Exercise for overweight chickens

October 16, 2009 | By | Comments (3)

It’s true — our chickens are overweight. The vet told Elizabeth that part of the reason Alana got so sick was obesity and that our birds would benefit from some exercise.

Margo approached me about how to get our flock into shape. I didn’t tell her at the time, but I immediately thought of the book Yoga for Chickens, by Lynn Brunelle.


Seeing as a yoga class for chickens would probably be pretty ineffective I decided to go another route. I used chicken wire and rebar to fence off an area in the garden and let them spend the day free-ranging and enjoying the change in scenery.

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The area was part mulched path and part just-harvested beds. Both areas provided ample excitement for the girls. There were bugs! Worms! Snails! Fresh dirt to scratch!


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Ruby, so excited by all the new dirt, forgets to wipe her beak.

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Smart chickens know it’s important to stay hydrated while working out.

Hopefully between increased exercise and some potential diet changes (like not having food available 24/7) our girls will stay healthy and shed those extra pounds.


  1. liz

    That’s funny, just a week or so ago after the last harvest of our squash and zucs, we allowed our girls to roam free in the yard, they return home as the sun begins to set. As far as fencing, I place doggie gates around my artichoke plants and for longer areas I use bird/deer fencing, it’s easy to store and it’s a cheap to purchase.


    October 19, 2009 at 4:22 am
  2. KathyG

    I once visited a friend, whose roommate had set up a similar chicken wire ‘run’ all along the perimeter of the back yard, along the wooden fence. The chickens thought they had a whole yard to play in, and ever since then I’ve pictured myself someday creating a similar pen. Next year I get the chickens, so am spending the fall and winter researching and planning. Nice one.

    On a side note, I’m wondering what kinds of asanas your chickens are doing. The Stork? surely not The Cobra!

    October 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm
  3. Mimi

    That’s awesome that you found a way to make the hens both happier and healthier at the same time. It sounds like they will have a chance to get a more varied diet too. There are studies that show the eggs of pasture fed chickens are healthier for us. Google Mother Earth News and pastured eggs to find the study.

    October 17, 2009 at 7:56 pm

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