5 DIY Boredom Busters for Chickens (That Won't Cost a Penny) + Broodie again? - Treats for Chickens

5 DIY Boredom Busters for Chickens (That Won't Cost a Penny) + Broodie again? - Treats for Chickens

Hi Treats for Chickens' community, it's me, Dawn!


Boredom. Lets face it, we all suffer from boredom here and there. And so does, our beloved backyard chickens. Flock boredom can actually cause problems if not taken care of appropriately. The most common “symptoms” of a bored chicken can include feather plucking (both their own and others), increased bullying of others (not to be confused by normal pecking order activities), a reduction in egg laying, and just plain-old coop boredom. Which makes for miserable, broodie and naughty pet chickens 

{ps: see those three little white feathered bitties in the photo above? They recently spent D.A.Y.S. holed up in nesting boxes.....not anymore.  Read on to learn how I did it.}

foghorn naughty chicken boredom buster

There are several ways to avoid this that can be fun for both you and your feathered friends! My suggestions are to create a space that's comfortable and boredom free.  Ahnnd, I bet you can do most of this on the fly for FREE.

First boredom buster is....

Logs. No doubt, if you have a wood stove, you have logs of wood to burn. Sneak a few from the wood pile and bring them into the coop and run. No firewood logs just laying around: ask a friend - you'll be surprised what people have piled up in their yards happily willing to donate to your chicken keeping adventures.

Lay them flat or stand them on one end. More hours of entertainment here and it keeps your backyard chickens from sitting around on the ground.

americana chicken standing on log boredom buster

Tree branches. Tree branches might be covered in snow or drenched in rain or better yet one snapped off in the most recent storm. Drag that branch into the run to add an additional roosting space during the day. 

Chickens leaves branches boredom buster

It'll provide hours of new interest and minimize bullying and boredom. 

Straw. Throw a flake of straw or alfalfa in the coop/run. They'll spend hours tearing it up and flinging it here and there. And, the straw acts as insulation when used inside the chicken coop.

chickens secondary boredom buster straw

You will likely find a few of your pet chickens laying in it later, comfy and relaxed. Or, in Stockton's case: filthy dirty from truly enjoying herself.  She's the little white one here :)

Note: So far I have not, knock on wood, had an issue with impacted crops from chickens eating the straw. It can happen so use your best judgment here. 

Pro Tip: a day or two after I give my backyard chickens flakes of straw or alfalfa I toss a handful of treats, Oyster Shell, and Cluck'n Sea Kelp (really like 2 or 3) on top of the straw or alfalfa flake(s). This extends the excitement for the straw and gives your urban chickens the welcome chore of scratching around trying to find the goodies as well as renewed pleasure of digging around in the straw for healthy stuff!! 

Chicken ToysBelieve it or not chickens LOVE toys. From simply tying a ball on a string, to hanging baskets for greens in the coop! These inexpensive items can be used year around and provide for hours of entertainment, keeps your flock focused on tasks and removes impending doom and boredom that turns into bullying, picking and injuries. 

And, you can make these yourself. 

Chicken Toy: upcycle a clean plastic bottle. 

diy chicken toy cluck yea eggs

Carefully poke holes all over the plastic bottle (and for heavens sakes don't cut, stab, poke or slice your hands and fingers).

diy treat roller boredom buster

Fill ½ way with treats, seeds or grains or delicious certified organic chicken treat, Cluck Yea from Treats for Chickens ;).

diy treat roller cluck yea

Screw on cap and share with your backyard chickens. 

chickens using cluck yea treat roller diy

Hanging Baskets: do you have an extra wire basket laying around? Think about it for a minute, two or 10. (thinking, thinking, thinking).

You probably have one.  An egg basket maybe?

diy hanging treat basket chickens

Depending on the breeds in your flock – hang at the right height in your coop/run (with straw bale twine, string or sturdy lightweight chain) so all chickens can reach. 

hanging basket in coop diy chickens

Add greens, cabbage, apple slices, etc. 

Mirror. It doesn't have to be huge but if you have a mirror laying around you can prop it up in the coop and run. Even a small hand-held mirror will work great. 

chickens in mirror raybobobob on reddit

Photo Credit: Pixabay a_roesler

Affix it securely at their eye level (remember your bantams are shorter) and while they will probably ignore it at first - you'll catch them carrying on with their reflection at a later date.

Pro Tip: acrylic mirrors are your best bet and the safest option if possible or old scratched CDs. It'll really suck if a traditional glass mirror breaks and you end up with a zillion shards of broken glass in the run, right? Just sayin.

Broodie Hens: it happens to the best of us. Our sweet little hens get the hormonal crazies and nest up, go on food protest, poop in nesting boxes, steal eggs, don't drink water and make a mess of themselves and their feathers.

WTF, right?

Please don't do a broodie breaker.  

Actually, what WILL work are all the things that I mentioned above. 

In particular: clean out the nesting boxes and do a whole clean up. 

Change bedding material from straw to shavings or vice versa.

If you can: remove or make one or two of the nesting boxes inaccessible. Especially the one she has taken shelter in.  There's something about changing the normal day-to-day patterns of chickens that gets everyone back on track.

Next up: straw or alfalfa. {No hay.}  Get a bale or get individual flakes from the feed store.

Toss it around the coop and run. This will provide hours of distraction, entertainment and snacking while they scratch around and grab up all the morsels of straw grains and dirt matter. 

Here's your list:

1.) Change up the nesting environment.

2.) Restrict a few nesting boxes for laying. It's temporary but totally needed right now..

3.) Included distractions like logs, a mirror, a hanging treat basket, made a treat roller, added branches like a jungle gym and tossed out straw or alfalfa. {not all but at least one or two will do the trick}.

Okay, that's it.

These are my go-to tricky-tricks to keep my flock busy and my broodies non-broodie when the weather sucks and when it's good too. Try one boredom buster. Try them all. Your flock will thank you for it and in the end you will thank yourself when your pet chickens are enjoying every second of their lives on Earth.


- Dawn, Treats for Chickens 🧡


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Can we kelp you? For more information about domestic fowls, visit Treats For Chickens blog, cluck HERE.
Hungry for more feathered friend wellness? Of course you do, because your flock deserves eggs (cellent) treat (ment). For fabulous and healthy fun, Treats for Chickens recommends our bundle: Double Boredom Bundle.
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Got something to cluck about? Have other suggestions? Questions?
Help fellow chicken parents and leave a comment below!

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  • Found this very interesting and will definitely try as many as I can. Thank you for helping to keep feathered ladies happy.

    Jess McDerment on
  • We always used hay to bed our chickens on when we had them before but what would you suggest is best for the ones we have just hatched. Currently in the brooder but I am thinking about when they eventually go out.

    Nicki on
  • This is helpful

    Hannah on
  • Sarah – what a bunch of little stinkers those squirrels are. I wish I had a recommendation but I’m no squirrel expert and they’ve been stealing my father in laws walnuts for years. Sorry love, I wish I had the solution!!

    Dawn Russell on
  • I’ve tried the chicken toys, including purchasing the yellow chicken toy which was chewed up by squirrels. Do you have any suggestions that perhaps the squirrels can’t get into but chickens can enjoy? I’m a bit stumped so far.

    Sarah on

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