Chicken Enrichments Ideas To Make Your Pet Chickens Happy
Imagine spending your life confined to a single room, never changing your furniture, and always seeing the same view. Looks pretty dreadful, right? You’d probably become bored living this way sooner rather than later, and you might even go cuckoo.
The same is true of chickens, who are highly intelligent animals that need chicken enrichment toys to stay healthy and happy. Offering fun things for chickens to do can help your flocks coexist peacefully and it also prevents negative behaviors like boredom, anxiety, and depression.
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Looking for the best chicken enrichment ideas? You are in the right place! Keep on reading to find out how to prevent your chickens from becoming cooped up!
Do Chickens Need A Lot To Be Happy & Entertained?
Chickens don’t need much to be happy and entertained! Whether you knew it or not, you are probably already providing some sort of chicken coop enrichment to your flock.
Any activity that encourages natural chicken behaviors can be considered a form of enrichment and any object that stimulates that activity can be considered a toy.
Chickens that aren’t provided with adequate enrichment for chickens are more likely to become bored. They will also exhibit problem behaviors like bullying, feather plucking, egg-eating, and in extreme cases, cannibalism.
The arrival of cold winter months brings fewer foraging opportunities for chickens and also calls for close quarters. This is the time when chicken enrichment toys become more necessary than usual to prevent boredom. Below you will find amazing chicken enrichment ideas that will keep your flock happy and entertained all year long!
Chicken Enrichment Ideas
There are lots of different types of enrichment for chickens, such as visual, mental, auditory, environmental, food-based, and many more. We will focus on chicken yard ideas that can be easily carried out to enrich the environment of an average flock.
Environmental Enrichments For Hen Coops
Many people don’t know that coop décor can double as environmental enrichment for chickens. There are many different ways you can spruce up your chicken’s accommodation to make it more hospitable and enjoyable for your flock.
When it comes to chicken coop ideas, here are several you’ll want to try:
Chicken Perches & Platforms
Are a necessary addition to any chicken coop, and something you’ll want to place inside the coop sooner rather than later. All chickens need a perch for roosting but they can also use it for resting and playing throughout the day. While you can get a premade perch you can also make one yourself, using wood planks.
While a swing may seem like something that has no place in a coop, it is, in fact, a great toy for a chicken coop. Most chicken swings can be made using a piece of wood and a rope. However, if you don’t have time to build one yourself, this ladder-style chicken swing can be a great choice.
As its name suggests, a dig box is a box, bucket, or any other enclosed space full of dirt. Adding a dig box inside the coop ensures that your flock has a place to dig and forage and also use it for dust baths. To make the dig box more entertaining for your chickens, mix treats in it to encourage foraging.
Nesting pads for chickens is another excellent way to add to their environment and coop. Wood shavings on the surface of these chicken pads can be easily modified by hens, making them both a practical addition to their home that keeps their floors dry and eggs safe, but also an engaging play surface.
Cave cat beds and cat houses can serve as cozy nesting places and hideouts for pet chickens. However, cat houses can make great chicken coop toys for outdoor chickens, as long as you keep them clean and in good shape.
Food-Based Enrichments For Chickens
If you owned chickens before, you know how much they value food. That’s why you shouldn’t have any issues including food-based enrichments to their regular feeding schedule.
Besides keeping their stomachs full, puzzle-based food enrichments will also mentally stimulate your chickens and keep them entertained. Using food-based enrichments is one of the easiest ways to get your flock to interact with the enrichments you provide for them.
Below are some easy ways you can provide food-based enrichment to your hens!
Hanging Food Skewer
Using a food skewer for chickens is another great way to keep your flock entertained while feeding them healthy foods at the same time. Skewer fresh produce and hang it in the coop so your hens can pick whatever fruits or veggies they want to eat.
Treat Ball Toy For Chickens
While this treat ball is designed for dogs, it works for chickens too and you can use it combined with other chicken enrichment toys. For this toy to work you’ll need to fill it with a treat, like chicken scratch. Your chickens will then need to roll the ball around for the treats to fall out.
Puzzle Toys For Garden Birds
This puzzle toy is also designed for dogs, but it works great for chickens too. To get tasty treats, chickens need to push one of the four squares. As soon as they do that a treat comes out from the treat compartments, rewarding their efforts and keeping them mentally stimulated.
Chick-N-Veggie Treat Ball
This toy is specially designed for small animals., including chickens. Chick-N-Veggie Treat Ball features a small ball that can be attached to the side of the coop. The fact that this ball can hang loosely means that it will wobble around, making it more interesting for chickens.
Auditory Enrichments For Birds
Research has found that chickens respond to music from a young age. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise considering that chickens have a huge vocal repertoire.
If you are looking for unique chicken coop ideas, you are in the right place! Let’s see how you can provide auditory enrichments to your chickens!
- Music: Studies have shown that classical music has a positive effect on chickens when played from a young age. It’s found that listening to music changes neural connectivity in chickens leading to an increase in cognitive function. You can play music to your chickens when they are outside in their coop. Just make sure that the music isn’t too loud to frighten your hens.
- Xylophone: A small xylophone is a great enrichment toy for chickens and can serve as an endless source of entertainment. It is specially designed for chickens to peck on it to produce bright sounds and new melodies. This chicken toy for chickens provides both auditory and visual enrichment since its bright colors make it attractive to chickens.
Bells: Hanging a variety of differently colored and shaped chicken toys with bells around the coop will encourage your chickens to investigate. These chicken toys for boredom are also safe for pecking, and your hens will be able to play with them too.
Conclusion: Best Chicken Coop Enriching Toys
When looking for cool chicken enrichment ideas ask yourself what types of natural behaviors you want to encourage. Do you want to encourage foraging, or maybe your chickens need to peck more? Whatever the case, there is an array of backyard chicken toys you can use to encourage these natural chicken behaviors.
Novelty and variety are important aspects of enrichment for chickens. Instead of filling your chicken coop with all different toys at the same time, include them one by one. Better yet, switch up the times and days you offer toys and food-based treats to your flock.
Chickens get tired of the same routine quickly, so mix things up and offer various environmental enrichments and different times to keep things interesting.
Chicken Enrichments Ideas, Toys & Furniture
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