What is poultry enrichment, and why it’s important

Simply put, poultry enrichment provides your birds with an environment where they can feel relaxed and at ease. Providing this environment is essential as it will decrease negative behaviour in your birds. 

Poultry living in a confined area can get bored, just like humans. If they are not being stimulated both mentally and physically, they can lash out with destructive behaviours, such as:

  • Feather pulling. If chickens get too bored, they will start pulling out their feathers and the feathers from the other birds. Look out for bald patches on your flock, especially around the face; if you spot this, it may be time to bring in more enrichment. 
  • Stress. Health issues will likely form if birds are stressed from confinement and boredom. Keeping your flock healthy for a higher quality of life is important.
  • Overeating. Like most other animals, chickens can overeat when bored, which can cause health problems and complications within the flock.

Enrichment types 

The best way to ensure a healthy coop is by providing different ways to engage your birds mentally and physically. There are many ways that you can do this, such as:


Free-ranging is one of the simplest forms of environmental enrichment. As chickens love to forage, it is instinct for them to roam outdoors. However, it is important to ensure your free-range chickens are protected from potential predators.

To do this, consider a well-enforced fence/ coop or even adding a rooster to your flock. Roosters can protect the flock (they are known to defend by fighting off predators) and can alert if any danger is near due to their loud call. 

Pecking blocks

Pecking blocks can encourage pecking to mimic chickens’ natural foraging behaviour. They can stabilise gut health and benefit them nutritionally as they peck. Giving poultry something else to peck on will also limit the chance of feather pulling and violence. 

The Vilofoss peckstone encourages natural bird behaviours that promote happiness, such as beak sharpening, pecking, and hunting. It is suitable for laying hens, broilers, and turkeys and provides essential minerals and salts, reduces stress, and supports a healthy metabolism.

Poultry hay/bales 

Providing enough hay and bales for the number of chickens you keep will encourage other natural behaviours, such as perching and scratching, which all go towards maintaining a happier and healthier flock. These are most commonly laid out or hung on the walls to provide multiple types of enrichment with one product.

Auditory Enrichment

Chickens enjoy listening to different sounds. For example, playing music (classical is best) will help stimulate your birds mentally. For a bit of fun, you can even hang some bells or place a toy xylophone out so the chickens can experiment with making sounds themselves. 


Using mirrors as a visual enrichment can help with mental stimulation. Your birds will become curious, encouraging them to think more about their surroundings. 

Hanging food

Setting up hanging vegetables will act as a treat for your birds. This is a very cost-effective way to keep your flock happy and healthy, providing fun and nutrients.  

The effect enrichment can have on your flock. 

It is proven that maintaining a constant standard of enrichment for your birds will improve egg production and quality and bring positive feelings to your flock, reducing stress and the bad behaviours commonly found in coops. 

It is important to ensure that you are swapping in and out types of enrichment, as chickens can get bored of the same kinds of enrichment if they are in the coop for a short time. 
At AFS Supplies, we have a range of nutrients and supplements for poultry that will further enhance their health. For more information on our products, visit our website or call us on 01842 765 634 to speak to a member of our expert team.