Did you know chickens get bored too?
This might come as a surprise to many people, considering how chickens are self-sufficient. Provide them with food, water, and a safe environment, and they’re happy.
However, all is well until something comes around and limits their ability to indulge in natural practices like foraging, dust bathing, and socializing.
For instance, predators, bad weather, and diseases often force chicken owners to “coop up” their fluffy friends. But chickens don’t like being caged because they can become bored.
Trust us, bored chickens are not fun to have around! They are usually mischievous and get into trouble. Even worse? The birds can exhibit unusual behaviors like feather pecking, aggressive tendencies, and egg-eating.
Fortunately, chicken toys can help keep them entertained and reduce these issues. This guide highlights 20 exciting, boredom busters for chickens. And the best part? You can make them at home.
Top DIY Chicken Toys to Keep Your Flock Happy
1. Chicken Swing
During your younger days, you likely competed with your friends to claim a spot on the swing set, didn’t you? Even today, the sight of swings in the playground still gives you a nostalgic feeling, reminding you of your fond memories.
Chickens love swings too. So, why not make them swing perches? It’s simple. Find a wide, sturdy tree branch to use as the perch. Ensure you trim any part on the branch that could hurt your chicken. Alternatively, you could use a flat board.
Drill holes at the two ends of the tree branch or flat board and put a knotted rope through them. Finally, hang the swing low to the ground. As your birds get used to the low swing, gradually increase its height for a more exhilarating experience.
Learn more about making a DIY chicken swing through this YouTube clip:
2. Hanging Basket
Another clever way to keep your birds stimulated is to introduce a hanging plant basket in their coop. In the basket, you can toss in some leafy vegetables, apple slices, and weeds to keep the chickens occupied.
So, if you have an extra wire or plastic basket lying around, hang it at the right height in the chicken’s shade or run using a string or lightweight chain.
3. Snack Boxes/ Grazing Boxes
Essentially, chicken grazing boxes are innovative planters designed to provide chickens with nutrient-rich plants and an interactive feeding experience.
And the best part? Building a snack box for your girls won’t cost you a lot of money. You simply need to invest in a few materials, like wood, hardware cloth (chicken wire), and staples (or finishing nails).
Inside the boxes, you can plant a variety of grains, herbs, and healthy greens. As time passes, the sprouts will grow taller than the cloth, allowing the chickens to eat fresh and delicious greens.
In a way, the grazing boxes allow your birds to exercise their natural pecking and graving behaviors. Also, they provide stimulation and amusement, reducing unnecessary stress in your flock.
4. Mirrors, Mirrors, Mirrors
We bet there are certain things your chickens do that you find strange, yet amusing. For example, chickens love reflective objects like mirrors.
While they can’t recognize their reflection, they find their bodies and movements in the mirror super entertaining. Sometimes, the chicken might think there’s another bird on the other side of the reflective surface and try to fight it.
So, place a mirror near or inside your chicken coop to keep your girls entertained. You don’t need to buy a big mirror, even a small hand-held mirror can do wonders. However, secure the mirror at their eye level, especially if you have bantams.
You don’t have a traditional glass mirror? No problem!
Find broken or scratched CDs and hang them anywhere your chickens can reach them. Some poultry farmers also say you can attach broken mirror pieces to a softball.
5. Think of A Playground
Think of chickens as kids who never get tired of playing. And what better way to keep them active and entertained than a playground?
In the image above, the poultry farmer combines several elements that make an excellent playground. He (or she) also included a snack box so the birds can get their dose of healthy greens while enjoying themselves.
6. Cooling Corn for Summer
The hot summer weather can be unforgiving for many domestic fowl, including chickens. Remember, these birds have no sweat glands. So, the only way they can lose the excess body heat is to raise their wings. And this requires lots of energy. Eventually, the birds will become exhausted and stressed.
Besides, heat stress can reduce your girls’ appetite and egg production.
Sure! Fresh drinking water and dust baths can keep them cool, but you can make things interesting using corn cubes. Your chickens will love pecking away at the ice block to access the corn kernel.
7. Simple, Innovative Chicken Feeder
This feeder might look complicated, but it’s super easy to make. If you have a bucket and some PVC pipes, you can make this nice feeder with your kids.
In this image above, the farmer used a 5-gallon bucket, but you can use a smaller bucket if you have only a few chickens.
It’s a fact hens and roosters love sticking their heads in places they don’t belong. So yes, your birds might find the opening on the buckets interesting. When the birds stick their heads in, they will get rewarded with some nutritious feed.
Here’s another bucket feeder that can hold about 25 pounds of chicken feed. And the best part? You can build it within 30 minutes.
8. Upcycle A Plastic Bottle
If your birds seem bored, raise their spirits with this simple boredom buster. Chances are, you have lots of empty bottles lying around your house.
Take a transparent plastic bottle and then drill holes all over it (and for God’s sake, don’t stab the bottle or slice off your fingers).
