Raising Pet Chickens is Fun And Easy.
Instead of a cat or dog, get some pet chickens. Pet chickens have all the benefits of traditional pets, plus many more. Almost any backyard, no matter how small, can raise a few chickens. And you'll want them outside, because frankly, chickens make lousy house pets, but great outdoor pets. Here are 5 reasons to convince you of the benefits of pet chickens.
1) They produce healthy eggs. Very few animals produce food without giving up their own lives, and chickens are one of them. Chickens start laying eggs at about 24 weeks old, and will then lay a new egg every 18 hours or so. The eggs from free range chickens are particularly good for you with 1/3 less cholesterol, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene. The reason is that free range chickens are able to walk around, get exercise, and have a more varied diet than factory farm chickens. You do not need a rooster around for chickens to lay eggs. You will need a rooster if you want the eggs to hatch into baby chicks.
2) Easy care. You will need a simple chicken house for a couple of reasons. First, chickens like to perch at night and if you don't provide a perch in a house for them, they might roost in your trees, fences, or other places inconvenient for you and them. Second, a chicken coop provides a place for nests for them to lay their eggs, or again, you might find eggs in inconvenient places. Finally, it's a place to keep them and their food dry when it rains.
But other than the chicken coop, all you need to is fill up their feeder and water bucket and they are good for a week. If you're going on vacation, consider setting out another water bucket. Furthermore, chickens they are self-grooming. You don't ever need to take your chickens in to be shaved or washed. And if you're wondering what to feed chickens, don't worry. They eat a cheap dry mash that cost around $25 for a 50 lb bag, and if you want to give them a treat, see the last paragraph.
3) Soft and snugly. Baby chicks are balls of wonder-fluff, little more than over-sized cotton balls with legs. Cradling a peeping fuzz ball in your hands is fun, but unfortunately it doesn't last as chicks grow fast. But if you spend time with your chickens as they grow and feed them by hand, they will become accustomed and friendly to you. Even after they are adults, they will come up to you and let you pick them up. And the backs of their legs keep the soft downy fluff they had as chicks.
4) Personal Attention is Optional. You don't have to take your chickens for walks. You can go to the yard and hold them, hand feed them, carry them around, and pet them. Then you might get busy and have to ignore them for a week. They don't care. You don't have to feel guilty. A chicken won't scratch at your door for attention or start howling because it is lonely. A group of chickens will keep themselves company. While your chickens will certainly appreciate whatever treats you bring them, they won't beg for attention.
5) Lawn care. Chicken manure fertilizer is rich in nitrogen and helps lawns grow green and thick. Placing heaps of raw chicken manure directly on your lawn would burn it, so the best thing to do is have a random distribution system that leaves small dollops of fertilizer on your lawn through out the day. In other words, a chicken. Four to six chickens on a 2000 sq ft lawn has been just fine for my family. More than six chickens might tear up the lawn a bit, as they do like to scratch the lawn with their talons. But less than six chickens is great for de-thatching the lawn. Also, chickens will eat the little bugs, flies, mosquitoes, and ticks that sometimes inhabit your lawn. It's fun to see the chickens running frantically after a small lawn fly and pecking it out of the air.
Pet chickens are becoming popular pets for these reasons and more. Check with your local zoning laws if you are in the suburbs, but you may be surprised to find out a few chicken are already allowed. Unfortunately, rooster typically will not be allowed in the suburbs because of the crowing.
As final bonus, chickens will happily eat almost any table scrapes, so don't forget to give them your leftovers. Especially things like peas, carrots, corn cobs, and melon rinds, potato peels, left over pasta, moldy bread, etc.. Keeping chickens is satisfying and fun. Consider expanding your family by a few chickens.
To see how chickens compare to dogs as pets, and my other chicken-based articles, check out: