Chicken Toys and Other Entertainment

  1. GPS1504
    Just like us, chickens get bored and need entertainment. It is common to see people using food as a boredom buster for chickens, such as a hanging head of cabbage or some other food item that swings and takes a little bit of work to access. While food is a good stimulant to a degree, too much food can lead to obesity, which can then lead to death in chickens. This brings with it a need for us to find other ways to keep our chickens entertained so their boredom does not lead to them getting into trouble around the yard or farm.

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    One good source of entertainment that also serves health benefits is a dust bathing area. Since chickens need to dust bathe to control mites and lice, it is important to have an area of loose dirt that is accessible to them at all times. Health benefits aside, the bathing area seems to be a popular place to hang out. Chickens tend to congregate there and just 'hang out' while enjoying one another's company.

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    If you have a compost pile on your property, try giving your chickens periodic access to it. The compost heap will generate warmth that chickens will enjoy on cold days and will provide them with an interesting supply of bugs on which they can snack. Giving them access to compost periodically will also take some of the strain off of areas they normal scratch in, helping with mud and allowing vegetation to rebound.

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    Another source of entertainment that also serves a practical function is perches. A lot of animals like to get up high to get a better vantage point of the world around them and the chicken is no exception. Roosters in particular seem to enjoy an elevated post from which they can watch over their flock. Arrange some opportunities to roost in various areas where your chickens free range. Something as simple as a saw horse or downed tree can make for a great perch.

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    If your birds are of a healthy weight and obesity is not a problem, you can add interactive treat dispensers for once in a while stimulation. Simply place a favorite food item in a plastic container, such as a plastic peanut butter jar, and cut holes through which the treat can fall out. Toss this to your chickens and watch them roll it about, trying to manipulate it so the treat will fall out. If you are not good at making such things, you can purchase them instead.

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    The ability to provide fun and entertainment for your chickens does not end there. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with to keep your flock occupied. It could be something as simple as giving them newspaper to tear up or tossing a handful of crickets into the coop and watching the magic happen.

    Entertainment is an important part of chicken keeping. Some people will scoff at the thought of providing chickens with toys and the like, but these things do go a long way towards the prevention of negative behaviors such as pecking and bullying. If a little extra entertainment on your part will maintain harmony amongst your flock, there is absolutely nothing wrong with bending to the need to provide it.

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