Are Chickens Man's New Best Friend?
Chickens are quickly becoming a common family pet. But the real question is, do they make better pets than dogs? Welcome to the ultimate dog vs chickens showdown. Disclaimer, we are comparing pet qualities, not working qualities like “the ability to pull a sled, herd sheep, or cure the common cold in soup form.”
Dog eats chicken. There's no way around this point, so let's get it out in the open. Dogs are descended from wolves whereas chickens are descended from jungle fowl. Dogs out weight, out think, and out fight chickens. +1 to dogs
Chickens are good for your lawn. A couple of chickens wandering around your lawn, scratching the grass, eating mosquitoes and lawn flies is healthy for you lawn. Chicken poop is high in nitrogen and in small, disbursed quantities will help your lawn grow thicker and greener. Compare this to dog leavings which will leave scattered dead spots across your lawn. +1 to chickens
Dogs need walks. Chickens won't walk with you. Exercise is important for a dog's health. This is great if you enjoy walking. Going on walks isn't an option with your chickens. Your chickens will get all the exercise they need walking around your yard. Depending on whether you enjoy walking or not this could be a good or bad thing about dog or chicken ownership. Tie
Chickens produce eggs. And not just any eggs, healthy, farm-fresh eggs. The exercise and diet that farm chickens get contribute to eggs with 1/3 less cholesterol, 7 times more beta carotene, and 3 times more vitamin E than factory farm chickens. Dogs don't produce any food. +1 to chickens
Dogs can be loving, comforting animals. Dogs will lay their head in your lap as you pet them. Tame chickens will run up to you and let you pet them, but as the chicken realizes no food is fourth coming, they will squat closer to the ground and try to scoot away as you pet them. Dogs will run and play with you out of sheer joy and love. +1 to dogs
Escape risk. Dogs will break down, push over, dig under, and jump fences. Chickens will squeeze through cracks and fly over barriers. Because chickens are smaller, their escape routes may not be as obvious as a dog's. Both animals are curious and have time on their hands. Good enclosures for both animals is necessary for their own safety. Tie
Chickens are quiet. Dogs bark at other dogs, bark at the moon, and bark for no reason, especially at night when everyone else is trying to sleep. It seems the smaller the dog, the more irritating their incessant yapping can be. If you are in any kind of neighborhood, owning barking dogs is a fantastic way to make yourself a social pariah. Chickens on the other hand and quiet and polite compared to dogs. Chickens will cluck proudly (painfully?) after laying an egg, but this is in the morning, not in the middle of the night. +1 to chickens
Dogs can be house trained. Dogs can be trained to let you know when they need to go outside to relieve themselves. Chickens cannot. Chickens will poop and then walk through it. Chickens need to scratch, run around, take dirt baths, and sun themselves, all things difficult to accommodate in-doors. +1 to dogs
Dogs can prevent burglars and can help keep your house safe. Chickens couldn't care less about strangers and will not protect your house, except possibly from small bugs and worms. +1 dogs
Chickens don't get lonely. If you ignore your dog, it might start chewing up your stuff, howling, and start scratching at your door. Dogs need attention and this is good and part of what makes them loving animals. Chickens don't need constant attention and if you're a busy family, this can be a good thing. +1 to chickens.
Final score: Dogs: 6, Chickens: 5. Dogs are great pets, and I hope you see chickens are fantastic as well. Ultimately a close win by dogs for the best family pet. But maybe I've left out some reasons? Leave a new reason in the comments I'll update the article.
For more details about why chickens make great pets, see my other article here: