Backyard Chickens Make Great Pets: A Bonus Of Fresh Eggs, Too!
Chickens REALLY DO Make Great Pets
Yes, you read that right! They are funny, smart, and have individual personalities. They respond to handling, they become very tame, are social, and are very entertaining.
When my children were growing up, we had chickens that just ran all over the yard except at night when they all “go home to roost”. They don’t have to be told when it’s bedtime. As soon as the sun goes down, they know to go to bed. They sleep all night. They will eat before going to roost, though.
A Little Red Wagon Like The One My Daughter Had
My Daughter's Hen Loves To Ride In Her Wagon
One of my daughters, Mara, took a liking to one little chick and began holding it and petting it. They are so soft and cuddly when they are babies. Mara was about nine years old at the time. She named the little hen simply “Chicken”. As the chicken grew it became fonder of Mara. The chicken would follow Mara wherever she went. Mara would go out into the yard to play with her little red wagon. She would call “Chicken, come.” No matter where that hen was, as soon as she heard Mara calling, she would run to her and jump into the wagon. Mara would pull Chicken all around the yard. Chicken would not jump out of that wagon no matter how fast Mara would go!
Chicken loved to chase after this one horse that was her friend. The two of them would take turns chasing each other. What a funny sight: to see a little red hen chasing a big horse!
A Red Rooster; Pretty, But Loud!
We Hoped We Didn't Get A Rooster!
Years went by. Now Mara had a daughter of her own about nine years old. We no longer lived on a farm or in the country, but Mara wanted her daughter, Cassie, to have the joy of having a chicken as a pet. We had some friends who raised chickens for food and eggs to sell. The chicken farmer said he would give my four Grandchildren each a little “biddy” when they were only a day old.
We first contacted our local zoning department to find out if there was any problem having back yard chickens. Some town won’t allow them. They said no problem, but did say we shouldn’t get a rooster. Roosters crow not only at dawn, but during the day, too. We didn’t intend to hatch out more chickens, so we didn’t need a rooster. We were told there were no restrictions in our suburb for chickens. Hens are not so nosy. The make a “bragging sound” after they lay an egg, I guess to let their chicken friends and the world know they are capable of laying an egg. When hens are happy, they actually sing, but it’s a pleasant sound, not an annoying sound.
A Nice Small Chicken Coop
We Have A Carpenter Build A Small Chicken Coop
Before we got the baby chicks, we hired a carpenter to build a small chicken coop. Some people who raise backyard chickens use an empty shed in their yard for a chicken coop. The chickens have to have a safe place to sleep at night. We have raccoons where we live, and they would love to have a chicken dinner. The chickens also need a place where they can run in out of the rain, and a place to lay their eggs. He made nesting boxes inside the chicken coop for all of the anticipated eggs. We fully intended to have these hens lay fresh eggs. Each hen should lay one egg a day. Nothing is better than a home grown egg (like a home grown tomato!) Because you control their diet, you know they will be delicious eggs.
Our Baby Chicks Arrive
The big day came when the babies arrived. Each grandchild picked out one, and promptly named it. We took a large cardboard box and rigged a 60 watt light bulb in shine into the box. Baby chicks cannot get cold. They will get sick. The first thing in the morning, the children put out fresh ground corn made just for biddies. Then they refilled their water dish. They would all four sit around the box and hold their baby chick and talk to it while they ate their breakfast of Pop Tarts. They never wanted to leave the babies to go to school.
No Rooster, Please
Now, when the chickens are first hatched, there is no way of telling their sex. We were hoping we wouldn’t get a rooster. If that had happened, we would have given that one back to the chicken farmer and he would have given us a replacement. After the chickens are half grown, you will know whether or not you have a rooster. He will have the comb on the top of his head. He will also begin to practice crowing. We were lucky: we had no rooster.
When the baby chicks were about a month old, their soft baby feathers are replaced by the real feathers. They are now ready to be introduced to the coop that will be their home. The children took their chickens out and put them into the coop. The little hens made themselves right at home. They were left inside the coop for longer periods of time each day. Then the kids opened the door, and let them go down their ramp the carpenter built and out into the yard. They immediately began to scratch around in the grass. You will never have Cinch Bugs in your lawn if you have chickens! After a while they were spending the night in the coop. The children would let them out in the morning after giving them fresh food and water. They would leave the door open so the hens could go outside to play and dig in the grass.
A Rhode Island Red Hen
One day the children raced home to play with their hens. One hen was missing. We looked and looked for her, but couldn’t find her. One of the children made a sign that said, “Lost Chicken”. They put our phone number and a description of the hen on the sign (as though anyone would find more than one hen). Then they tacked the sign to every light pole. About two hours later a lady who lived down the street came to our house holding the little hen. Everyone was so relieved. That was the last time any of the hens ever ventured out of the yard. I think the little hen realized she was lost. She didn’t want to ever get lost again!
Chickens Are Very Self Sufficient
There seems to be a renewed interest in backyard chickens for some reason. Maybe it’s because having chickens makes us feel less dependent on stores to supply us with healthier eggs and meat. We would never think of killing our pet chickens for food, but some people do.
Chicken poop makes good fertilizer. You just can’t put it on plants while it’s fresh or it will “burn” the plants. It has to be aged for two to three weeks. We kept a metal container near the coop, and when we cleaned out the coop, we saved the poop to be used later.
Chickens are very self-sufficient. They can be fed table scraps (they love vegetables). Cracked corn is good for them. Ground oyster shells is excellent because that has calcium for the chickens, and they lay healthier eggs.
Chickens Are Very Clean
Chickens are clean, too. They like to roll in the dirt to take a bath. When the children and I were researching the internet to learn how to care for chickens, we were surprised to learn that some people keep their pets in the house. They really do. This industrious person designed and is marketing a chicken DIAPER. Honest. It’s made to go underneath the tail of the chicken and it catches the poop. That doesn’t really sound great to me. I’d rather have them run in the yard, and fertilize the grass.
If having a chicken for a pet sounds good to you, I’d suggest that first of all check with your local zoning department. If they say it’s OK for you to have backyard chickens, go for it! I’d suggest you start out with just four or five to see how you and the chickens do. You’ll be rewarded with a good pet that will perform for you by laying delicious eggs while entertaining you!
My Hub On Making Deviled Eggs To Look Like Baby Chicks
- Just In Time For Your Easter Dinner: How To Make Deviled Eggs That Look Like Baby Chicks; Photos And
How to make easy and fun deviled eggs to look like baby chicks.
A great Hub about Chickens by rusticliving
- CHICKEN: Inquisitive,Observant, Reflective, Knowledgeable, Independent and Family Oriented
There she was, his Queen. A plump brown hen with a touch of gold that kissed her feathers. I could see why this rooster was in love with her. She was absolutely stunning. As she began to follow his path to the other side of the road, emerged from und
A great Hub by sadie423 about chickens
- The Benefits to Raising Your Own Backyard Chickens
An article discussing the top 10 reasons to why you should raise your own chickens.
Good Books From Amazon On Backyard Chickens
Video On Raising Backyard Chickens
© 2012 Mary Hyatt