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.