Using fall leaves in the chicken run.

When I put the baby Guinea fowl into the chicken run again this morning I noticed they looked kinda, well....bored! These little keets go in the covered run every day by themselves till they're big enough to play outside without the big kids picking on them. I suppose after awhile that would get boring, so I decided to find them something to do.

Chicken in leaves, coop run

It's important to try to alleviate boredom in chickens and guineas, especially when confined. Boredom can cause:
Feather pulling to themselves and others
Pecking each other
Pecking order problems
Injury to the bullied chickens
Egg eating

Obviously none of these are desirable in a confined flock. The obvious solution would be to alleviate their boredom. You could go the fancy route and buy swings and toys but I prefer a more natural (and free) approach and so that's how I ended up with the leaf solution to flock boredom.

Using dry leaves in the chickens run

I gave the guinea keets some leaves to play in and boy did they have a good time! It was simple really, I just raked up some dry leaves and threw them in the run.

Lots of little bugs hide in leaves (like momma said....never jump in a leaf pile, you'll get ticks!) and chickens and guineas love bugs. There's also lots of little bits of grasses and weed seeds that get raked up with them. The leaves are organic and they break down to almost nothing. 

leaves, chicken coop

It's better if the leaves are dry, but even the wet ones will break down eventually. Do not throw wet matted leaves into the run though. These will likely just lay there and rot and the chickens will ignore them instead of playing in them. Fluffy leaves with a bit of rain on them are ok though. favorite part...they're FREE! Nothing like free litter for the run and you can even use leaves inside the coop. With all the $$ we spend on sand, shavings, straw and hay I really like these Autumn months of free run filler! 

These little keets had so much fun, I decided to rake a few piles of leaves into both the silkie runs and the big guinea run. Try it, your chickens will love it too!


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  1. I do this every fall too! It keeps the ground dry in the coop, makes excellent material for composting in the spring and keeps the chickens entertained!

  2. I agree...they seem to love it!