Adding some toys to your chicken coop can make a massive difference to your flock’s general health and overall happiness. Challenging poultry behavior, including egg eating, feather plucking, and fighting, can often be eliminated by making the coop an interesting place for your hens to spend their time.
Toys for chicken coops should relieve boredom and encourage physical activity. The best activities facilitate natural foraging behavior. Many practical, inexpensive DIY chicken toys can be created using recycled materials. There is no substitute for adequate space per bird inside a coop.
Chickens are easy to please when it comes to toys they will appreciate. Plenty of entertaining activities can be constructed using recycled items or presenting everyday objects in new and exciting ways.
18 Toys For Chicken Coops
Although it is always recommended to free-range chickens, this is not always possible. Sometimes, wet weather, predators, or logistics mean that poultry is safer when kept inside a coop for short periods.
No one likes to be bored, and that includes your chickens. Although they are often described as bird-brained, our egg-laying friends are naturally curious and interested in their environment.
Free-range birds spend the entire day foraging and exploring, so being confined often leads to unwanted behavior as birds start letting off steam in undesirable ways. Adding some toys to the coop is an excellent way to keep your flock interested in their surroundings and physically active.
Remember that no number of toys can take the place of adequate space, so always ensure that your coop is big enough to accommodate the number of chickens you have. There must be plenty of places for lower-ranking birds to escape more dominant bullies, and all the birds must be able to move around comfortably.
There are a surprising number of chicken toys available commercially. There are also plenty of DIY toys and activities which are easy to make and will keep your flock entertained for hours.
Adding toys or providing environmental enrichment for your chickens doesn’t have to cost a lot. Often, all that is required is a little bit of imagination and some clever recycling.
Let’s review some tried and tested toys you can add to your chicken coop. Your chickens will appreciate the stimulation, and owners will enjoy watching them interact with the interesting items in their coop.
The Cabbage Ball
The simplest no-fuss toy you can provide for your chickens doubles as a healthy treat. Fresh fruit and vegetables should be part of every chicken’s diet, so offering them in different forms can become a highly entertaining game in a coop.
All you need for this healthy form of entertainment is a head of cabbage. Attach one end of a strong rope to a beam on the roof of the chicken coop and the other end to the stalk of a cabbage.
Position the cabbage so the bottom hangs around the chickens’ head height. The cabbage ball will swing and sway overhead as they peck, causing great excitement amongst the enthusiastic hens.
As the chickens peck their way through their disco ball cabbage, it will get harder and harder to reach, so they get some activity as they jump to take pecks of the treat. The scene resembles a fun chicken party as the flock takes turns pecking the swinging cabbage.
Once the cabbage is out of reach, lower it or provide something sturdy for the hens to stand on to reach it. A haybale works well, and it encourages plenty of physical activity.
Chicken Treat Ball
When you are ready to step things up from only cabbage and want to offer your chickens more variety during their pinata parties, it may be time to invest in a chicken treat ball. These dome-shaped treat balls can be filled with all sorts of interesting treats and offer chickens an exciting way to snack.
Chicken treat balls are designed to be safe. It is not recommended to create a DIY version as the gaps between the stainless-steel wires must be too close together for a chicken’s head to get caught. If the wires are too far apart, the produce inside the ball can also fall out too quickly to be a challenge for the birds.
Chicken treat balls come with a chain and hook, making them easy to attach to the coop’s roof. This versatile chicken toy is highly recommended as an enrichment activity for any chicken coop. Add whatever seasonal fruit or vegetables you have available, and let the chickens do the rest.
Everyone loves a swing, and that includes your chickens. Unlike a regular fixed perch, a swing requires steadier balance and adds some movement to the static coop environment. All you need to create a fun chicken swing are two pieces of rope, a plank, or a tree branch.
Although you can also purchase a chicken swing, they are easy to make using materials you already have. Fortunately, chickens are more outcomes-focused and are too fussy about the appearance of their swinging perch.
To make a chicken swing attach a piece of thin rope to each end of your piece of wood and suspend it from the roof. The swing should be high enough to move freely but low enough for the chickens to hop on and off comfortably.
