Hello chicken keepers!
If you’ve got chooks confined to a chicken run it’s a good idea to give them activities to stimulate their minds and keep them active and happy. Here are some easy poultry projects that you can tackle this weekend - using stuff you probably have around the house and chicken coop!
1. Tree roost Chickens use perches to feel safe while sleeping and investigating their environment. Building a simple tree roost for your chicken run will encourage this natural behaviour and decrease chicken boredom when they can’t be out free-ranging. It’s a great way to use up leftover timber and can be made as simple as you like. A few different sized perches are a good idea - just make sure they are spaced so your chook can easily flap up to observe their chooky kingdom.
2. Spa dust bath What’s better than a dust bath? A Spa Dust Bath! Your chickens dust bathe to control pests and parasites and to keep their feathers clean by absorbing moisture and oil. Give your chooks’ dust bath experience a luxurious twist by adding some beneficial elements to their usual dust bath spot or creating a special bath in a container like an old tyre or cheap clam pool. My favourite recipe for a spa dust bath is:
- 2 parts dry dirt
- 1 part clean, dry sand
- 1 part Superfine Diatomaceous Earth
- Handful of dried lemon balm
- Handful of dried lavender
- Handful of dried mint
Mix these together in your container or spot of choice and voila! Your chooks will be fresh, clean and glamorous in no time!
3. Vegetable pinatas Vegetable pinatas are so easy to make and keep your chickens busily pecking for a good amount of time. Reducing coop boredom while providing nutrients - what could be better! You can purchase treat cages online but I find that a simple string and the vegetable of your choice works just as well. Check out our #mychook follower video of chickens having fun with a lettuce pinata here:
4. Seedling planter Letting your peckish backyard chicken flock at a planter full of fresh seedlings is so funny to watch! Our customer Robyn made a great seedling planter in her chicken run (see video below) but you could easily grow some chook friendly seedlings in plastic pots and pop them in the run when they are mature enough to be devoured. Just sit back and watch the feathered flurry of flock activity!
5. Nesting box aromatherapy While I’ll always be a staunch advocate for a base of super absorbent Hemp Bedding in your coop nesting boxes, there’s always room to treat your girls to a little aromatherapy while they lay their golden eggs. Adding herbs to their nesting boxes will keep pests and parasites away and may help with respiratory issues. My top 3 herbs to add to your chicken coop nesting box are:
- Lavender - A natural pest repellent and stress reliever
- Lemon balm - Relieves stress and is a natural rodent repellent
- Rosemary - Enhances respiratory health and is a natural pest repellent
6. Protein crumble Hens off the lay? Moulting season woes? Treat your girls to a simple and easy protein crumble! This recipe is packed with protein, calcium, fibre and good fats and oils. It’s great served warm on a winter morning or as a pre-roost meal as your chooks head to bed. Check out the recipe here.
7. Seed shaker Another super easy boredom buster to make! Take a clean soft drink or water bottle and poke some holes in - make them big enough so the seeds you put in can come out fairly easy. Fill the bottle with your chooks’ seed of choice or scratch mix and tightly screw the lid closed. I suggest flax seeds, sunflower seeds and some cracked corn to keep them wanting more!
If your girls spend most of their time in their chicken run, we have a great rundown of some other tried and tested boredom busters for your chickens here.
As well as brilliant DIY projects, there are plenty of ways we can support our chickens' health. We all want to do an eggcellent job when caring for our feathered friends- so it's essential that you've got the right knowledge you need to raise happy, healthy chooks. Did you know 67% of chicken keepers surveyed experienced a chicken health or behaviour issue in the first 12 months that they didn’t know how to handle?
But don’t worry! Our feathered friends over at Chickenpedia have created a Chicken Healthcare Course. It is a comprehensive online course that includes everything you need, including what to look for in an unhealthy chicken and how to support your egg-laying hens to optimal health. All of their courses are really well structured and filled with practical information, which is why I highly recommend them to all of my readers! From raising baby chicks to feeding to behavior, you’ll find valuable information that’ll give you the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens.
Check out Chickenpedia today. As a member, you will also get access to the ALL of their chicken courses!