Poor chickens, sometimes fall doesn’t seem like much fun for our flocks or us. The amount of daylight begins to decrease and along with that, the annual molting begins. Eggs supply dwindles and even our most social of chickens would prefer to not be handled as much. But, it doesn’t mean that fall can’t be fun for the flock! Over the years, we’ve come up with some fall fun ideas and distractions for the flock and I think that your flock might enjoy them too!
Falling for Leaves
Freshly fallen leaves provide a great place for scratching, help to bring worms to the surface and harbor lots of little insects. Let the girls out to free-range in the leaves or share a raked pile by tossing it into the run. Overtime, they will scratch and claw at the leaves breaking them down and starting the composting process.
Fall Fun Pumpkin Party
Did you know that raw fresh pumpkin seeds contain a chemical that is known to be a natural anti-wormer? The chickens have a ball. Simply place a fresh pumpkin into the run portion of the coop and let the girls go crazy. If they are afraid (don’t be surprised if they are somewhat terrified by this new orange being), then simply take a screwdriver and start some fresh little “pecks” holes to get them started. The same benefits can also be achieved by sharing gourds and squash.
Mend that Molt
During molting try some higher protein-filled snacks, like mealworms and sunflower seeds. If you grew your own sunflowers, dry the heads and toss them into the run and let the chickens do the picking.
Create a Dustbathing Spa
As cooler temps arrive and the ground eventually freezes, it is nice to create a special place for dust bathing. You can up-cycle an old wash bin or larger container that your chickens can easily hop into to help keep those mites and lice at bay. Combine some soil from the yard, sprinkled with sand, ash from the fireplace and even some diatomaceous earth.
Garden Spent? Dry Your Own Herbs
Try drying extra herbs from the garden to create your very own pest-repelling herbal blends for the nesting boxes. Lavender, sage, lemon balm, basil, fennel, eucalyptus, dill, catmint, mint, pineapple sage, parsley, rose petals and thyme are just a few. Let your flock eat them because they are packed with nutrients. Dry them on your own coop chandelier.
Hay Bales Scavenger Hunt
Temporarily add hay bales to the run and living area. At first, keep them bound and use them for seating. Toss some dried mealworms on the the bale and it will keep the girls busy for hours.
Deep Clean Your Coop
Prepare for the ushering in of cooler weather. Deep clean your coop to get a fresh start on the season. As a final touch, be sure to make the litter deeper than during the summer season. This will help to insulate your flock. The best part for me is when the chickens come into the clean coop and inspect my handiwork. I can’t help but feel my heart smile.
8 thoughts on “Fall Fun for Backyard Chickens”
Thank you for your insightful article. As a new chicken mom, heading into my second year, I’m still, always searching for improvement.
I was feeding my chicken warmed , cooked oatmeal in the mornings, as many other e-pole have been doing,..but I recently saw this article. Maybe I should stop.
What do you think about this information ?
Oatmeal is completely fine in moderation. I think this philosophy is key to keeping chickens. If chickens and us survived only on a diet consisting of oatmeal, none of us would be unhealthy. Like raising children, there are plenty of ways to do things well. Over the past 10 years,I’ve watched several popular chicken bloggers disagree on just about everything which has lead to the polarization of audiences and the community. I strongly encourage my followers to do their own research. I always think it is important to find things that work for you as a chicken keeper. Also, just so you know, since 2015, researchers are looking into using oats as substitutes for corn and soy in chicken feed. I think you might find this scientific article helpful. https://articles.extension.org/pages/67363/feeding-oats-to-poultry
I have a question.
My friend has ducks that are disappearing. Probably Hawks or Eagles, protected by federal law. The ducks are put up at night. Does he have to put them up night and day. Have you had this problem. How did you solve it?
What do you think is happening.?.
Loved your site.
Hi Betty, oh dear, I’m so sorry to hear. There are many predators that can “steal” ducks during the day and night. Yes, birds of prey are one but also coyotes and foxes will take them too. Also owls. Or….even people will come and steal ducks and chickens. I am currently working on a post on predators, that hopefully will help. Stay tuned, it should be out in the next few days. Thanks so much for visiting today!
Would like to see your chick house in full all sides/inside and out.
I have a post on the right hand side that shares all the details of my chicken coop. Click on “Tour my Coop”.
What sz Is your chick house ?
The chicken house base is approximately 4 feet by 6 feet.