Guess what! You don’t have to spend much to prevent chicken boredom. You can even get the kids involved in making the chicken run fun and interesting. Set aside some parent/child time to plan how you can make the run more fun. Here are our top suggestions as to How to prevent chickens from getting bored
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Allow to free range where possible
The top boredom buster is to allow your hens to range freely. Allowing them to explore your yard, or alternatively giving them a chicken run to safely traverse. Outside of preventing boredom, free-ranging lets your chickens roam and improve their fitness.
Additionally, if you can safely free range you will see the natural curiosity of your chickens come alive.
If free-ranging is not an option because of predators or the weather, consider building them a chicken run.
Add some fun things for them:
Chickens love to explore. And you’d be surprised at what you can add to the yard or chicken run which will take the boredom out of the day. Here are a few of our top tips for playthings which are cost effective ways to stop chicken boredom.
Add fun play things for your chickens
- A small step ladder
- An upside-down bucket
- Hang an apple with some string so they can peck at it.
- Hang a timber swing for them to fly up and perch on. A plastic swing is not ideal as they can’t grip it.
- A ball on the ground – wait till they work out it moves
- Suspend some branches horizontally that they can have fun navigating. Various levels of the branches will also help slow the chickens down if they are chasing each other.
Chickens love plants
Remember when you were a kid and loved playing hide and seek. Chickens love to hide. The addition of an old pallet standing on its side is great fun. They can go under it or climb up it. Another way of How to prevent chickens from getting bored is to plant chicken friendly plants.
Throw in some chicken friendly plants and shrubs and you’ve created the best day out for your chickens. Lots of places to explore and hide. Some of these plants can also help ward off diseases and repel insects.
Try Mexican bush sage or pineapple sage, thyme, lavender, lemongrass, white clove, rosemary, and mulberry trees. Other popular choices are nasturtium, fennel, kale, and mustard.
Some will survive better than others in a chicken run. The ones above in bold are very hardy for a chicken run.
Another benefit of plants is the added advantage of lots of shady spots for your hens if it gets hot in the day for them.
Add a dust bath
Have you noticed your hens love to coat their feathers in dirt and dust? While your first reaction is why are they dirtying themselves, they are in fact cleaning. In fact, dusting themselves removes excessive oils and also helps lessen the attraction for mites and lice.
Chickens love you near them
Once your chickens get to know you, they will love to hear your voice. Go and spend time with the chooks. Take with you some dried or rehydrated mealworms and watch them strike up a conversation.
If you are putting things on the ground, make sure there is plenty of open air under the items. For example if you are putting a pallet in the run, stand it on its side vertically on an angle. Do not lay it flat. Flat things laying on the ground are an invitation for snakes.
We hope our Dine A Chook article on “How to prevent chickens from getting bored” interesting and insightful.
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