How to make your chickens feel at home
Your chickens will soon become bored and unhappy if you don’t give them activities and toys to enjoy. They need mental and physical stimulation and to be allowed to practice natural behaviours. Here are some ideas on what you can do:
- Keep your chickens in social groups. They love the company of other hens and a cockerel, making them feel happy and safe
- Provide perches and nest boxes in their run or free-range area as well as their coop – hens lay eggs throughout the day and will often perch to sleep in the sunshine
- Dust or soil baths are a natural way for your chickens to clean themselves – simply fill a cat litter tray with organic compost, soil or mud. If you have a large number of chickens, make sure you provide several trays as they may fight over them. You can also add mite and lice treatment to your chickens’ dust bath
- Hanging treats, such as cabbages, carrots or corn on the cob, are great stimulation for your chickens – and also very tasty
- Large logs or tree stumps provide a great perch, something to climb over and a great habitat for tasty bugs. Your chickens will spend their time scratching and pecking at the wood until they reach their reward
- Secured bookcases or shelves of varying levels will intrigue your chickens, and many of them like to fly up and sit high up in their area. Exercise will help to build up the strength of any ex-caged hens.
Caring for activities and toys
- Vary the position, amount and different activities you use to keep them exciting and stimulating for your chickens.
- Remember to clean and disinfect anything your chickens use once a week to reduce any mess building up.
- Remember to provide enough so that all your chickens will have the chance to enjoy a variety of activities, which will reduce the risk of arguments.