior!
I hope you'll try out some of these ways to entertain your flock, and I also challenge you to invent some of your own ways to alleviate flock boredom. Chickens are easily amused, so it shouldn't be too hard of a challenge.