Chickens: More Than Just Farm Animals
Do chickens make good pets? The short answer is yes, chickens have great personalities! Keep reading for our top tips on what to know before buying a pet chicken.
You’ll need a chicken coop and, unless one of them is injured, they do remain outside. Your coop should include four square feet of space for each chicken and allow for a place to roost. However, to keep your chickens safe from predators (raccoons, coyotes, opossums, hawks, and foxes), your coop should have a roof structure and a door that can be securely latched shut.
Is it illegal to have chickens as pets? Some cities have ordinances against having roosters within city limits, but typically laws permit hens as pets. Also, check with your homeowner association. Depending on your outdoor space, you can determine if they will fit your lifestyle. Research breeds to see which fits your family’s lifestyle. Most recommend Silkies or Rhode Island Reds. Social animals, chickens fare best when they have friends, and they need attention from their owners as well.
Chickens forage for insects as well as berries, and seeds but also need supplemental feed. Look for one which includes at least 16% protein; they also enjoy many fruits, vegetables, and dairy. As omnivores, they’ll eat meat if they find the opportunity, but refrain from giving them anything processed. Benefits to your family include fresh eggs! Each hen produces enough eggs for one person so adjust according to your diet and the number of people in your home.
Chickens provide great pest control for your yard, and their poop functions as fertilizer for your garden. Chickens do carry salmonella and other types of bacteria, requiring lots of sanitizing if you bring them indoors. Always wash your hands after handling your chickens, and wash eggs before eating them.
You’ll need a specific type of vet to see to your chicken’s needs. With their delicate structures, they can get sick without the owner realizing until it’s too late. However, it’s possible to take care of them with some diligence, research, and a willingness to learn!