Chicken Cabbage Tether Ball

As you can see, almost two feet of snow has fallen here at Little Pond Farm. Although Steve shoveled a flat space outside, the hens (and the rabbit!) are in the coop. A rule of thumb is to have at least four square feet per bird of interior floor space. The coop is larger than that, but still, the hens get bored indoors, and that can lead to pecking and bullying. However, it’s nothing that a rousing game of cabbage tether ball can’t fix.

(Note that I’m out of town with my oldest son touring a college. The two of us flew out before the storm arrived. Steve is home, shoveling. This now evens the score for all the times Steve was away on business and we had severe weather at home. It even pays back the time he was in sunny California, and  lightning struck our house. Thanks for shoveling, Steve!)


  1. What a GREAT idea! My chickens won’t step one foot into the snow and I fear they are bored out of their little brains. I think I will make a tether ball too!

  2. That was a hard lesson learned last winter for our flock! We have been diligent in keeping the run area with lots of straw and hay to keep them busy…and its worked! They are so happy this year. I really like the cabbage idea..I’ll have to do that! I have been watching the web cam wondering when you’d get snow! Our neighbors think I’m crazy when they hear I shovel out my chickens….

  3. Hi Terry

    Glad to hear you’re doing OK! Lots of snow here too.
    Have a safe trip home.

  4. I tried iceberg lettuce once and that lasted all of about 15 minutes. They ate that so fast it made your head spin. Cabbage definately last a lot longer. I suspect because it’s wrapped tighter ;-)

    Another activity for cooped up hens is to throw black oil sunflower seeds (or scratch grains if not feed regularly) around the coop and let the hens scratch for it.
    They love them and only get them in the winter when they could use the extra calories to stay warm. It’s also a great way to keep the litter churned.

    Terry, 2 feet of snow????!!!! If we got that here we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere for a week. It did happen in 1982 and we were basically house bound for a week. Trust me you better like the people your stranded with because I thought it would never end. I was in college at the time and my roommates almost made me homicidal.

  5. Hi Terry! See you got the snow we dealt with earlier in the week. We have had snow twice this winter and it has been the first time my dogs, chickens, and goats have ever seen it. The dogs loved it, the goats and chickens hated it. Glad we didn’t get 2 feet, hurricanes we know how to deal with, snow not so much! Have a safe trip home.

  6. OK….I guess this would not be a good time to say it will be in the 80’s this weekend in So. Cal.?????? We may be broke…(and that is another story!)… but at least the weather holds out!

  7. It’s fascinating that part of chicken nurture is keeping them amused and out of mischief. It never occurred to me that chickens got bored until one day at Pete & Jens Backyard Birds. Pete got a call that some of their chickens were bored and misbehaving. He went off to deal with them, but I doubt his solution was a clever as cabbage tether ball. Brilliant!

  8. Our hens are shut in also right now. Too much snow. I like the cabbage ball idea. I throw frozen shredded zucchini in our hens bowl that keeps them busy for a while peeking at it.