Chickens – they’re just like us!
Well, maybe not so much. After all, when was the last time you pecked the ground for bugs or rolled around in a dust bath?
But one thing we do have in common with our favorite feathered pets is that we all have a tendency to get bored.
Like all other animals, chickens can develop some seriously bad habits if they are left without entertainment.
Looking to energize and occupy your backyard flock?
Here are some of the best toys you can make or purchase for your chickens today.
Why Do Chicken Need Toys?
A chicken that is not provided with adequate physical and mental stimulation will be more inclined to have health and behavioral problems.
The list is long, but problems that your bored chickens might have include:
- Egg eating
- Feather pulling
Chickens who are not given access to mental stimulation – particularly during the winter months, when foraging activities are limited – will feel “cooped up” and stressed.
You might already be giving your chickens toys without even realizing it.
If you frequently interact with your birds to clean the coop, collect eggs, and interact with your birds, you are probably providing them with some mental stimulation.
In addition, providing your birds with table scraps, access to compost bins and dust baths, and free-ranging opportunities are great natural ways to entertain your birds.
However, if you’re looking for other low- or high-tech options to keep your backyard chickens amused, we’re here to tell you about all of the opportunities that are available to you.
10 Cool & Entertaining Chicken Toys (That You Can Buy Right Now!)
If you’re not the crafty type – or simply don’t have a ton of time on your hands to make your own chicken toys – you can purchase some of these handy creations online or at the local feed store.
Here are some of the best options.
1. Cricket Tubes
- 2 5/8-Inch by 9-Inch
- Made of Wire and Plastic
- Weighs .27 pounds
You can make your own chicken tubes or you can purchase some from your local feed store.
These consist of plastic tubes that are lined with holes. After you fill the tubes with crickets, they will slowly make their way out, oneat a time.
The chickens will enjoy waiting for the next tasty treat to emerge – and trying to coerce the crickets out while they wait, too!
- An entertaining way to provide leafy greens to the backyard flock
- Fill if full of fresh vegetables - large enough to fit a whole head of lettuce
- It rolls and entertains chickens while providing a healthy treat
The Chick-N-Veggie sounds like the name of a fast-food side dish, but it’s actually a super fun way to give your flocks some leafy greens.
All you do is fill the ball full of fresh vegetables like a head of lettuce or cabbage.
The ball rolls on its own and entertains the chickens – and once they catch it, they are able to chow down on a healthy treat.
This ball has an easy-to-open and easy-to-close design, making it a great option for the time-crunched backyard chicken keeper.
3. Precision Pet Chicken Treat Ball
- Fill with veggies and hang in coop for snack time
- Included bell provides entertainment for chickens
- Stimulates chickens' natural foraging instincts by providing a challenging feed...
Another inexpensive treat ball is this one made by Precision Pets.
Designed to be hung instead of chased, this ball comes with a bell to let your birds know when it’s time to play.
It encourages the natural instincts of your chickens to forage by giving them an interactive, challenging source of food.
This treat ball comes with a clip so that you can attach it to any coop or cage and it can be filled with any kind of vegetables.
Made out of durable metal, it’s coated with a rust-resistant red finish that is both attractive to your birds as well as resilient.
4. Lixit Chicken Toy
- Country of Origin: UNITED STATES
- The Package Length of the Product is: 5.08 cm
- The Package Width of the Product is: 6.858 cm
The Lixit Chicken Toy has a unique design that will provide snacks and activity for your chickens.
It has a pull-apart design that is easy to operate. You can stuff it full of mealworms, feed, or other treats and then snap it shut.
Put the Lixit inside your chicken run, and watch as they chase it around on the ground.
This toy is resistant to pecking and inclement weather. Although it’s not designed to be hung, it’s excellent for giving the birds small treats and food.
5. Chicken Swing
- An activity for all breeds and ages of chickens to use in the coop
- Reducing coop boredom and bringing smiles to the people that care for them
- Perch is 16.25 inches Long
If you don’t want to make your own chicken wings, there are plenty of affordable products available for purchase.
This swing is a lot of fun for younger birds in particular -the older ones may avoid it.
You should start off by hanging the swing low to the ground, as they might have trouble getting up and onto it.
Once they get used to it, you may be able to elevate it. It’s a great activity for your birds around the year, but especially during the cold winter months when snow and ice might make it impossible for them to move around and forage.
This chicken swing by Fowl Play Products is exceptionally-well made and very colorful to catch the eyes of your birds.
It has a plastic perch that is easy to clean and it resists warping and rotting.
Because it has an ergonomic shape, it’s easy for your chickens to sit on.
The perch is nearly 17 inches wide, which is plenty large enough for your biggest chickens.
6. Hanging Loofah and Shredded Paper Toys
- PACKAGE INCLUDING: 2 packs of different types chicken foraging chewing hanging...
- Natural Materials: Food coloring matter both safe and secure, natural loofah...
- With suspension hook design, suit for all kinds of chicken cage
These products are super fun and easy to install.
When you purchase, you get several types of foraging hanging toys.
One is made out of a loofah-like material while the other one consist of shredded paper.
These toys are designed to be destroyed, but allow your chickens to chew and play with them using their beaks and claws.
They are brightly colored and highly stimulating for your chickens to interact with.
7. Chicken Ladder
- Fun activity and colorful design to reduce coop boredom, bringing smiles to the...
- Size: 31.5''*3.9''(L*W) (the length including metal clasp)
- Climbing ladder motion is enjoyed by the chicken as well as the people who watch...
Adding a chicken ladder to your run is a great way to improve your chickens’ dexterity and to add energy to the rest of the coop.
This colorful ladder has a fun design and is made out of wood and steel water.
It has buckles to prevent the birds from pulling off the wire and a quick-link fastener that makes it easy to attach outside.
It’s available in two different lengths so that you can customize it to the dimensions of your coop or run.
8. Chicken Playground with Treat Basket
- Package Length: 35.0"L
- Package Width: 12.0"W
- Package Height: 3.0"H
This is a pretty steep investment for someone who is just starting to think about chicken toys, but it’s truly the granddaddy of all toys for your backyard flock!
The Coops & Feathers chicken playset is massive, equipped with two swings and two ladders along with a coated wire treat basket.
It has a solid wooden platform and is easy to put together.
Designed for a large backyard flock, the treat basket in particular simulates natural foraging behavior and will give your chickens hours of entertainment.
9. Swinging Hanging Mirror
- Mirror frame consists of solid wood, both wear-resistant bite, but also clean...
- Double-sided mirror is more convenient for pets.
- Bells design,there is a sound when the pet is playing.
If you don’t want to make your own chicken mirror, this inexpensive hanging mirror is a great option.
It’s multisensory, equipped with bells that ring as your chicken is playing. It is made out of solid wood and is both wear- and bite-resistant.
Because this mirror will entice your chicken to attack it, it is also designed to clean your chicken’s mouths in the process.
Looking at their own reflections will give your chickens plenty to do when they’re locked up in the coop!
10. Treat Spiral
- Spiral holder is a hanging holder for chicken treats and veggies
- Hanging design keep vegetables clean and dry
- Made of quality steel
This spiral holder is a great way to offer chickens treats like veggies and bread. Its hanging design keeps it up and off the floor.
Depending on how high you hang it, your chickens can have easy, beak-level access or they can jump up into the air to earn their treats.
It’s made out of super high-quality steel so you don’t need to worry about them damaging it either way.
10 Cool DIY Chicken Toys
You don’t need to break the bank in order to keep your chickens entertained.
Instead, consider some of these fun homemade toys that you can make with items you have hanging around the house.
1. Repurposed Fruits and Veggies
Chickens love food! You can entertain your birds with some old, leftover produce from your refrigerator – or even some snacks that are fresh out of the garden. Here are a few ideas:
- Hang a head of cabbage, cucumber, or some leaves of lettuce from some twine in the coop – your chickens can take turns jumping up to grab some pieces.
- Toss a piece of fruit into the chicken yard to watch your chickens chase after it.
- Hide small berries and cooked beans in the chicken bedding to make them scratch through it, like a scavenger hunt. Just make sure they see you do it so that they know it’s there.
- Fill the crevices in a rotting log with soft fruits and vegetables, like sweet potatoes or bananas.
- Crack open a large pumpkin, watermelon, or squash and let your chickens dig through it.
- Fill a Kong toy (the type you would use for dogs) with frozen peas or cranberries. Roll it front of the chickens to show them how the peas will fall out when it is rolled.
2. Get Rid of Leftovers
If you have some stale baked goods or other foods to get rid of, you can easily repurpose them into some fun toys for your flock!
Just make sure you choose high-quality foods – you want to avoid moldy items as well as bread that is too soft, which can be a choking hazard.
- Roll a hard roll or a hard-boiled egg across the chicken pen for your birds to chase.
- Thread a loaf of French bread onto a rope and let your chickens jump up for it. You can also do this with bagels or donuts! Just make sure they aren’t too sugary.
- Insert cooked rice, oatmeal, grits, cornmeal or peanut butter into the crevices of rotting logs to give your chickens to peck at.
- Hide cooked pasta in low-bushes for your chickens to find.
- Give your chickens some meaty bones to peck at.
- Make a suet cake out of lard, seeds, and peanut butter – hang it for your chickens to jump at.
3. Ice Them Out
If the summer heat seems to be getting to your chickens, there’s no better way to entertain them (and keep them cool and hydrated) than to give them access to some fun, icy activities. Here are some ideas:
- Freeze large treats – like mealworms – inside a block of ice. Your chickens will enjoy pecking out the treat.
