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Spring Enrichment For Your Flock

Spring Enrichment For Your Flock

Warmer days are finally upon us. Days are longer, greens are emerging, bugs are waking, but we haven’t quite reached the bounty of summer yet. No doubt, by now, your flock has upped its egg production and is enjoying the longer days. However, longer days mean more waking hours to fill. 

The Benefits of Enrichment for Chickens

Providing enrichment activities to your flock has many benefits. A bored bird can lead to certain behavior problems, such as cannibalism, bullying, and feather pecking, so keeping your hens enriched is important. Enrichment has been shown to encourage natural behaviors, build problem-solving skills, and even increase bone health! Plus, providing stimulating activities for your flock can help reduce stress. 

Types of Enrichment For Your Flock

There are many types of enrichment, and what works for one flock may not work for others. This list is by no means exhaustive but it will give you some great inspiration. 


Chickens are master communicators with a wide repertoire of vocal abilities, from warning calls to alerting others to a food source, so it makes sense that they would enjoy auditory enrichment.

Beat the Drums

This one is simple and easy, and it will be as much fun for your flock as it is for you. Find an old drum of any kind, and sprinkle the top with treats. You could even use an upturned bucket or galvanized tub instead of a proper drum. 

X is for Xylophone 

Using the exact same principle as the drum, sprinkle some treats over a xylophone and watch your flock peck out their own tune while collecting the treats.


Incorporating the right coop décor can double as environmental enrichment. Simple things like old ladders, stumps or logs, and even extra roost bars can all increase your chickens' enjoyment of their day. 

Buy or DIY a Chicken Swing

A chicken swing is a great way to make your hens’ run more fun. You can DIY one with just a plank and some string or chain or purchase one ready-made. The best part about a swing is that it provides an extra place to perch and an activity for them to enjoy. 

Provide A Dust Bath

A dust bath is essential for any coop since this is how your birds stay clean, but the act of taking their dust baths is fun for them and even more fun for you to watch. To create a DIY dust bath, find an old tire or large container and fill it with dirt or sand. In our coop, since we use a wood-burning stove to heat our home, we fill our dust bath (an old tire) with a combination of play sand, wood ash, and First Saturday Lime (not an affiliate link, just what we use.)

Create a Dig Box

Very similar to a dust bath, only bigger, a dig box is an enclosed space full of dirt into which you can mix treats like mealworms, nuts, or black soldier fly larvae (affiliate link, get 10% GrubTerra with our code BYERS10). It’s a great way to encourage foraging while they dig for treats. If you know chickens, you know how much they LOVE digging holes. 

Food or Forage Based 

A study by Semantic Scholar found that foraging enrichment was among the top choices for reducing feather pecking. 

Get Them Involved in Coop Refreshing

We add fresh straw to the coop every month or so, and Fresh Straw Day is one of our flock's favorite days. When we started with chickens, we would spend hours pulling apart the bails and spreading the straw. Then I realized that if we loosened the bail and filled it with treats, the girls would make quick work of spreading that straw for us as they searched for bugs. We use straw in our chicken coop, but this would work well for any coop lining medium you use. 


You’ve heard of charcuterie, chick-cuterie is the same principle. Fill a bowl, platter, or food dish with some of your chicken's favorite things and lay it out for them to feast on. Items can include fresh fruits or veggies, bread chunks, sunflower seeds, mealworms, or black soldier fly larvae (affiliate link, get 10% GrubTerra with our code BYERS10). When ever we do this, I also include a small pile of grit to help them with digesting the offerings. 

Grow a Grazing Box 

If you can’t or don’t free-range your flock, this is a great way to enrich your chickens and encourage natural foraging behavior. Simply build a wooden garden bed-like frame, fill it with potting soil, add seeds, and top it with hardware cloth. As the seeds grow, your chickens can eat what peaks out from the hardware cloth, but since they can’t ‘damage’ the plant below, it will continue to grow all season! You can find complete instructions on Attainable Sustainable

Chicken Piñata

I’m pretty sure I had as much fun with this as the girls did. Hallow out a head of cabbage, fill it with treats, and hang it for your flock to enjoy. It was so much fun watching them peck through to find the treats! You can find a video tutorial for this on our Instagram page. Here is a link to the hanging bag we used (not an affiliate link, just what we use). 


Chickens have excellent eyesight and enjoy visual stimuli just as much as we do. 

Hang up a CD 

Like parakeets and parrots, hens love shiny things. CDs are almost a thing of the past, but if you have a collection collecting dust, you can repurpose them as chicken enrichment! Simply hang up some CDs around. Your birds will enjoy hours of entertainment chasing after the reflected light or pecking at the CDs.

Add a Mirror

Chickens love to see and watch their own reflections. Reflective objects not only show your birds a mirror image of themselves, which can be highly engaging, but they also reflect sunlight in various shapes and intensities.

Here’s to Your Happy, Healthy, Enriched Flock 

This list included some of our favorite ways to add enrichment for our girls. These ideas are simple to execute and affordable on almost any budget. When adding enrichment, be sure to supervise your flock to ensure optimal safety. Remember that treats are just that, treats, and they should be used as a substitute for balanced feed. When providing additional foods such as fruits, grains, and veggies, add grit to your flock's coop to aid with digestion. This can be done as a free choice option or offered with the treats. 

Did we miss anything? What are your favorite flock enrichment ideas? Tell us all about them in the comments below, and as always, until next time, 

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Spring Enrichment For Your Flock

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