Although a flat plank may look more like a swing, a piece of natural wood is often a better option for a chicken coop. Not only is the rough bark easier for the birds to grip, but it will stay looking cleaner for longer.
Repurpose Plastic Bottles Into Chicken Treat Toys
Chickens love the challenge of finding snacks, and one of the best ways to mimic their natural foraging behavior in a chicken coop is also one of the cheapest. You only need a few empty plastic bottles with lids, an electric drill, and some tempting chicken treats.
To make a chicken treat game, drill multiple holes into a few plastic bottles, pop in a few of their favorite treats that are big enough to fall through the holes, close the lid, and let the games begin! Place the bottles on the coop floor and watch as the chickens move them around to try to get tasty treats to fall out.
The food in the plastic bottle challenge should only contain treats and must never be the chicken’s staple food. Mealworms are always a winner, and chickens will spend hours kicking the bottle around to score a tasty protein-packed treat.
A Ground Level Mirror Will Fascinate Your Chickens
The chickens in your coop will love to strut their stuff in front of their very own mirror. Fixing a small plastic mirror at chicken height to one of the coop’s walls allows the whole flock to check out their reflections.
Like many birds, chickens are fascinated with their own reflection, so putting up a mirror is an easy way to entertain your hens. Keep safety in mind when adding a mirror, and always ensure there is no possibility it could break into dangerous shards.
Destroy A Haybale Chicken Activity
Nothing beats the boredom of being cooped up inside on a wet spring day like destroying a haybale. It is also a great way to use old bales and add an extra layer of insulation to your coop floor.
Instead of opening and spreading a haybale evenly over the coop floor, let the chickens do the work – while having a load of fun at the same time. Add some fun to the game by jamming a few tasty treats into the bale, then remove the straps and leave them to it.
The flock will have a field day scratching, kicking, and foraging their way through the bale. Of course, it won’t last very long before it is flattened, but it is a great way to keep everyone in the coop physically active and completely entertained.
Repurpose A Xylophone To Make A Chicken Toy
Although you can buy xylophone chicken toys new, these hardy musical toys are often available at yard sales or secondhand shops. Many chickens seem intrigued with the sounds produced and will peck at the brightly colored keys repeatedly.
You may be wondering if it’s the sounds produced or the colors that make kids’ xylophone toys fun additions for chicken coops. The answer is that it may be a little bit of both. Interestingly, seeing color is a chicken superpower, and it has been proven that our egg-laying friends have superior color vision over humans.
Xylophones are, therefore, not only a bit of musical fun but can also add some bright interior décor to an otherwise drab coop. To keep your chicken’s noisy toy cleaner longer, attach it to a wall or dangle it from a rope at a comfortable pecking height.
Wooden Chicken Jungle Gym Toy For Small Chicks
Anyone starting out with poultry for the first time may have purchased adorable, tiny chicks. A chicken jungle gym is a mini-roosting bar trainer that allows your little fluffballs to get off the ground safely and, at the same time, practice perching.
The solidly constructed series of roosting bars is a chicken toy that can grow with your birds. The perches are set at different heights, and the jungle gym can be used as a mini-step stool when they graduate onto their higher adult perches.
Hang A Cricket Tube In The Chicken Coop
Filling a cricket tube with live crickets and hanging it overhead in the coop is sure to keep everyone’s attention. Ensure that crickets can emerge one by one, and all eyes will stay focused on the overhead snack pack as they eagerly wait for the little insects to emerge.
Cricket tubes are available at most feed stores, online, or fishing supply outlets. You can also make a DIY version with a cardboard tube and mesh liner.
Add Some Environmental Enrichment
Chicken toys don’t need to be actual toys to be entertaining. Simply changing things around in the coop or adding a few different perches and interesting items to investigate can keep the birds occupied for hours.
An easy way to add interest inside a coop is to add a few tree stumps at various chicken-safe heights. You can also add some planks from one to another to create little overhead bridges.
If the stumps don’t have loose bark or places to hide treats, drill a few shallow holes into the wood. Keep safety in mind and ensure that the stumps can’t fall over. Move them around every few days to keep everyone interested.
Create More Perches For Your Chickens
Chickens roost at night, but if they spend a lot of time in the coop, they also appreciate being able to get off the ground during the day. Adding additional perches at different heights is also a great way of adding space inside your chicken enclosure.
Perches don’t always need to be made of wood, and even a trio of haybales can provide a cozy coop feature where less-busy birds can get some peace during the day. Always ensure that your chickens can get down safely from their highest perch. Some breeds, like Jersey Giants, can come down pretty hard, so keep safety in mind while creating an above-ground level.
Use A Kiddies Pool To Make A Chicken Dust Bath
While bathing may not sound like fun to most people, chickens absolutely love spending time rolling about in dry sandy soil. They do this to keep parasites and mites at bay, and anyone who has seen chickens bathing knows they enjoy every moment spent showering themselves with plumes of dirt.
Adding a dust bath to your chicken coop is a relaxing activity for your birds and will also add to their overall physical well-being. Although you can use any large crate, a small kiddies’ pool is ideal.
To create a dust bath for your coop, you will need the following in equal parts:
- Builders sand
- Wood ash
- Clean soil (it should not contain any fertilizers etc.)
- Food-grade diatomaceous earth
Mix the ingredients and ensure that it is at least 12 inches deep in the small plastic pool. Keep some aside as you will inevitably need to top up – bath times can be enthusiastic events in any chicken coop!
Lixit Chicken Feeder
The Lixit chicken feeder is like a game of mini-soccer for the chickens in a coop. The ball toy gets filled with treats, which are released as it is pushed around.
Although you can achieve a similar effect using a plastic bottle with holes punched into it, having an actual ball does make it easier for the birds to move around. It is also super easy to fill with seeds or treats.
The Lixit chicken feeder toy is a great way to keep your cooped-up chickens exercising while providing stimulation. These fun toys also make fun stocking stuffer gifts that will delight fellow chicken owners.
Hanging Flock Block And Vegetable Bag
Flock blocks are great boredom busters for chickens and an excellent way to incorporate healthy ingredients like eggshells and rolled oats. They are easy to make yourself, but they can get kicked around and messy if positioned flat on the ground in a chicken coop.
A strong nylon bag attached to the roof of your chicken coop is a convenient, no-mess way to serve the hard chicken treat blocks. Since the bag will sway gently as the birds peck it, the hens need to concentrate and focus on aiming for specific targets in their flock block.
A hanging nylon bag is easy to keep clean and is simple to refill. An added bonus is that poultry owners will be able to immediately notice when refills are required. The versatile snack bag can be filled with all types of fruit or vegetables and is safe for chickens as there are no wire parts where birds could get their heads stuck.
Chicken Teeter Totter Poultry Toy
A low teeter-totter can be an entertaining chicken toy in coops that only house full-grown birds. It would be dangerous for tiny chicks to be in an area with an overhead object that drops suddenly, so reserve this toy for adult chickens only.
A teeter-totter can be purchased ready-made, but it can also be an easy DIY project. Use a long, flat plank fixed to a tin can that will work as a pivot in the middle.
Your chickens may need a bit of encouragement to get the hang of the new see-saw in their coop. Attach a small food container on either end to sweeten the pie and encourage the birds to hop up onto the raised side.
Frozen Boredom Busters
When the weather is warm, the air inside a chicken coop can become uncomfortably hot. A great way to cool things down is to offer the chickens an entertaining way to provide treats frozen in blocks of ice.
Blueberries, strawberries, pieces of corn, or even watermelon trapped inside ice cubes can provide loads of entertainment for chickens on a hot day. Small, beak-sized treats can be frozen in ice cube trays or muffin pans. Bigger items can be frozen in large plastic containers.
While it may not be a toy that lasts long, frozen boredom busters will be appreciated and enjoyed. It is also a practical way to keep your chickens cool during heatwaves.
PawHut Chicken Activity Play Center
Chickens love perches and hopping between levels, so the PawHut Chicken Activity Center ticks all the boxes as a coop toy. It has a solid base, so it won’t topple over, and multiple birds can use it at the same time.
