7 Winter Boredom Busters for Backyard Chickens

November 17, 2014

Winter is almost here. In some areas of the country, snow has already begun to fall. I already am craving warmer weather and I bet my flock is too! During the winter, I try to keep them busy, happy and preoccupied with winter boredom busters. Chickens can easily get bored, especially with a few feet of snow on the ground. Unless I shovel out extensive pathways, they refrain from wandering. Bored chickens can easily get into mischief such as egg eating and feather picking.

Boredom Busters #1: Piñata Celebration

boredom buster- cabbage piñata
 Make a pinata for them. This will keep them pecking this hanging toy and not one another.
It provides hours of entertainment. Click here for the instructions.

Boredom Busters #2: Mirror, Mirror

Add a mirror to the coop and watch your chickens admire themselves and meet “new” friends.

Boredom Busters #3: Have a Ball

hanging boredom buster for chickens
Treat balls are a huge hit with our flock.
We fill ours with chicken safe fruits and veggies for the flock.

Boredom Busters #4: Add a Flock Block

Our flock loves to peck at the flock block. This keeps the busy for hours. I place it on a cookie sheet and then let them go at it for a couple of hours. I do remove it for most of the day so the chickens still view it as a treat. As it contains molasses, you may notice it changes your flock’s droppings a bit.


Boredom Busters #5: Swinging Chickens

Photo Credit

Chickens love to swing. You can purchase chicken swings or try making your own.

Boredom Busters #6: Straw Bale Fun

Photo Credit
Insulate the coop and help control wet areas by placing a few bales of straw in the coop or run. Chickens love exploring them searching for seeds, bugs and other tempting treats. In fact, why not let the chickens spread the straw for you!

Boredom Busters #7: Go Climbing

Ladders for chickens make a great boredom busters.
Think about going up! Chickens love to climb. Try refurbishing an old ladder or adding a few climbing branches to the run.


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11 thoughts on “7 Winter Boredom Busters for Backyard Chickens”

    • But how do you train them? I made 3 swings (rope and smooth, straight branches) and scattered them throughout the yard. They refuse to touch them. I even tried manually placing them on swing, they just squawk and jump right off.
      HOW DO I MAKE THEM LOVE TO SWING ?!?!?!?!?! haha

  1. We added a swing to our run last spring. I put a large upside down clay flower pot about 2 feet away from the swing, so the chicken jumps up onto the pot and then jumps from the flower pot to the swing. She rides the swing back and forth until it slows down. Then she jumps off the swing and does it all again. It's great fun to watch. Sharon Johanson

  2. The only thing that confuses me is one post you talk how straw holds moisture and isn’t a great choice because it doesn’t compost quickly but here you talk about using it for moisture. ‍♀️ I purchased one for my small coop while the other is under construction. I definitely won’t use it in the new coop. I may opt for sand. It will be that or shavings. I have read a lot about using wood pellets also. I guess it depends on your preference.

    • Great thoughts. Straw is okay in the run in the bales or out where the flock free-ranges. As I discuss it here, it is more used for fun than for coop and nesting box bedding. Here in the Northeast, pests are low when the temperatures are freezing out, so seasonal use only during winter. I hope this helps to clarify. I prefer the kiln dried pine shavings for inside the coop and I have lots of blog posts here about that. Use the search bar at the top right.

    • We had pellets and straw last year. The pellets were ok but when the ground became soggy in winter it was too muddy for them, so we topped it up with a slice or two or straw every few days, which improved things. At first we spread the straw, but then it dawned on us that they love ripping up a slice of straw and spreading it themselves, and it keeps them happy for an hour or so, so we just chucked a slice in and left them to it. This time round, we have used a whole horse pack of wood shavings, which seem to survive the wet weather quite well. I don’t know how well it will work in winter, but so far so good.


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