Toys for Chickens: Types, Benefits, & Top Picks

Coop, feed, nesting boxes, feeder, waterer, and … toys?

Yep. I’ve learned a lot about keeping backyard chickens over the years. And one of the things that has surprised me the most is just how much chickens love toys.

And toys for chickens are not just for fun. They’re a BIG part of keeping your flock healthy and happy.

There are tons of chicken toys available, but not every toy is a hit with chickens. But don’t worry. I’m here to guide you through the maze of options. Let’s dive in.

Animation of toys for chickens and chickens playing happily with them

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Do Chickens Like Toys?

Chickens don’t just like toys. They LOVE toys.

Chickens are curious by nature and enjoy exploring new things. Toys provide them with a chance to satisfy their natural curiosity and playfulness. 

When you introduce the right toys to your coop, you’ll quickly notice your chickens pecking at them, pushing them around, or even just examining them with interest. 

It’s clear: Chickens definitely enjoy having toys in their environment.

Do Chickens Need Toys?

While chickens may not need toys to survive, toys greatly improve their quality of life. 

For chickens, life in a coop can sometimes get dull. Toys break that monotony, providing mental stimulation and physical activity. They help prevent boredom, which can lead to unwanted behaviors like feather picking or aggression. 

So, while toys might not be essential like food and water, they play an absolutely critical role in keeping your chickens happy and healthy.

Benefits of Toys in Your Chicken Coop

Putting high-quality toys in your chickens’ coop and run can bring a TON of benefits:

Keeps Chickens Active

One of the best benefits of toys in your chicken coop is keeping your birds active. Just like us, chickens need exercise to stay healthy. Toys encourage them to move more, which is great for their physical well-being.

Reduces Boredom

Boredom can lead to problems like feather pecking among chickens. Toys provide mental stimulation, keeping your birds engaged and MUCH less likely to pick on each other.

Promotes Natural Behaviors

Toys enable chickens to exhibit natural behaviors like pecking, scratching, and foraging. This is not only fun for them but also a serious consideration for their mental health.

Enhances Coop Environment

Toys add variety to the coop environment. A dynamic setting with different toys makes life more interesting for your chickens.

Helps in Bonding

When you introduce new toys, it gives you a chance to bond with your chickens. Watching them interact with toys can also be a source of joy and entertainment for you.

Types of Toys for Chickens

Each type of toys for chickens offers unique benefits and caters to various chicken behaviors. Whether it’s something to peck at, swing on, or explore, there’s a toy out there that your chickens will love. 

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Pecking Toys

Pecking toys are a fantastic choice for your chickens. They are designed to satisfy the natural pecking instinct of chickens. These toys often have parts that move or dispense treats when pecked, providing endless entertainment.

Benefits of Pecking Toys for Chickens

  • Encourages natural pecking behavior. These toys simulate the experience of foraging, letting chickens peck as they would in the wild.
  • Reduces boredom. Pecking toys keep your chickens busy, reducing the risk of boredom-related behaviors like feather pecking.
  • Mental stimulation. Figuring out how to get treats or interact with these toys provides mental exercise, keeping your chickens’ minds sharp.
  • Enhances physical activity. Constant pecking and movement while interacting with these toys promotes physical health.

My Top Pick

Pecking toys are a simple but SUPER effective way to enrich your chickens’ daily life. They’re easy to install in your coop and offer hours of entertainment. My flock’s top pick for a pecking toy is the Lixit Chicken Feeder Toy:

Sale
Lixit Chicken Feeder Toy (1 Pack)
  • HOURS OF FUN: Food is released as chickens peck at the toy, providing lots of fun
  • VERSATILE: The Lixit Chicken Toy can be filled with seeds, fruits, greens, mealworms, or whatever…
  • KEEP BOREDOM AT BAY: Help keep your flock occupied with this toy to give them exercise and…

Perches and Swings

Perches and swings are not just fun; they’re essential for your chickens. They mimic the natural environment of chickens, who naturally roost on branches. 

These toys come in various shapes and sizes. The best ones offer a fun spot for your chickens to rest, play, and observe their surroundings.

Benefits of Perches and Swings for Chickens

  • Encourages exercise. Jumping onto swings or perches helps chickens stay fit and active.
  • Promotes balance and coordination. Using these toys improves their balancing skills, key for their overall health and agility.
  • Reduces stress. Higher vantage points provide a sense of security, helping chickens relax.
  • Enhances coop space. Perches and swings utilize vertical space, making the coop more interesting and dynamic.