The unit includes several chicken perches, a ladder, a swing, and a raised platform at the top. Chicken play centers like the PawHut adds a new dimension to a ground-floor chicken coop situation.
Chicken Seed Roll Treats
Recycle the cardboard tubes from paper towels or toilet rolls to create super easy, inexpensive, and highly entertaining chicken toys. Chicken seed roll treats are also a fun project for kids to make, and they will enjoy watching the chickens eagerly play with their creations.
To make these fun chicken toys, you will need the following:
- A few cardboard tubes
- Twine or string
- Peanut butter
- Fine seeds, nuts, dry fruit, or dry mealworms
Thread the string through the tube and leave a long piece to attach inside the coop. Then coat the outside of the cardboard tube with peanut butter and roll in a chicken-friendly mixture of treats or seeds.
Hang the seed rolls in various places in the chicken coop so all the birds can get a turn to enjoy the activity and score a few treats. As the chickens peck at the seeds, the cardboard tube turns, which keeps the game interesting for hours.
Do Chickens Need Toys In Their Coop?
Chickens do not need toys in their coop if they are free-range birds that can roam freely outdoors during the day. Free-range birds usually only use their coops as pitstops to eat, drink, lay eggs, and roost in safety at night.
Toys and stimulating activities are essential in chicken coops when birds spend most of their time inside. Lack of exercise and boredom can result in physical and behavioral challenges. Chickens may turn on each other or start plucking their own feathers. They can also develop undesirable behaviors like egg eating due to stress or frustration.
Chicken toys are an excellent addition to any chicken coop. There are times when even free-range hens need to stay indoors, and there are plenty of inexpensive ways to keep the flock happily occupied while you wait for bad weather to pass.
What Do Chickens Like To Play With In Their Coop?
The best activities for chickens are those that let them engage in natural foraging behavior similar to what they would do outside. They love scratching and searching for hidden titbits, so toys that combine physical activity with a food reward are always winners.
Many types of chicken toys are available, but there are also plenty of ways to provide a stimulating environment for your flock, even without toys. Simply spreading large bags of autumn leaves or hay over the coop floor before scattering a few handfuls of mealworms will keep everyone scratching and searching for hours.
Other chicken favorites include extra perches and vegetable pinata games. Always be aware of the pecking order in your chicken coop and spread toys and activities evenly so that all the birds can benefit from the stimulation items provided.
How Do You Entertain Chickens In A Coop?
One of the most effective ways to keep chickens in a coop entertained is to provide new and interesting items for them to inspect regularly. Changing the floor plan, adding a few hay bales, or bringing in some tree branches from outside for birds to hop on can help alleviate boredom.
Like many birds, chickens are fascinated with reflective objects. Add a few outdoor-safe mirrors or hang some old CDs that will catch the light as they twist and swirl overhead.
Chicken toys can be as simple as a treat-filled plastic bottle with holes drilled in that let the snacks fall out as it is pushed about. Suspending treats like a cabbage or drawstring bag filled with fresh leafy vegetables is an excellent way to provide healthy treats to keep chickens entertained.
Do Chickens Like To Play With Anything?
Chickens will not play catch like a dog or follow a light like a cat. Our feathered friends are more goal orientated and prefer activities that provide tasty snacks, good vantage points, or investigating new things.
Many bird toys are commercially available, but most are not suitable or safe for poultry. Chickens are more robust than budgies or parrots – some people even think they could be related to dinosaurs! Flimsy beaded bridges and hanging blocks may keep tropical indoor birds happy, but they won’t last long in a chicken coop before breaking apart and becoming a hazard.
Chickens will investigate anything new in their environment, and some items will hold their attention longer than others. Although they may not play with everything, regularly adding new features like tree stumps or new natural branch roosting spots will help to alleviate boredom.
It is essential to keep the age of the flock in mind when choosing toys for a coop. A teeter-totter is entertaining for older birds but may injure small chicks.
Chicken toys are a fun way to keep your flock entertained when they can’t go out. Safety and entertainment value should always be the primary considerations when choosing items to provide environmental stimulation for the birds in a coop. The best toys should encourage physical activity and combine natural foraging behavior with healthy treats as rewards.