Rearing animals as pets can be a real rewarding experience, but people don’t seem to realize just how satisfying keeping pet chickens can be. Contrary to what many think, chickens are a wonderful choice of bird to keep at home. They are simple to rear and the layer varieties have the added advantage of producing eggs.
And speaking of eggs, a healthy chicken is able to produce about six eggs a week meaning that by the end of one month, it is possible to have up to 24 eggs.
The advantages of chicken ownership don’t end there though. Chicken are good family pets and the more friendly varieties can offer companionship for children as well as the entire family.
In this article, we’ll focus on a few key things you should think about when it comes to chicken ownership.
Where your chickens will live
Chicken basically require a dry place where they can rest as well as a couple of nesting boxes for laying eggs. The boxes are optional because most chicken are capable of laying their eggs anywhere they see fit, which is evidence of their self sufficient nature.
If one decides to rear pet chicken it should be noted that there should be at least a garden where they are able to roam and scratch for food. They can be left on their own, as long as the chicken coop is sufficiently secure from predators such as raccoons, cats and dogs. It is important for pet owners to find out from local authorities about the regulations in place concerning the rearing of chickens.
The amount of money put into building a chicken coop can be minimized by doing it yourself. There are plenty of do-it-yourself plans and guides that that can be accessed over the internet. These guides offer not only the building instructions but also a list of building materials and even alternative components.
There are several readymade coops that can be bought at pet supply stores as well as hardware stores. This option would be convenient, though at times it may not cater for specific settings. If one intends to keep plenty of chickens, it is advisable to have a custom-built chicken run. Regardless of the chicken coop option you choose, you must insure the coop is very durable for the health and wellbeing of your chickens. Look after your pets and they will have a decent life expectancy. Ensure that there is a convenient access passage leading to the nesting area, keep the coop clean, warm and dry and your pets will be very happy.
What chickens eat
Their main diet consists mostly of layers pellets, which you can get from your local pet shop. Chickens also like to be treated to some corn occasionally.
Generally, chickens aren’t fussy eaters and they can easily obtain their essential dietary nutrients from within your garden at home. In the garden, they have access to a number of organic delicacies including worms, ants, snails, grass as well as a host of other insects.
It has been noted that the more organic food that chickens eat, the richer their egg yolks are. Generally speaking, just by looking at an egg’s yolk color, one can easily determine if the producing chicken was either a battery chicken or a free range one. The rich orange yolks are those of the free range varieties while the pale colored eggs belong to the battery range of poultry.
How chickens help the environment
For those who have gardens, chicken have the advantage of consuming garden pests that attack crops. This does away with the need for toxic chemical pesticides, which would otherwise have to be used on plants. Poultry animals also eat vegetable and food scraps, thereby reducing the amount of garbage being disposed of. Their food scraps and droppings are not just waste but can be used to make compost manure for garden plants.
The behavior of chickens
Chicken are very interesting to observe because they have fascinating habits including dust bathing, where they dig a shallow pit in the soil and thereafter proceed to wriggle in it which gets the soil in their feathers. This activity is said to be done by the birds in order to do away with mites.
When they are not searching for food, chickens love to sunbathe while standing with their wings stretched out.
And of course, egg laying is a big part of a chicken’s life. Typically, chickens can actively lay eggs for about 4 to 5 years. After this time, egg laying will either decline or cease altogether.
A final word about chickens
Chicken are actually much underrated as household pets, although they have many advantages over conventional pets. In some cases, it has been noted that chickens are easier to maintain than some dog varieties. Definitely a household pet worthy of serious consideration!