If you want your backyard chickens to be happy and healthy, you should consider investing in the best chicken toys. Naturally, backyard birds need food, a workout routine, and a safe and clean space to live in.
But, more often than not, these birds can get bored. Boredom in chickens can cause a variety of problems, many of which have negative repercussions on their egg production and overall health.
In this post, we’ll look at a number of decent chicken toys available for sale these days, but we’ll also give you some tips on how you can select the best ones and how you can make your own.
- Do chickens need toys?
- Best chicken toys reviews
- A guide on buying safe chicken toys
- Make your own chicken toys
- How else can you prevent your chickens from getting bored?
Do chickens need toys?
Mental and physical stimulation is essential in order for a chicken to remain healthy throughout its life.
Usually, there is a set hierarchy within a chicken group, but if there isn’t enough space to roam in and they have no entertainment opportunities, these birds are known to develop a range of bad behaviors.
Here are some examples of unusual behaviors that stressed and bored chickens can exhibit:
- Egg eating
- Feather pulling
There are ways of circumventing the necessity of you having to add chicken toys to the coop, especially in the cold season, when there’s no stimulation from the sun, grass, insects, or anything else that might exist in their environment.
You could spend more time with them, talk to them, clean their coop more often, and generally interact with them more. However, not everyone who wants to raise backyard chickens has that much time on their hands.
If you are one of those people, buying a set of chicken toys can prevent these negative behaviors and save you a lot of headaches in the future.
Also, we’d like to note that once cannibalism appears in a group of chickens, it can be very challenging to eliminate. That’s why preventing it with entertainment options is a far better idea.
Best chicken toys reviews
Since the task of finding the right chicken toy can take a lot of time and effort, we’ve decided to take over and suggest some of the most critically acclaimed choices out there. Check them out below!
1. Ware Manufacturing Chick-N-Veggie Treat Ball
This treat ball rolls around, which means that it can provide your backyard birds with a lot of fun. It’s sizable enough to fit a whole head of lettuce, measuring approximately 7 inches in length and width.
There’s no limit as to what you can put in it. Veggies are a great choice, but you can add leftover fruit or whatever seems to fit in it. Since it’s easy to use and it rolls with little to no effort, it can become one of your chickens’ favorites.
- You can hang the treat ball in a designated place or leave your birds to roll it around
- It’s large enough to fit a head of cabbage or lettuce
- It’s made of quality material, meaning it’s going to last for a decent amount of time
- The rolling mechanism can be a little stiff in the beginning, so we suggest trying to wear it out before handing it over to your birds.
2. BWOGUE Wooden Chicken Flexible Ladder
Backyard birds are adventurous, which means that they love to have a broad vision over their environment and see whatever is happening. Installing this flexible ladder can allow your hens and roosters to be at the top of the situation all the time.
The ladder is available in two sizes — a 31.5-inch one and a 47.2-inch one, so pick the one that best suits the breed of chickens that you raise. It can be installed in coops and in the chicken run, and it’s made with quality materials, which is a plus.
- The steel and wooden construction is both safe and durable
- It comes in a vivid color design
- Very easy to install even by less tech-savvy individuals
- It works best for smaller breeds of chickens as heavier ones can find it unstable
3. Vehomy Chicken Swing
All birds, whether parrots and parakeets or chickens, like to have a broad view of their living space. This swing can make it possible for your backyard birds to rest comfortably, but also pay attention to whatever is happening in their run.
The swing is made with safe materials, so if your poultry begins to peck on it, you don’t have to worry about them developing any health conditions. You can install the product anywhere you like, as its setup process is very straightforward.
- Made of chicken-safe materials
- Comes in a colorful design
- It arrives preassembled and you can merely hang it on the coop ceiling thanks to its steel hook
- Once again, this swing is best used for smaller and lighter breeds of chickens
4. Vehomy Chicken Xylophone Toy
If you didn’t know this, chickens are particularly musical birds. They react to the sounds they make to each other while communicating, but they’re also easily stimulated by music.
This xylophone is a great option if you want to provide your birds with some entertainment in a safe way. It’s made of non-toxic materials since it’s constructed from wood and metal, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
- The xylophone features differently colored keys
- It comes with a floral-shaped stone and two extra chains
- The product can be hanged or laid flat on the floor
- Some customers note that they expected the xylophone to be larger
5. Ware Manufacturing Peck N Play Chicken Ball Toy
As basic as it might seem due to its simple design, this ball toy can provide your backyard birds with hours of entertainment. It’s made of durable plastic, and it encourages your chickens to engage in a little exercise so that they keep being healthy for as long as possible.
You can put a variety of tasty things inside the ball, whether mealworms, fresh veggies or pieces of fruit or any other kind of treats. You can get this product either in a pack of 3 balls or buy one to see whether your chickens like it.
- The durable construction makes this ball toy capable of standing the test of time
- It’s easy to fill with lots of treats
- It can be rolled around with little to no effort
- Some treats can get stuck inside, and you also have to clean it regularly.
6. Vehomy Chicken Foraging Hanging Toys
Having been constructed using natural materials, this group of toys is perfectly safe to give to your chickens. It also comes in bright colors, and since we all know that chickens can distinguish between several different ones, they’ll love it.
The nice thing about this option is that it boasts an almost indestructible design, so you are not going to be forced to get a replacement anytime soon. Since it’s on the larger side of things, this one works for backyard birds and larger pet birds, too.
- Made of loofah, so it’s perfectly safe to give to your poultry
- All of the materials are pet-friendly and biodegradable
- Colorful design stimulates the chickens to play with it
- While most chickens are attracted to it, there are some that don’t show any interest in it at all.
