The right toys can keep your chickens entertained and happy

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Chickens like to have fun, too. Make sure they have plenty of enrichment and entertainment by providing them with toys and interaction. If you don’t know where to start, spend some time watching them to see where natural curiosity leads your flock. Here are some suggestions for chicken-friendly toys for your feathered friends.

Dust baths
Like many birds, chickens love to cover themselves with sand and dirt. Provide them with a safe place where they can bathe to their hearts’ content. Adding a bit of wood ash or diatomaceous earth can help keep mites and other pests at bay.

Edible treats
Whether you choose to buy interactive treat dispensing toys or make your own, your chickens are sure to appreciate the games and extra food.
Dog or cat puzzles that dispense food could provide hours of entertainment for your chickens. Look for toys that will stand up to the rigors of your coop and a flock of hungry birds.
Try hanging a head of lettuce or cabbage on a bungee cord so chickens can play as they peck and dodge the suspended food.
Punch some holes in an old plastic jar and fill it with seeds or cracked corn. Make sure the holes are small enough so the chickens will have to work to get the treats out.

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Perches and climbing toys
Chickens like to feel on top of things and will climb on perches or other structures if you provide them. Old wooden sawhorses, discarded lumber, or fallen tree limbs can all be put to use for this. If a new pen is in your future, consider placing it around a living tree that can provide both perches and protection for the flock.

Compost piles
Chickens will enjoy the enrichment and extra food they can find in a compost pile. Start your pile with grass clippings, leaves, and kitchen scraps. The chickens will keep it turned as they scratch and forage for bugs and other yummy treats, so it will decompose faster.

Shiny and reflective toys
Safety mirrors or suspended CDs let chickens admire their reflection, not to mention chase the rainbows they produce on coop walls.

Social interaction
You are probably already providing them with plenty of social interaction to stimulate their curiosity without even realizing it. The time you take to clean out their coop, toss in new bedding, and feed your chickens is socially rewarding for them. It’s even better if you let them out to scratch in the garden or pick through table scraps.

Safety first
Chickens don’t need anything fancy to keep themselves entertained. No matter what types of toys you decide on to provide enrichment and fun for your flock, make sure they are safe for birds to play with. Get creative and encourage your chickens to explore the world around them. Chances are you will get just as much entertainment from watching them as they do from playing.

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