chicken_soccerThe idea of chickens playing may seem odd to some, but there are definite ways to make life a little more exciting for your birds. Read below for ideas!

Important Things To Know:
Chickens are incredibly curious but they will be most interested in food and shiny things. Toys that involve eating will be most popular and so anything they eat, even just chicken scratch, can be turned into an interactive game for your birds. They are not necessarily stupid either, though they are simple. If you give a chicken a treat for pecking at a piano, they will continue to do it as long as they are fed. It is, however, very important to remember that moderation is key. Some play time is good but too much is dangerous. Also, keep an eye on them for overly aggressive behavior. Most flocks naturally compete, but when this turns to aggression then play time needs to be changed or removed.

Fruit and Veggie Toys
Any safe fruits and veggies can be used for toys and your chickens will love making a small leap to take a grape from your fingers or to nab some cabbage hanging from a a string.

  • Hang cabbage from a rope a few inches over head height so they have to jump to get some.
  • Throw some fruit across the yard so they have to run to get it.
  • Put berries or peas into their bedding or a mulch pile so they have to turn up the flooring to get to the treats.
  • Send them chasing peas off the floor.
  • Put a banana in a rotting log for them to pull apart.
  • Hang lettuce leaves from a clothes line a few inches over head, one for each chicken.
  • Break open a pumpkin or squash and let them dig through it, especially as these treats are a natural-dewormer and will keep your birds healthier.

Baking Toys
Be careful as things that are too soft can be choked on.

  • Roll some hard, crusty rolls for them to chase.
  • Hang some french bread overhead.
  • Put rolls on their fencing.
  • Bake some sugar-less cookies with peanut butter, seeds and grains and then hang these healthy treats around the yard.

Other Types of Food Toys

  • Peanut butter provides extra protein and can be left around the yard in little piles for them to hunt up and enjoy.
  • Rice can be tossed for them to chase.
  • A pinecone rolled in peanut butter and filled with seeds also makes a fun treat that your kids can make for the birds around Christmas time.

Children’s Toys
By cautiously choosing toys that light up and make sounds, you can give your chickens some unique things to play with. Just be careful that there are not small parts they can break off.

  • Kid safe mirrors that will not break.
  • The ever popular key ring.
  • Child gym’s with interactive parts.
  • The stacked donut rings are great, especially if you’ve hidden a treat for them to get to.
  • A small ball can be fun, they will even play a somewhat game of soccer.

Other Alternatives
As long as you use common sense and remember that chickens have none, your birds should be safe with a number of toys. Just remember they will eat anything and everything so small parts or breakable items should be avoided.

  • Parrot toys, especially large ones.
  • Live bugs such as crickets released into the coop gives them great fun chasing the little bugs.
  • Jewel cases that make reflections on the ground for the birds to chase.
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