Toys for chickens?

OK … so there are chicken diapers, hen saddles and now toys for chickens.  At first I was skeptical when I heard about a new chicken toy made by www.lixit.com.  Afterall, the idea of a round egg-ish shaped toy to peck is just asking for trouble… and maybe eventually egg eating hens!   Basically you fill the toy with feed and the ends have small openings that spill a little bit of food out at each movement.  My girls don’t really need toys or get too bored because they free range and can do what ever they please- spoiled brats, I know.
During my trial run of the toy, the oldest hens (RIR & Barred Rock ages 6 years old) took charge of the toy and gave a warning peck to all other hens that even *thought* about pecking at it.  The two old ladies were pecking and scratching at this toy and didn’t give up until it was empty- which took about ten minutes. It does not seem to be easy to wash (has a thin bungee to hold it together), but is fairly cheap retailing at $3.99 and might be good to use from time to time, but in all honesty I think it might be more entertaining for humans and slightly frustrating or even troublesome to chickens.

However, most chickens living in confined systems (like a coop and run) may need to have some sort of stimuli to keep them entertained (and for exercise) and this could be one way for them to have something to do. Other ways to keep chickens entertained includes:
  • use hanging food for the chickens to jump at.  This can get old for them and for you to change out, but it works.
  • add different bedding like leaves or woodchips (or a similar mulch material) for them to dig through and throw in some corn scratch for them to hunt for daily.
Do your chickens have “toys” to keep them entertained?  Let us know!