I really like to free range my chickens every day when it’s possible, but sometimes keeping them cooped up for a short time is unavoidable. When I have to do that, it helps to have a source of green foods in the coop and things to keep the flock occupied. Without green foods, the eggs can become as pale as store bought. And without something to keep them busy, half my girls go broody out of boredom, and my two boys can find nothing better to do than fight! This Spring, Mr. Fix It built the chickens a couple of grazing frames.
Grazing Frames are easy to assemble. I could have done it myself, but Mr. Fix It likes to feel useful 🙂
We made our grazing frames about 3′ x 5′.
Materials for each frame:
- 2 – 8′ long 2×4’s
- 5′ length of 3′ wide hardware cloth
- 3/4″ poultry net staples
- Grass seed (or you could try this special Forage Blend)
We just cut each 8′ board into a 5′ section and a 3′ section.
Then we nailed them together into a 5×3 rectangle.
Mr. Fix It stapled the hardware cloth over one side, and the grazing frame was done. So simple!
We planted grass seed in the chicken run, laid the grazing frame over the top, and just watered and waited for it to grow. (Have you ever heard of “waiting for grass to grow? Yeah – that’s what it feels like!)
We made a second one, and when this one is fully grown in, we’ll put in the second and plant it. The chickens can eat the grass as it grows up through the wire. If you keep your chickens cooped up all the time, you can just leave it this way for a constant source of fresh grass for your flock.
But if you normally free range, like we do, you might like the way we will use ours. One day when we have to leave them cooped up, we’ll move the first frame and let them scratch and enjoy the grass. I expect it to last about 10 minutes – but they’ll thoroughly enjoy those 1o minutes! And then we’ll move the frame to a newly planted section and start again.
Here are some other great ideas for keeping cooped up flocks occupied!
- Lots of different treats from Fresh Eggs Daily
- Several good ideas from Chicken Breeds List
- Love this idea from that a reader shared on Backyard Chickens Forums
Do you have any other great ideas to keep your bored chickens healthy and happy? Please share them in the comments!