My Top Pick

Incorporating perches and swings into your coop layout is a great way to enhance your chickens’ living space. They provide both a physical outlet and a comforting retreat. 

My top pick for this type of chicken toy is this handmade coop swing:

Chicken Swing Toy for Coop HANDMADE in USA!!!…
  • 🐔 GREAT ADDITION TO ANY COOP OR PEN – Poultry swings are a must have for chicken owners
  • 🐔 NATURAL COMFORT FOR YOUR BIRDS -Perches allow birds to get off the ground and feel more secure
  • 🐔PERFECT FOR ANY COOP- Our swings are adjustable up to 44 inches in height and built to last

Dust Bath Areas

Dust bath areas are a must-have for any backyard flock. Chickens naturally bathe in dust to keep their feathers clean and free from parasites. 

Creating a designated dust bath area in your coop is like providing a mini-spa for your chickens. You can use a shallow box or a corner in the coop and fill it with a mix of sand, ash, and soil.

Benefits of Dust Bath Areas for Chickens

  • Natural parasite control. Dust bathing helps chickens get rid of lice, mites, and other pests.
  • Enhances feather health. Regular dust baths keep their feathers in top condition.
  • Promotes relaxation. Chickens find dust bathing incredibly relaxing, reducing stress and promoting well-being.
  • Behavioral enrichment. Dust bathing is a natural behavior, so providing a space for it allows chickens to express their instincts.

My Top Pick

Setting up a dust bath area is simple and greatly contributes to the health and happiness of your chickens. They’ll love rolling, shaking, and fluffing in their personal bath spot. My top pick for a dust bath area filler is the Pampered Chicken Mama Dust Bath:

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Mirrors

Mirrors might seem like an odd choice for chicken toys, but they’re surprisingly effective. Placing a mirror in your chicken coop can provide endless fascination for your birds. Chickens are curious creatures and often react to their reflections as if they are seeing another chicken.

Benefits of Mirrors for Chickens

  • Stimulates social interaction. Chickens may interact with their reflections, mimicking social behaviors.
  • Reduces aggression. Mirrors can divert attention and reduce pecking or aggression among the flock.
  • Promotes curiosity and engagement. The reflections keep chickens entertained and curious.
  • Easy to install. Mirrors can be easily hung or placed in the coop and require minimal maintenance.

My Top Pick

Adding a mirror to your chicken coop is a simple way to enhance your chickens’ environment. It’s fascinating to watch how they react and interact with their own reflections. My top pick for a coop mirror is this two-piece chicken mirror set:

2 Pieces Chicken Mirror Toys Hanging Swing Mirror…
  • Nice combination: you will receive 2 pieces one-sided mirrors (red and yellow) and 4 pieces beak…
  • Appropriate size: the chicken swing mirror toy measures 10 cm/ 3.94 inches by 10 cm/ 3.94 inches,…
  • Quality materials: the bird mirror hanging toys are made of wood and acrylic mirrors, and the…

Foraging Boxes

Foraging boxes are a great addition to any chicken coop. These boxes are typically filled with a mix of substrate like straw, leaves, or compost, along with treats like seeds or mealworms. 

The idea is to mimic the natural foraging environment of chickens, encouraging them to scratch and peck as they would in the wild.

Benefits of Foraging Boxes for Chickens

  • Encourages natural foraging behavior. Foraging boxes let chickens dig and scratch as they naturally would, searching for food.
  • Mental stimulation. Searching for treats in the box keeps their minds active and engaged.
  • Reduces feather pecking. By providing a distraction, these boxes can help reduce boredom-related behaviors like feather pecking.
  • Versatile and customizable. You can easily change what you put in the box to keep things interesting for your chickens.

My Top Pick

Incorporating foraging boxes in your coop is a fantastic way to provide environmental enrichment for your chickens. They’re simple to set up and can provide hours of fun for your flock. 

My top pick for a foraging box is a converted nesting box. (You add the fun stuff, like substrate, mealworms, and seeds.) Here’s a great nesting box option for this: 

Touri 3 Pack Durable Chicken Nesting Boxes for…
  • Nesting Boxes – Provide a natural, comfortable, and safe environment for the poultry during egg…
  • Nesting Boxes for Chicken – Measuring 14 1/4’’ in length x 12 1/2’’ in width x 12…
  • Durable and Soft Material – Made from durable pp plate sheet, the nesting boxes is soft,…

Xylophones and Hanging Chimes

Xylophones and hanging chimes are not just musical instruments for us; they can be delightful toys for chickens, too. These toys can be hung in the coop or run. 

When the chickens peck at them — and they will — these chicken toys produce sounds, which can be intriguing and amusing for your flock.

