I have 2 Roos, 14 Hens and 14 Peeps. Delawares. I think they are bored. I would be. I have put interesting things in the yard for them to perch on. Does anyone know how to make toys or if someone sells toys?
Give them several clumps of grass, soil and all, toss edible weeds in with them - chick weed, etc. - toss in fresh veggie peelings, toss in a flake of hay or straw. If you have kids, esp. boys, pay them to catch bugs to give the hens. I think, for hens, interest comes mainly from eating.
My chickens get bored easily. When we had our cattle, they would chase the young calfs around. The cattle would run away from the chickens. I guess they considered it a game. Occasionally, the cattle would get bored and chase the chickens around. So it was pretty much a tag-related game of chase. That's what they do when they were bored.
I guess you could put a satellite dish on the roof. Turn the TV on to the Cooking Channel and when Emeril comes on and goes "BAM" that ought to make them cackle. Either that or when Paula Dean goes to fixing Fried Chicken.
All joking aside, I think food, unusual objects or animals in or near thier environment can stimulate them. One thing you could try, but it might also be detremental for them psychologically, is buy a hawk screamer. It is used by some hunters to make quail and other birds hunker down in the grass and allow young dogs to catch thier scent. You ought to be able to find one at a hunting/fishing supply store or website.
Free range chickens don't get bored. So, talk to people who free-range their chickens and ask what makes those chickens happy. I think the answer is pretty simple --- freedom makes them happy, but maybe you can look at what those chickens do when they are free and try to emulate that.
I know that is probably not an answer that most people want, but when people/pets are bored, it is probably because they want to be free.
Good advice here, chickens are very food-oriented and love interesting things to eat--raw corn on the cob, live mealworms, table scraps, etc. Vary what you give them day to day to stimulate them. They instinctively want to forage and scratch to find goodies. Grab a shovel and turn over a few spadefuls of dirt for them to hunt worms in--just watch out for their toes!
With all respect, I'd avoid the Hawk Screamer thing. I think it would cause undue stress in your flock and possibly lead to unhappy birds, a drop in egg production and the birds getting indifferent to the hawk call if they hear it too often--dangerous when a real one comes along. Just my opinion, but I'd never do this to my birds. Besides this, my birds react more to a visual hawk cue (they see the little suckers circling) rather than an audible one, and set up warning cries amongst themselves.
You also need to interact with your birds every day. Mine are sitting o the back porch right now, because this is the time of day when I go out and visit with them, pick them up, pet them, hand out goodies, etc. You might also set a radio out in the yard from time to time so they can hear music and human voices as a boredom cure. The trick is to do something different every day or so, mix up your boredom cures. :)
Thanks, a lot of good ideas. We have real hawks I don't think I'll try that one. The cooking show idea was funny. I donÂt have anyone to find bugs for me. What I do is get an area of yard wet and then put a board on it. Several days later I remove the board. Ta Da bugs. Happy chicken sounds. They have plenty of room. I'll try switching what I give them each day. I spend time with my chickens too. I sit on the ground and they roost on me. I pet them and they fall asleep. Both my Roos like me to pet them. My one Roo Spot also likes me to hug him and will shove the hens out of the way so that he can be right next to me. I'll let you know how the chicken entertainment goes.
I saw in a poultry magazine from England a neat idea:
He put a head of cabbage in a net or a plant hanger, then suspended it about 18 to 24 inches (I think) in the air. The chickens had to jump and flap to get a bite. He said it would keep them busy for hours, and stopped feather picking.
It certainly sounded like it would keep ME entertained, watching the chickens jump around. Kinda like a cat and a feather toy on a string.
The piÃ±ata cabbage sounds like a wonderful and entertaining game for my chickens. If I hang the cabbage on a pole it could be a cabbage tether ball game. I happen to have a head of cabbage in the fridge.
Today I gave them several clumps of grass, soil and all. They loved the grass and dirt combo. I usually only give them the grass.
These have been very helpful suggestions. My husband posted the same question on another site and the responses were terrible. Most of them went something like, "Chickens don't play with toys and don't need to be entertained". From those responses I bet they've never had chickens. Not going back to that site. I love my chickens. I love all my animals. They give me great joy.
Chicken tether ball, sounds like a candidate for "funniest videos!"
As for the "other site" surely they have heard of feather picking and other problems in the flock that relate to canibalism in chickens? (grin) And what better way to exercise a flock to keep them healthy? Get their vitamin c and greens all at the same time.
I've been entertained watching my new "silver laced" wynandotts (they are merely black with white specks so far) suddenly explode in little Poofs like a cartoon character.
One of the neighbors had a bantum rooster, a pretty little guy who wandered over to our flock from across the pasture. After being chased around by our rooster, the cat, the horses and the dogs, you'd think he'd leave. But 3 nights ago he was in my barn rafters, clucking at me. I'm hoping he'll take to the little chicks and be a good protector for them. He's wormy, and needs some attention before he gets to play daddy.
You know, after all these years I've finally figured out where all those kids stories about animals come from, folks like us out watching the critters.
I set up the hanging cabbage and it was hilarious. At first they reminded me of the Life cereal commercial. I'm not going to try it you try it. I have one hen that is adventurous and seems to be the one that takes the risk to investigate new stuff. After she pecked it the fun started the rest of them started trying to peck it as it was swinging. Some would stand and wait for it to swing by others chased it. LOL They were entertained and so was I. Thanks for the idea.
There are lots of toys out there for caged birds - parakeets, parrots and the like. Obviously these birds are smarter than chickens, but perhaps some similar toys would be of interest to a bored chicken. There are parrot puzzles (solve the puzzle and get a treat), bells, etc.
I'm going to agree with what was related from the other forum, chickens and toys go together like oil and water. Keep it simple with the food right where they can get to it and they will be nice and happy.
Wow Vermontgal and brendan of bonsai, You two are responding to an old post from May 2007! I don't have this problem anymore.
Thanks for you imput
But we need to know...ARE THE CHICKENS HAPPY?! We've been worrying...
I raise a breed of chicken called Delaware. I now have 25 hens, 2 roos and 25 baby chicks. My chickens are happy! They are very spoiled. One of the things I found that they really enjoy are grapes. They peck at the grape it rolls and they run after it. Ok I enjoy watching too. The other thing I do is I get part of the ground wet and then cover it with a board. A day or two later I take the board off and they have a wonderful time with the bugs under the board. They also like to play in the mud.
This past winter I provided them a pregnant goat to roost on to keep warm:
I love my chickens
Great pics, Delawares are beautiful! :)