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How to Make an Inexpensive Swing for Chickens (from Materials You Probably Have on Hand)

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Make a DIY chicken swing from items you probably already have on hand. It’s easy and it’s instant entertainment for you AND your hens!

black chicken on a swing made from a branch

I never thought I’d care about an animals’ well-being like I do with my chickens. Lilly cat can roam free and do things that satisfy her crazy little cat soul like bolt through the yard and climb up a tree as if she has part monkey in her. My chickens, however, are a whole different story.

I currently live on less than 3/4 of an acre without a dividing fence at the property line (this is something Scott and I are both hoping will happen this year), so when we built our chicken coop we had to keep those things in mind.

Our enclosed run and coop is 8 feet wide by 17 feet long. The inside of the chicken coop is fairly large, but if you’ve ever raised chickens before, you know that they tear their space up quickly. Desolate area = no bugs = bored chickens.

Or at least that’s what I think and therefore worry about. I can’t have bored chickens!

Solving my problem on the cheap

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Thinking creatively, I was inspired to create a chicken swing. That had to be the solution, right? A swing for chickens! I turned to my backyard for materials to create a DIY chicken swing without going to the store or spending any money.

The broken down chain link fence on the south side of our property is overgrown with small trees. (This was the only time I’ve been thankful for our messy fence line.) I scouted the fence line and there it was — the perfect branch for a chicken swing. With a rusty old saw and some elbow grease, I sawed the tree down. With help of my husband of course. Lots of help — like 80% of the work help. 🙂

Side note: If you don’t have a small tree hanging around, look up to see if any trees in your yard could use some trimming.

Making a swing for chickens

You’ll need:

  • a 3′ length of wood (roughly)
  • Saw
  • Rope (1/2″ in diameter)
  • Drill (a cordless drill is handy)
  • Drill bit (5/8″) use a bit larger than the size of your rope
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • An extra pair of hands

Saw down your tree branch or gather alternative materials for the swing (think: scrap wood). Shave off the ends. Don’t leave any pieces of wood that could hurt your chickens.

Next, drill holes on both ends of the tree branch (you want your drill bit to be a bit larger than the circumference of the rope you’re using).

man in orange shirt with a hand saw

Figure out how long you want the swing for your chickens to be. Measure and cut your rope to the length desired. Be sure to give yourself at least a foot extra for tying knots and attaching to your structure. Feed one piece of rope through one end of your tree branch and tie a good knot. Repeat for the other end.bearded man in a long sleeved orange shirt, holding a swing for chickens

Using your extra pair of hands, have one person hold the swing so you can attach it to an upper beam on your chicken coop. Tie the knot securely and do the same for the other side. Push down on the swing to make sure your knots will not come undone.

Let the girls swing!

Next, marvel at your piece of art work and anxiously and impatiently hope one of your chickens will jump up and start swinging.

bearded man in orange shirt placing a hen on a swing for chickens

Related: Do You Need Supplemental Light in the Chicken Coop?

Everyone wants to see their chickens swing, right? Or, if you’re like my husband, you can try and give a loving nudge and show your chickens how it’s done.

Originally published January, 2015. 

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Meet the Author

Loriel Adams

Loriel is on a journey to a more natural life and hopes to inspire those around her by writing about her stories on her blog Naturally Loriel. She lives an abundant life with her husband Scott, toddler Andrew, a crazy little Lilly cat and a flock of 8 chickens. She’s a dreamer of self-sufficiency, a lover of all things sweet, and has a knack for story-telling.

19 comments… add one
  • Marie Jan 10, 2015, 7:47 am

    Did they like the swing? Mine like perches, but I haven’t noticed that they’re crazy about perches that move.

    • Loriel Jan 10, 2015, 12:10 pm

      Marie, I’m pretty sure I saw the swing moving back and forth from one of them but I haven’t caught them in the action yet. Maybe I need to bring some new girls on that are more spunky!