Benefits of Xylophones and Hanging Chimes for Chickens

  • Auditory stimulation. The sounds from xylophones and chimes provide a unique sensory experience.
  • Encourages curiosity. The unusual noises pique chickens’ interest, keeping them engaged.
  • Promotes physical activity. Pecking at these musical toys encourages movement and exercise.
  • Safe and durable. These toys are typically made from materials safe for chickens and can withstand pecking.

My Top Pick

Adding a xylophone or hanging chimes to your chicken coop introduces a new form of entertainment. It’s enjoyable not only for the chickens but also for you to watch and listen as they play. My top sound-producing toy for chickens is the Vehomy Chicken Xylophone Toy:

Vehomy Chicken Xylophone Toy for Hens Suspensible…
  • Funny Chicken Toy: The xylophone toy is special designed for chickens. There are two chains with…
  • Size and Material: The chicken xylophone toy for hens consists of wood base and metal keys. The body…
  • Function: Chickens are always attracted by crisp sounds and bright colors. This toy can provide fun…

Tunnels and Mazes

Tunnels and mazes offer a fun and interactive experience for your chickens. These structures can be simple or complex, made from materials like cardboard, wood, or safe plastics. They encourage chickens to explore and navigate through different paths, providing both mental and physical stimulation.

Benefits of Tunnels and Mazes for Chickens

  • Encourages exploration. Tunnels and mazes tap into chickens’ natural curiosity and desire to explore.
  • Enhances problem-solving skills. Navigating through mazes can be a brain-boosting activity for chickens.
  • Promotes physical exercise. Moving through these structures helps chickens stay active and healthy.
  • Variety in the coop. Adding tunnels and mazes changes up the coop environment, making it more stimulating and fun.

My Top Pick

Integrating tunnels and mazes into your chicken coop setup is an excellent way to provide a dynamic and engaging environment. It’s fascinating to watch your chickens figure out these puzzles and enjoy their adventurous side. My top pick for tunnels and mazes is this customizable chicken tunnel:

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Chicken Tunnels for Yard, Chicken Tunnels for…
  • Anti-rust Metal – Our chicken tunnel is welded with sturdy, rust-resistant metal poles, and the…
  • Easy to Assemble – These chicken coop tunnels are removable and have multiple panels that are easy…
  • Ensure Safety – The small mesh holes in our chicken tunnel fence panels keep dogs, coyotes, hawks,…

Suet Feeders

Suet feeders, traditionally used to feed wild birds, can be an excellent addition to your chicken coop. These feeders hold suet cakes, which are a mix of fat, seeds, and other ingredients that chickens love. 

Hung from a coop or a tree, they provide an enticing snack AND an activity for your chickens.

Benefits of Suet Feeders for Chickens

  • Nutritional snack. Suet is a high-energy food that can supplement your chickens’ diet, especially in colder months.
  • Encourages natural pecking. Hanging suet feeders stimulate chickens’ natural pecking and foraging instincts.
  • Keeps chickens occupied. Working to get bits of suet provides mental and physical stimulation.
  • Easy to use and maintain. Suet feeders are simple to set up and refill, making them a convenient toy option.

My Top Pick

Suet feeders are a practical and enjoyable way to enhance your chickens’ diet and environment. They’re perfect for keeping your chickens busy and satisfied. My top pick for a suet feeder is the Farmers’ Helper Original Forage Cake:

Farmers’ Helper Original Forage Cake For Chickens,…
  • Supports normal avian health
  • Ready and easy to use with minimal waste
  • Simulates natural foraging

Puzzle Feeders

Puzzle feeders are an innovative way to feed and entertain your chickens simultaneously. These feeders require chickens to interact with them in some way — pecking, pushing, or moving parts — to release food or treats. 

This interaction not only feeds your chickens but also engages their minds and satisfies their natural foraging instincts.

Benefits of Puzzle Feeders for Chickens

  • Mental stimulation. Figuring out how to access the food keeps your chickens’ brains active and engaged.
  • Mimics natural foraging. These feeders replicate the challenge of finding food, a natural behavior for chickens.
  • Reduces boredom. The interaction required with puzzle feeders keeps chickens occupied, preventing boredom-related behaviors.
  • Promotes physical activity. Chickens move around more as they interact with the feeders, encouraging exercise.

