Everyone gets a little bored sometimes. Chickens, too. Chickens do get bored. Yup. I mean, the same old same old day in and day out… sigh. And, believe it or not, chickens are pretty sharp little animals; they need something to occupy their minds. Otherwise, like all curious beasties, they can start finding ways to occupy themselves (which probably includes destruction of some sort). So how can you keep your feathered friends entertained and out of your enticing garden bed? Here are some neat ideas.
Food and Water Fun
All beasties love a little treat, so why not make snack time into a game?
- Rolling Treat Dispensers: You can make your own rolling treat dispenser by poking some holes into a plastic water bottle and filling it with grain. It’s pretty fun watching your hens chase after it. Or try this one!
- Wading Pool: Chickens aren’t terribly fond of splashing around in water, but a few inches in a wading pool can be enticing on those hot summer days. Toss in some lettuce for a little extra incentive.
- Bobbing for Watermelon: Cool your chickens down and keep them hydrated with a big bowl of water and chunks of watermelon. They will enjoy bobbing for these cool treats. Bored chickens? Not anymore!
- Cabbage Tetherball: Tie a string around a head of cabbage and hang it upside down from a tree limb, just high enough where your chickens have to jump to grab a nibble. Good exercise along with a tasty snack.
- Ice, Ice Veggies: Make some icy cool treats by freezing chunks of veggies in ice cube trays.
Junk or Jungle Gym?
Old equipment can create a fun jungle gym to keep your chicken from getting bored.
- Wooden Ladders or Stepladders: Simply set these up somewhere in the shade to give your chickens a nice roost to rest out of the sun.
- Dust Bath Box: Bust out another wading pool (these things are so handy) and fill ‘er up with some nice soft dirt. Chickens love rolling around in dust, it helps them get rid of nasty mites.
- Mirrors: Who knew chickens were so vain? Apparently, hens love to admire themselves in mirrors. NOT a good idea if you have a rooster, he may think there’s another Don Juan in the coop!
- Wind Chimes: Maybe you have a maestro in your flock. Hang some chimes where the hens can just reach them and see what tunes they can peck out.
- Tree Stumps or Logs: Old tree stumps or chopped up logs can provide serious entertainment. Especially if there is bark they can pry off to scout for insects.
- Disco Time: Still have those old CDs laying around? Hang some up around some trees for a cool rainbow effect that will dazzle the birds.
- Bedding Variety: Simple changing the bedding in the coop can blow a chicken’s mind. I recently ran out of pine shavings so I used straw bedding, my hens were fascinated. I had to put in about twice as much because the little feather heads kept scratching it to the side to peck at the tasty tidbits.
So, rather than wondering if chickens get bored (because now we know the answer), ask yourself what you're gonna do to keep them entertained. These are just a handful of fun ways to keep your flock amused. Chickens are smart and curious beasties, they are very trainable and personable and love to interact with people. What fun ways have you tried to keep your chickens entertained?