  • Malia @ Small Town Girl Jan 10, 2015, 9:26 am

    That is the cutest coolest thing EVER!! I love this. I don’t have chickens but want to in the future. Pinned for later 🙂

    • Loriel Jan 10, 2015, 12:10 pm

      🙂 Thank you! Hope you get them soon!

  • Doug Newman Jan 16, 2015, 5:57 pm

    I had one similar to what you made only it was about 9 feet long and was a Forked branch with three ropes.. I found that my Guinea hens and a couple of my Flying Chickens were the only ones that used it and I think it was because They all had the capability flight and had no fear in flying off or landing on it..
    At night the Guinea hens would dominate it, and stay on it rather than go in the coop,, unless it was going to Rain,, Then they became coop birds on their own,, and I never found their predictions to be wrong..
    —30—

  • Parker Jan 26, 2015, 5:09 pm

    I bet the chickens have a hard time getting up there. But good idea!

  • Jennifer Connell Jul 16, 2015, 9:34 am

    It is so nice to see people joining me in getting chickens swinging! Thank you for helping me get the word out by sharing my patented and copyrighted idea with a DIY swing. Providing your chickens a range of activities is stimulating for them and the people who care for them. I love DYI ideas! I can’t help but suggest ways to improve design, for more successful swinging. If you added some 4″ eye hooks ( use a washer and large bolt on underside, to keep it from coming loose) then tied the rope to the eye bolts, it would provide it more stability. If you are going to use a long branch like that, you could also use something over the rope, tube or something, to keep it from looping on dismount, and possibility of snagging a bird in it. To take out the spin after dismount ,or if a chicken jumped up on one side, you could add a cross member. though chickens love back and forth.Spin can scare them.Love your blogs. Good luck coopers! – Jennifer Connell

  • Lisa Mar 30, 2016, 2:46 am
  • federoff11 May 5, 2017, 4:32 am

    So we live in Arizona. All of our branches are prickly and unsuitable for a swing. Is there any reason I can’t use a well-sanded wooden dowel?

    • Kris Bordessa May 9, 2017, 7:19 am

      None at all.

  • tom malcolm May 21, 2017, 4:21 pm

    I put a swing up this last winter but I’ve never seen one of our chickens on it or try to get on it. Did I do something wrong? It’s only 4 inches off the ground.

    • Kris Bordessa Jun 13, 2017, 11:46 am

      Chickens are just persnickety. 😉 Depends on the bird.

    • Jenn Jun 20, 2017, 4:31 am

      May not be high enough to be of interest?

    • gary Jul 31, 2018, 8:12 am

      It needs to be higher about a foot or two

  • Stevie Forman Nov 3, 2017, 8:59 am

    Ha ha……I love that your husband was trying to show the chicken how its done.I could see my husband doing the exact same thing lol. Thanks for your ideas.

  • Molly Schiff Jun 12, 2018, 2:54 am

    Love it! Your “Lilly the Cat” (I take it the gray one) looks almost like my “Speedy the Cat”. I’m 73 and no longer have a husband or an “extra pair of hands” around….but I still do my own carpentry work, so will have no problem making a swing with your easy directions and a step stool. THANKS! My chickens will love you!

  • Frances Nelson Sep 25, 2019, 9:57 am

    I built one when I first saw your post. About 2 years ago. Have yet to catch anyone using it…perhaps I’ll do a swing tutorial.
    It looks cool, though.

  • JIllian Aug 13, 2020, 10:27 am

    I have made two different swings for my chickens, one inside their coop area and one in their play area which is also enclosed… And the chickens won’t have anything to do with either one! My chickens are almost 6 months old… Have I introduced the swing too late? I have tried to lovingly nudge them onto the swings and they freak out and won’t have anything to do with them. How can I get them to warm up to the swing and actually enjoy it?

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 18, 2020, 7:34 am

      I guess it’s like people? Some people like roller coasters, others do not?

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