Chicken entertainment may seem a bit crazy, but keeping your chickens entertained over the winter can actually help keep them mentally and physically healthy!

 

Exciting news: the snow has mostly melted! Bad news: As I am writing this, more snow is falling! In case you missed my earlier posts, let me just tell you that it’s been a cold, cold, snowy winter!

Luckily, my chickens are fairing very well!  A few of them have even started laying again! Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing all of my best tips for caring for chickens over the winter. These are simple things that will have a huge impact on your chicken’s health and happiness! 

Be sure to check out the other posts in the Winter Chicken Care series, too!

Today, I’m sharing some of my tips for keeping your chickens entertained during the long winter. 

We all seem to experience some cabin fever in the winter – and your chickens are no different! My chickens usually stay busy during the day, patrolling the yard for bugs and any other snacks they can find.3 Pictures of chickens eating interactive snacks, including ones hanging on a string. Text reads: Make treat time exciting and interactive for chickens

But when snow is covering the ground, or when it’s raining, they end up staying inside in their run. Contrary to popular belief, chickens (and birds in general) are very intelligent and can easily become bored during the long winter months.

Boredom can lead to destructive habits like feather plucking or picking on other birds in the flock. These are issues that I would rather avoid! And the easiest way to do that is to make sure my chickens have interesting things to do every now and then. These tips can be used year-round, but they have been particularly helpful in my flock by providing distractions during the bad winter weather when they are stuck inside the coop.

Chicken Entertainment Tip #1: Make snack time interactive

3 Pictures of chickens eating interactive snacks, including ones hanging on a string. Text reads: Make treat time exciting and interactive for chickens

Snack time is always great – and it can provide a fantastic distraction on a long winter day! I give my chickens some extra enrichments from time to time when they are stuck inside the coop due to the snow and extreme temps.

Here are a few fun ideas to make treat time interactive for your chickens!

  • Toss a small clump of alfalfa, grass, or timothy hay into the chicken coop! This entertains my chickens for hours!  They love scratching through it and eating bits of the leaves. Once they are done playing with it, the hay becomes extra bedding to keep them warm and dry.
  • String up some healthy veggies (or “chicken garland” as I call it!) to create an entertaining game.  They enjoy pecking at the veggies and trying to pluck them from the string.
  • Scatter dried mealworms and other snacks in the run. It gives the chickens an opportunity to scratch around and search for tasty treats! Just be sure to only scatter as much as they will eat, or you may end up with some unplanned rodent guests!
  • Dried ears of corn make a fun and entertaining treat! If you have a garden, grow some extra corn and dry it for your chickens. My chickens love pecking at the dried ears of corn and it keeps them entertained for quite a while!

 

Chicken Entertainment Tip #2: Add variety to the chicken coop

Picture of a chicken on a ladder and a wooden perches made from logs. Text reads: Add variety to the chicken coop & run to prevent boredom

Sitting around in the same place day after day = boring! Mix it up every once in a while! Introducing new elements to your chicken’s environment is a great way to engage their minds as they explore. And you don’t need to spend any money either – natural elements are some of the best!

Here are ideas for adding variety to your chicken run!

  • Re-arrange perches and other items in the chicken run periodically to give your chickens a change of scenery and new things to explore.
  • Add new perches, stumps and other interesting objects to the chicken run.  Your chickens will love having new things to climb on! I used some old logs to make a perch for our chickens and they have really enjoyed it.  I move it around periodically and re-arrange it to keep things interesting.
  • My friends placed an old step ladder in their chickens run and their birds have LOVED climbing on it and perching on it! 
  • Or, you can go all out and create a chicken swing!  Yes, it’s a real thing! Fresh Eggs Daily has a great tutorial to help you create a DIY swing using an old log – check it out here!

Be sure to check out the other posts in the Winter Chicken Care series, too!

 

 

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