- Freeze beef tallow and let your chickens peck it apart.
- Give your students frozen fruits and vegetables to snack on.
4. Repurpose Your Kid’s Toys
Have your children outgrown their once-favorite toys? You can easily give them a second life by repurposing them for your chickens. Here are some ideas.
- Hang kid-safe mirrors in the coop for your chickens to watch themselves.
- Coat plastic rings of kiddie keys with peanut butter and hang them from a low spot in the coop.
- Set up children’s playgrounds or jungle gyms for your chickens to play on – wrap food around the bars for added fun.
- Wind up a walking toy and let it chase your chickens around the pen!
- Toss a lightweight ball into the pen to give your birds something to chase around.
- Poke holes in plastic Easter eggs and fill them with seeds. The chickens will enjoy rolling them around.
5. Hang Plants in the Coop
Some plants are just way more fun than others! To provide your chickens with hours of entertainment, consider hanging sunflowers or millet in the cage.
These make fun pinatas for your chickens and if one bird happens to pull a plant down, the others will enjoy chasing him around the yard for it.
You can even give them old chunks of sod with the root and dirt clods still attached. The chickens will love digging through them to pull out the tasty microorganisms.
6. Use What Nature Gave You
You can scatter insects, like worms and crickets, in the chicken yard for your birds to take. Alternatively, you can stuff a rotten wood log with whatever you have a bile. Chickens also like playing in fallen leaves, particularly if you toss some bugs or treats in them.
7. Give Them Newspapers
Not to read, of course – unless you have some seriously smart chickens. You can layer some seeds between pieces of newspaper so the birds have to work them out, though – this will give them hours of entertainment at no cost to you.
8. DIY Interactive Treat Dispenser
You can make your own interactive treat dispensers using any empty plastic containers, like soda bottles.
Drill holes that are large enough for the treats to fall through and let the birds go to town.
A word of advice – make sure you remove any loose shards of plastic that your birds might accidentally eat.
9. Homemade Jungle Gym and Swing
This DIY option is a great choice for adult chickens and baby chicks alike.
Chickens like being at the top of the world, and giving them a place to perch is a great way to encourage them to act out their natural tendencies.
You can build an elevated run by using a fallen tree or set up a sawhorse for hours of fun.
To take this homemade jungle gym to the next level, you can surround it with hanging bits of food – or you can erect a swing.
Homemade chicken swings can be made out of rope and large branches. Old 2x4s will also suffice as the “seat” part of the swing.
This will help your chickens build their leg muscles and will also give them a place up and out of the litter.
10. Hang CD Wind Chimes
Chickens love shiny things, and they can see color even better than we can.
If you have some old CDs or DVDs lying around, you should hang them up in the chicken run.
If the disks are broken, you can stick the pieces to a softball or make your own mosaic, too.
This toy is a good one to have, since it doubles up as hawk protection – the hawks fly away in fear when they see the light movement.
Tips for Purchasing or Making Toys for Chickens
The most important thing to realize when selecting toys for your chickens is that while they are curious and interested in the rest of the world, they aren’t going to be as easy to train as animals like dogs.
Chickens don’t really care if they please you, so if your main goal in providing your chickens toys is to encourage them to entertain you, you are probably going to be disappointed!
Like other animals, though, chickens are primarily driven by food.
Toys that incorporate food and involve eating it will be the most useful toys to have in your chicken’s “toybox.”
Even chicken scratch can be considered a toy – it provides your chickens with hours of entertainment, after all.
Remember, chickens are naturally curious – some of the best toys will be those that catch their eye.
Think food, again, and also things that are shiny and eye-catching.
You should avoid giving your chickens access to toys at all times. You should only add toys to your chickens’ routines about once or twice a week – too much activity can stress your birds and high-impact activities, like jumping, can affect a hen’s laying abilities.
You also need to make sure you give your chickens equal access to the toys.
Remember, your flock has a natural pecking order, and too much competition – particularly if there is food involved – can cause your chickens to cross over from the fun competition into overly aggressive behavior.
Do I Need Toys For My Chickens?
If you don’t really care about the health and happiness of your chickens, then no – you probably don’t need to supply them with any toys.
However, our guess is that if you’re reading this article, you probably do care. It might seem like giving your chickens toys is frivolous, but the truth is that chickens can help prevent a dangerous – and potentially even deadly – behaviors.
So if you’re still on the fence about spending money on toys for your chickens, consider experimenting with some of the DIY options we mentioned above. You can always upgrade to a fancier, more expensive storebought toy later on.
And remember – while these toys are for your chickens, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy watching the birds play, too. Have fun playing with your flock!
Last update on 2020-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API