My Top Pick

Puzzle feeders are a great choice for keeping your chickens mentally sharp and physically active. They add an element of fun to feeding time and help prevent coop boredom. My top pick for a puzzle feeder is this fun and funky-shaped feeder ball:

2pcs Chicken Vegetable Feeder Ball Hanging Feeding…
  • CHICKEN FEEDER BALL: The chicken feeder ball toy is great for feeding your chicken kinds of food,…
  • CHICKEN COOP HANGING TOY: Designed to be hung in the chicken coop, the chicken vegetable feeding toy…
  • EASY TO USE: You will get 2 pieces vegetable fruit feeder balls. Put carrots, cabbage, lettuce, corn…

Hanging Fruit and Vegetable Strings

Hanging fruit and vegetable strings are a natural and nutritious way to entertain your chickens. Simply string together some chicken-safe fruits and veggies, like apples, cucumbers, or lettuce, and hang them in the coop or run. 

This setup encourages chickens to jump and peck at the swinging treats, combining feeding time with fun.

Benefits of Hanging Fruit and Veggie Strings for Chickens

  • ​​Encourages physical activity. Jumping and pecking at the hanging treats provides excellent exercise.
  • Nutritional variety. Fruits and veggies supplement your chickens’ diet with essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Mental engagement. The movement of the strings adds a challenge, keeping chickens mentally stimulated.
  • Simple and natural. This is an easy, natural way to enrich your chickens’ environment with items you might already have in your kitchen.

My Top Pick

Hanging fruit and vegetable strings are a simple, yet effective, way to add both nutrition and entertainment to your chickens’ daily routine. They’re fun for the chickens and equally enjoyable for you to watch. My top pick for hanging fruit and vegetable strings is this coop chain skewer:

winemana 3PCS Chicken Veggies Skewer Fruit Holder for Hens Pet Chick, Coop Accessories Vegetable…
  • Durable Construction: Made from stainless steel for long-lasting use and easy cleaning.
  • Versatile Design: Holds fruits and vegetables for foraging and can also be used as a hanging feeder.
  • Multi-Purpose: Great for chickens, ducks, geese, and other poultry or small animals.

Treat Toy Balls

Treat toy balls are a dynamic addition to your chicken coop. These balls, often made of durable plastic, can be filled with treats like grains, seeds, or veggies. As your chickens peck and roll the ball, treats are dispensed slowly, providing both a snack and a source of entertainment.

Benefits of Treat Toy Balls for Chickens

  • Promotes foraging behavior. The rolling action mimics the natural foraging process, encouraging chickens to work for their food.
  • Physical exercise. Chasing and pecking at the ball keeps chickens active.
  • Mental stimulation. Figuring out how to get the treats out of the ball provides mental exercise.
  • Reduces boredom and aggression. Engaging with the treat ball can help prevent boredom-related behaviors and aggression within the flock.

My Top Pick

Treat toy balls are a wonderful way to keep your chickens engaged and well-fed. They add an interactive element to feeding time and are a joy to watch in action. My top pick for a treat toy ball is this three-pack of ‘Chick-N-Veggie Balls’:

Pecking Blocks

Pecking blocks are a straightforward yet effective toy for your chickens. These blocks are usually made of compressed grains, seeds, and sometimes include added calcium or other nutrients. 

They’re hard enough to withstand constant pecking, providing a lasting challenge for your chickens.

Benefits of Pecking Blocks for Chickens

  • Long-lasting entertainment. Pecking blocks keep chickens occupied for hours, satisfying their need to peck.
  • Nutritional benefits. Many pecking blocks are fortified with vitamins and minerals, supplementing your chickens’ diet.
  • Reduces boredom and feather pecking. Engaging with a pecking block helps divert attention from potentially harmful behaviors like feather pecking.
  • Easy to introduce in coop. Pecking blocks are simple to set up and can be hung or placed in the coop with ease.

My Top Pick

Pecking blocks are a great way to provide enrichment and nutritional benefits to your chickens. They’re a favorite in many coops for their simplicity and effectiveness. My top pick for a pecking block is this candy apple-flavored treat block:

Kalmbach Feeds Henhouse Reserve Winter Candy…
  • Seasonal winter candy apple flavor!
  • Contains whole grains and vegetables for treating your chickens
  • Contains YolkProud – all natural ingredients added to promote vibrant egg yolks

With the Best Chicken Toys, Your Flock Will Never Be Bored

All the types of toys for chickens offer unique benefits, from promoting natural behaviors to keeping your chickens physically and mentally active. A happy chicken is a healthy chicken, and toys are a simple yet effective way to enhance their well-being.

Whether it’s pecking blocks, foraging boxes, or hanging treats, these toys will transform your coop into a lively and engaging environment. Yes, toys enrich your chickens’ lives, but YOU get something, too: the joy of watching them explore and play.

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