Benefits of Raising Chickens as Pets
Chickens can be very friendly and entertaining and are easily trained, even as adults. They will come running when offered a treat. Baby chicks are particularly fun and easy to raise. Chicks from a petting zoo (where they often sell the surplus) are a good bet since they will have been handled a lot.
Chickens have distinct and interesting personalities. A group of chickens will form a social hierarchy and it is fun to watch this happening.
Another advantage of raising chickens is that hens can provide their owner with a steady supply of eggs.
Things to Consider
Some states have laws regulating the raising of farm animals. Some cities do not allow chickens and others allow hens but not roosters (due to their loud crowing). In the country though, it’s usually okay to have chickens.
It’s pretty difficult to raise a house chicken; it is best for a chicken to be outdoors most of the day in a tall, fenced area.
Dogs and chickens are not the best combination since it is extremely difficult to train a dog to ignore its natural instinct to kill chickens.
Chickens should be provided with layer’s pellets or layer’s mash (powder form) in the mornings and pre-mixed grain in the afternoon, with clean, fresh water available at all times. Chickens will also eat anything they find in the garden including snails, slugs, earwigs and the flowers.
The Chicken Coop
During the day chickens can wander around the garden but at night they need a safe place to sleep. One banty or even a few can sleep in a dog carrier but larger breeds may require a coop of up to 6 square feet per chicken. The coop should contain perches on various levels and a place for laying eggs. A broom handle or branch makes for an excellent perch. In an area where wild animals roam, it may be necessary to keep the chickens in a coop at all times.
Breeds which make good pets are the prettier and not so nervous ones. These include :
- Chinese Silky Chickens
- Pekin Bantams
- Plymouth Rock