This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy for details.

Brooder Box Boredom Busters for Chicks

in ,
Bored baby chicks can start pecking and getting into trouble. Here are some of my favorite boredom busters for the brooder.

Living within the confines of a brooder box, whether it be a plastic tote or cardboard box, can get boring for baby chicks. Boredom lead to bullying, pecking and all sorts of other problems. 

Studies have shown that baby chicks (as well other types of baby animals) do far better if offered enrichment tools and the opportunity to "play".

Help keep your brooder babies from getting bored with these easy to implement Brooder Box Boredom Busters for Chicks.

Say that three times fast! 

First and foremost, be sure that your chicks have ample room to move around in their brooder and are neither too hot nor too cold. A red heat lamp is is more calming and makes the chicks less conducive to peck at each other.

Fresh feed and water is a must. And bedding that's cleaned regularly and changed out when it gets too dirty or wet is imperative.  

After you've got all that covered, it's time to implement some ideas to keep your chicks entertained and out of trouble. Bored baby chicks can start pecking at each other, trying to escape and just generally getting into trouble. 

Here are some of my favorite boredom busters for the brooder. Most of them encourage the baby chicks to imitate grown-up behavior to get them ready for when they're living outside in the chicken coop.

Brooder Box Boredom Busters for Chicks

Roosting Bars | 

As young as a few days old, your chicks will have fun hopping onto perches and practicing balancing. I use thin dowels for them when they're this small, but you can also use small branches as well.

They probably won't sleep on the them until they are much older, but the roosting bars keep them busy and active in the brooder.

Clumps of Dirt and Grass | 

Bring the outdoors inside and put some clumps of grass with the dirt attached in the brooder. The chicks love nibbling on the grass and scratching in the dirt to look for bugs and worms.

Two added benefits of this boredom buster, the dirt doubles as grit they need to help digest the grass and you're exposing them to small amounts of the pathogens and bacteria outside that they will eventually be living among. 

This helps build up their immune systems naturally.

Weeds | 

Along with some clumps of grass, pick some weeds for your little ones to munch on. You can chop them into small pieces or leave them in clumps for them to nibble off short bits themselves.

Baby chicks will especially enjoy dandelion greens and chickweed.

Fresh Herbs | 

Chicks will also happily munch on fresh herbs. Hang herbs like sage, parsley, basil and cilantro for them to nibble on. All the culinary herbs have such great health benefits for the chicks.

Set up a Dust Bath | 

As young as a week old, chicks will start squirming around in the shavings on the floor of your brooder, trying to take dust baths. Fill a small container with loose dirt and let them practice taking dust baths.

As the chicks grow, give them progressively larger containers to bathe in. The dirt also serves as the"grit" your chicks need to digest their food, and it provides a bit of an immune system boost because you're bringing more of the outside environment inside - which is always a good thing.

Add a Mirror  | 

Go ahead and laugh but before you write me off as crazy, try hanging a mirror in your brooder.

You will be amazed at just how much time a chick will spend, just standing and gazing at her reflection! I small handheld mirror works great. It doesn't have to be large.

Herbal Sachets | 

Sew up calming herbal sachets for your chicks using lavender, chamomile and other calming herbs. Not only will the herbs help settle your chicks down for the night, they love to snuggle up to them. 

Both our chicks and ducklings love to snooze on the sachets.

Piles of Stuff | 

Give your chicks little piles of dirt, straw, pine needles, dried leaves - really anything they can go through looking for yummy bugs and seeds. 

It's good practice for them getting outside and foraging.  You can also sprinkle some dried grubs or little seeds in as well for them to look for.

Spend Time with Them | 

The more you handle and spend time with the chicks, the more apt they are to be friendly, affectionate hens.

Don't keep any one chick out of the brooder for too long, they still need to be kept under the heat for the most part, so if she starts peeping loudly, she's ready to go back. 

But make it a point to spend time holding each chick, talking to them, hand feeding treats, etc. Give them the opportunity to run around in the grass a bit (always supervised, making sure they can't slip away and get stuck underneath something where you can't retrieve them), chase each other and flap their wings.

I hope you're try these things with your spring chicks and just say NO to bored chicks! You'll be glad you did. They'll grow up happier and healthier for your efforts.

Pin This!