7. Lixit Chicken Feeder Toy
Boasting a straightforward design, this feeder toy is another option that you should look into. It’s made of chicken-safe materials, and it comes with a pretty rugged design, so it has a good chance of standing the test of time.
You can fill the ball with anything your chickens like from an actual mix of grains and seeds to mealworms or ground-up nuts. Unfortunately, it won’t work with pieces of veggies or fruit as they might get the mechanism stuck.
- Made of rugged materials
- Easy to fill with a variety of treats and foods for your chickens
- Can be rolled around by multiple birds so they can play soccer with it
- If the birds jump on the ball, they can accidentally open it up.
A guide on buying safe chicken toys
What are the most important aspects that you should bear in mind when shopping for chicken toys? We put together a list of the essential factors and have listed them in the buying guide below.
The materials that the toys are made of matter a lot. If they contain dangerous chemicals, they can both endanger your chickens’ health, but they can also remain in their body for longer periods of time.
What this means is that the chemicals can be passed on to the eggs, which you could eat, or remain in the chickens’ meat, which you can consume, as well.
Therefore, opting for chicken toys that are made of safe and natural materials can ensure both your birds’ and your own health.
Plastic can be a reasonable choice, too, as long as it doesn’t contain BPA and is marketed as chicken-safe. Wood and metal are two materials that are also safe.
Furthermore, since most commercial toys for chickens come in a variety of colors, make sure that the dye that was used on them was non-toxic, too.
The sturdiness and resilience of the toy should play an important part in your decision-making process. After all, if some small parts can be detached, they can present a choking hazard.
Type of toys
As you might have noticed if you took the time to browse through our selection of products, chicken toys don’t come in the same shape or size, and they don’t even have the same purpose.
For example, some are made in the form of treat containers that you can fill with mealworms, seeds, nuts, or anything else that your chickens like. There are several that are sizable enough for you to fit full veggies inside them.
Some toys can be hung on the ceiling of the coop so that the birds peck at them all day long, whereas others can simply be rolled around, like a treat ball.
This is a different category altogether, and it doesn’t have to feed your chickens. The xylophone and swings that we have described above are a great example. Chickens respond to a variety of stimulants from the sounds that a weird toy makes to the way it looks.
Did you know that chickens are not colorblind and that they can distinguish four types of color? They can see blue, red, light green, as well as ultraviolet light. In general, all birds can distinguish several shades and colors more than humans can.
This means that the fact that chicken toys are heavily colored isn’t just a marketing trick — it’s actually for the benefit of the birds, as they enjoy this variety. So, it’s up to you to pick the right kind of toy for your chickens, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt if it came in several colors.
As much as we all love chickens, they aren’t the gentlest and tidiest of birds, so they can get a little rough with each other or the things in their living space. If you get a hanging toy, make sure that you set it up properly.
If you are worried about the setup or assembly process, just have a look at several chicken toy reviews before opting for a particular product.
Make your own chicken toys
Buying chicken toys nowadays isn’t the most difficult of tasks, especially since most of these products don’t even tend to cost a fortune. However, if you want to use your own creativity to put together some chicken toys, you can do just that.
The important thing to keep in mind is that these birds react better to toys that stimulate their mental and physical side.
The rolling balls that we mentioned in our selection, for instance, make an excellent choice as they release treats or give the chicken something yummy to nibble on while convincing the bird to keep exercising.
Here are some ideas if you want to make some DIY chicken toys instead of having to purchase them.
- Use your kids’ toys
If you’ve ever bought your children a xylophone, even if it’s on the larger side of things, you should know that it might make the perfect toy for your chickens. After all, some kids lose their interest in their toys as they grow up or they just get bored with them.
Even plastic Easter eggs can be repurposed if you poke holes into them and fill them with seeds or mealworms. It’s easy to get creative when you have some things that are just hanging around the house and not serving any purpose.
Here are some examples of kid toys that make great chicken toys if you make some adjustments to them:
- Plastic rings
- Lightweight balls
- Kid-safe mirrors
- Walking toys
- Hang leftovers or plants around the coop
If you get some hooks from a warehouse store, whether online or offline, you can attach them to some string and create little pinatas for your chickens to play with.
In this case, too, you can fill them with a variety of things from fruit to grains, so they can act like treat toys. You wouldn’t believe how interested in them chickens can get, especially while they stay cooped up indoors during the winter.
- Use plastic bottles to make rolling treat dispensers
Round plastic bottles can make the perfect treat dispensers if you just poke several holes into them. Naturally, some will get damaged after some time, so you will need to replace them.
But if you drink soda anyway and you have any leftover plastic bottles in your home, why not use them instead of chucking them in the bin?
- Build a swing
For this task, you will need several more materials and a little bit of commitment, too. Ideally, you should use wood for any ladder, perch, or swing that you want to build, as well as natural or pet-safe string and some metal parts.
If you decide to make your own swing, you might even do a better job than the manufacturers of a commercial one.
Do you know why? Because most of the chicken swings that you will come across are made for small to medium chicken breeds and they can’t sustain the weight of a bigger and heavier rooster, for instance.
How else can you prevent your chickens from getting bored?
If you don’t want to see any bad behaviors in the chickens you raise, you have to provide them with means of entertaining themselves almost all the time.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to build your own toys and you don’t want to buy them, either, there are still some ways in which you can prevent boredom.
- Give your chickens hard-shelled foods (boiled eggs), pumpkins, or watermelon for them to peck and nibble at for hours
- Place a decomposing log into your chicken run, and they’ll peck at it. Roll it around once every couple of days to expose the bugs underneath it.
- Create a compost pile where you dump all your green weeds, and they’ll have a new place to investigate
- Put together outside roosts or stumps
- Make sure that they have enough dust to take a bath in