It helps to wash the bottle to avoid contamination of food. Also, ensure the holes are large enough for your feathery friends to peck through them.
Fill the bottle with some grains or treats and screw on the cap. You can hang the bottle in the coop or place it on the ground. Either way, your birds will enjoy pecking out the treats.
9. Homemade Flock Blocks
Another great way to keep your winged, two-legged companions engaged and amused is to hang flock blocks inside their coop and run.
Now, we know what you’re thinking– “What the hell is a flock block?”
It’s a tasty, chunky block packed with all sorts of treats chickens love. A flock block usually costs anywhere from $10 to $30 or more.
But the good news is you can make flock blocks at home. What you need are some simple ingredients, like seeds (oats, corn, or barley), herbs, and some grit to help with digestion. Mix them up with a binding agent, and voila–you have a tasty flock block.
This video by Chickenlandia will guide you into making this tasty treat for your pet chicken and ducks.
10. Think of A Pond
Chickens might not love water like ducks, but this doesn’t mean they cannot enjoy having a pond. At first, the pond might not catch their interest. But eventually, their curiosity will drive them to explore it.
The pond can also serve as a source of water for your birds. It also helps to add some plants like this farmer.
11. A Place to Roost
Chickens can never have enough roosting perches. This makes lots of sense, considering they find peace and comfort roosting on raised platforms.
So, if you add several elevated perches to your chicken’s coop, you can reduce stress, anxiety, and boredom among your chatty friends.
Even better? You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Simply, find suitable materials for the raised perche, like sturdy wooden dowels or tree branches. You might also need a saw, drill, and screws to securely fasten the perches.
Now comes the interesting part! You can adopt any layout for the perches, be it a tiered setup (like a ladder). Or you can place the bar in a single horizontal line–the choice is yours.
Look at how this farmer converted an old wood branch into a roosting perch for his girls.
12. DIY Seed Roll Treats
There’s nothing that can delight your birds than tasty and nutritious treats. But you can take things a notch higher by being creative with your presentation.
In this image, the individual applied peanut butter to a cardboard tube (from an empty toilet paper roll) to hold a variety of seeds, nuts, and other treats.
The threat or yarn will help you hang the treats in a suitable location in the coop.
13. Veggie Pinata
This is one of the simplest toys you can make. All you have to do is hang a variety of veggies in multiple places around your chicken yard and let your chickens have a go at them.
What’s great about this is that once they get bored with one vegetable, they can move on to another tasty and nutrient-filled piece.
Similarly, you can place different types of vegetables on a single string like this farmer.
14. Chicken See-Saw
It might seem farfetched, but yes, chickens enjoy playing on see-saws. Chicken loves roosting and perching on raised areas. A see-saw provides that and more.
Take a long rectangular block of wood, set a pivot in the middle, and arrange small ladders at each end. The ladders allow it to support multiple chickens at once.
You might have to help your chickens try out and learn their new game, but after a while, you’ll find them playing with the see-saw and having a blast.
Look at these chickens enjoy their see-saw:
15. DIY Corn Holder
Do you want to treat your chickens to some sweet, fresh corn? This simple DIY project is for you.
It involves joining three planks of wood together and running a metal rod or wire (with cobs) between them, as in the picture above.
Your girls will love the taste of the corn kernels and have fun while trying to get them off the comb. But don’t limit yourself to corn cobs alone. You can use this homemade chicken toy to hold vegetables and fruits too.
16. Chicken Tunnel (Chunnel)
Aside from protecting the flock from predators, a chicken tunnel is also a boredom buster, especially for chicks.
Whether attached to the coop or not, it provides your birds with enough room to roam around and exercise. It’s also a great way for them to satisfy their instincts to explore their surroundings and get sunlight and fresh air.
You could build your chunnel using readily available materials like chicken wire, PVC, and wood. If you have an old children’s play tunnel, use it too.
17. Introduce Straw Bales
Yes! It makes no sense that straw bales can help reduce boredom and stress among your flock, but let us explain.
A bale of fresh straw (held together with twine) can provide your girls with the needed stimulation. Not only will they fancy jumping on it, but you will also see them scratching around. Some will even peck through to find hiding insects.
If you have a spacious chicken coop or run, it doesn’t hurt to throw in one or two straw bales. Just ensure your birds don’t eat the straws as it might cause crop impaction.
Also Read: DIY Chicken Diapers
Chickens are active and playful creatures. So, without the occasional mental and physical stimulation, they can fall victim to boredom.
When that happens, your birds can begin displaying boredom-related problems, such as egg eating, aggression, and feather pecking.
But chicken toys can help prevent these issues because they provide the needed stimulation and entertainment. Not to mention the physical health and fitness benefits they will enjoy.
On top of that, chicken toys enhance your flock’s social skills and relationships.
What are you waiting for? Try out these inexpensive and interactive DIY toys to bring your birds much joy!