Busy Hens are Happy Hens
Updated Friday 20th May 2022 (originally published May 2, 2018)
Fun Ideas to Keep Your Hens Hentertained! 😊🐔
A chicken that is not provided with adequate physical and mental stimulation will be more inclined to have health and behavioral problems. Do not give your hens the opportunity to start bad habits that can lead to cannibalism, feather pecking or pulling, bullying and egg eating. Chickens who are not given access to mental stimulation ( particularly during the winter months, when foraging activities are perhaps limited) will feel “cooped up” and stressed.
Discover 12 egg-citing ways to keep your feathered girls occupied, happy and healthy.
#1 Hanging Greens
Hanging greens from the roof of the chicken run is an good way to help a hen pass the day and also keeps the leaves clean and prevents them from being trampled into the dirt. Things like cabbage, silverbeet, kale and especially broccoli tied up in a run or popped in the Omlet Caddi Chicken Treat Holder are very popular and should keep them entertained for most of the day as they peck away at them.
"I have tried cabbage leaves, broccoli and spinach so far, all have been a big hit and have kept the hens entertained for hours. As soon as they see me coming down the garden to fill the Caddi they start jumping for joy!"Caddi Treat Holder
#2 Insect Surprise!
If you love spoiling hens then offer them some dried bugs! Topflite's Insect Medley is a protein-rich treat that is also loaded with calcium. Your hens will go mad for the dried grasshoppers, dried crickets and dried mealworms. Protein is good for your hens and will help them keep in good condition, assist with new feather growth when moulting and improve egg production Go on spoil them! Chickens are definitely not vegetarian and will love this treat!
Looking for bugs keeps them busy!Insect Medley
#3 Mealworm Munchies
Delicious morsel sized treats available in a 125ml and a large 500ml size pack.
"Mealworms - Schmackos for Chickens! Buying these in bulk saves and mixed in small proportions with their ‘healthy food’ goes a long way. Relieve those ‘lockdown-blues’ for your cooped friends with a taste of heaven from down under. Highly recommended…."Mealworms
A gourmet treat for your favourite chooks!
#4 Pecking Blocks
Another idea would be poultry seed blocks like the Topflite Poultry Pecker. If you fixed one or two of these to the sides of the run, they too should keep their attention. Our Poultry Peckers are ideal gourmet treats containing chia, garlic and herbs to aid bird health and parasite protection. These will keep your girls busy for ages. Look for ones held together with a honey syrup or gelatine rather than suet which isn't good for them.Poultry Pecker
#5 Chook Edibles
These require a bit of pre-planning but worth the effort. A hardy blend of nutritious greens to grow in trays for confined poultry. Most have tap roots that will quickly re-grow leaves that are eaten. Either sow in open trays that can be placed in their enclosures or sow direct into the ground. Chook Edibles are a great way to give your hens a boost. Get some growing today! Sew a good number of trays so you can rotate them in the chook run. Or try our Chicory Greens. Chicory can be grown all year round for your chooks to enjoy. Lots of green, leafy upright growth; highly palatable, very nutritious and very beneficial for your chickens and pet rabbits. Grow Chicory Greens like you would silverbeet for your chooks to relish.Chicken Greens
#6 Chicken Swing
The chicken swing is another great perch idea because it provides more than just a place to sit - it actually swings! The patented design allows chickens to pump the swing themselves, with no need for a friendly push from the owner. Shaped like a mailbox, with a corn-like texture for grip, the Chicken Swing allows chickens of all types and ages to torque the perch. Quite simply, your hens will be swinging themselves silly in no time.
The best boredom buster for chickensChicken Swing
#7 Scratch Treats
Another trick if you have bark in the run or wood shavings in your hen house is to scatter feed treats like wheat, maize (corn) or Scratch and Lay amongst them so that they can rootle around in it during the day to unearth a tasty treat. Hen Health Tonic is another nutritious treat. Best done in the afternoon and remember a small amount as they it is just a treat.Scratch and LayHen TonicMaize
#9 Dust Bath
Depending on how much room you have in your run, a hen-sized tray part filled with sieved dirt or sand makes a terrific dust bath which will keep them happy for hours as they roll around and flick the contents everywhere! Add some Appletons De-Mite Powder to the mix to aid external parasite control. Chooks love to dust bathe it is as much a sociable event as it is pleasurable!Dust Bath Bowl Kit
#10 Low Perches
Often putting something in the run for them to perch on will make them very happy so if you've got any old branches which have been cut up in the garden, you could trim them to fit inside the run. These low perches are an ideal addition. They encourage your hens to exercise, help alleviate boredom, keeps them fit and reduces stress caused by potential bullies. Discover the Omlet Perch for an easy care perch solution! Easy to install it’s a simple and quick way to enhance your chickens outdoor run with a fun accessory.Omlet PerchFreestanding Omlet Perch
#11 Omlet Peck Toys
The Pendant and Poppy Peck Toys are the great new interactive feed toys your chickens have been waiting for. They combine fun, enriching entertainment with a tasty and rewarding flow of treats. Simple to install in any chicken coop or chicken run, the Peck Toy can be filled with corn, chicken feed, mixed grit or any other combination of your flock's favourite hard treats. Once filled it is guaranteed to become the centre of attention!Omlet Peck Toys
"I filled this peck toy with scratch and oats. When it moves the seeds fall out of the openings in the product. Of course my hens were skeptical at first...It's a big hit in their enclosure when I'm working! I try to find them boredom buster things when they can't free range with me in the yard with them. What fun this is! Thank you for a useful and fun interaction toy for my hens!"
#12 Free Range
While chickens are quite creative when it comes to keeping themselves entertained - free-ranging is their forte!
In the winter months, when the days are shorter and there aren't as many exciting bugs, weeds and grasses to peck at, chickens can become bored. And bored chickens are definitely not happy chickens.
So letting them out on supervised or controlled free range is a great idea. Consider using an automatic chicken door opener to let your hens out in the afternoon into a secure, chicken friendly area. This can be a setup using movable poultry fencing in your backyard or into a larger fully fenced paddock or orchard.
The best thing about the Omlet Autodoor is that is shuts behind them at dusk and gives you peace of mind they are safe from predators at night.
Customisable Chicken Perch
Fun for the Whole Flock!
Entertain your hens on a whole new level and use all the vertical height in your chicken run with the Omlet PoleTree Chicken Perch. Quick and easy to install in any chicken run, including the Omlet Walk in Run, and completely customisable with extra poles, perches & treat toys. If you’ve been looking for new chicken perch ideas or thinking of building a DIY chicken perch, look no further!PoleTree
"My chickens love the Omlet PoleTree, in particular my Welsummer, she loves jumping up on to the perches for treats. I attached it to my plum tree and fence post to make it nice and sturdy. I like that I can also hang various treats from the lower perches.Which brings great entertainment to me and my chucks!"