Have you ever considered keeping chickens as pets? Some people do – they are peculiar pets, but they are oddly adorable.
To keep a chicken as a pet, you must have available outdoors space and a shelter where it can be safe and sleep. You should never keep hens or roosters in a cage, but you also shouldn’t let them wander inside your home unless you want to be cleaning after them all day long. If you let a chicken loose indoors, you’ll find its dropping on the floor, the chairs, and the most unexpected appliances.
If you can fulfill their requirements, though, there are many beautiful and even affectionate chicken breeds you could keep as pets. Raising hens and roosters means developing a give-and-take relationship with them: you feed them grain, and they feed you their eggs.
All in all, with care and knowledge you can definitely keep chickens as pets. In this AnimalWised article, we’ll provide some guidelines to follow.
- When should you adopt a pet chicken?
- What do you need to have a chicken as a pet?
- Chicken breeds for beginners
When should you adopt a pet chicken?
If you want a pet chicken, you could try having it imprint on you. “Filial imprinting” is a typical behavior of some birds, which recognize a moving stimuli during the first hours of their lives and identify it as their mother, therefore following it around and modeling their behavior after it.
If you can adopt a fertilized egg, incubate it and raise it from birth, the newborn chick will consider you its mother. This will ease its training enormously, but feeding and keeping such a young chick safe is difficult and requires effort and responsibility.
However, we recommend adopting chicks once the mother has decided they can be on their own; some hens stay with their young for 3 weeks, others for a month more. You will notice when the time is right because the hen will stop clucking and may even start pecking the chicks so that they leave her be.
Chickens are often given up for adoption once hatched; this is also good to know the sex of your chicken. In general, hens are tamer and easier to keep as pets than roosters. The chick you adopt as a pet will not recognize you as its mother, but it will be mature enough to be separated from the flock. However, training it will be more difficult and it may always see you as a predator.
What do you need to have a chicken as a pet?
It is imperative that you keep your pet chicken outdoors, in a pen. It should live on soil or natural land, as it will absorb the plentiful droppings and let them become harmless fertilizer. Cleaning after chickens can otherwise be a never-ending job!
Chickens need shelters; in the reserved space for your yardbird you’ll have to place a protected and comfortable coop to protect it from the environment. Inside, it must have a wooden bar for the chicken to sleep. If you have a hen, you’ll have to get her a drawer to lay her eggs in and incubate them.
If you have other pets you must be especially careful, especially with cats. The average lifespan of domestic chickens ranges from 5 to 10 years, depending on the breed.
Chicken breeds for beginners
- Australorp: This is a friendly, black breed that can come in different sizes. Average weekly lay: 5 eggs.
- Brahma: This family-friendly chicken breed varies in color and sizes. Average weekly lay: 3 eggs.
- Buff Orpington: This is a very affectionate, large, rose gold chicken breed that won’t mind being picked up. Average weekly lay: 3 eggs.
- Cochin: This is an adaptable chicken breed notable for its extremely fluffy light brown or dark gray feathers. They can be foster mothers for other species. Average weekly lay: 2 eggs.
- Dominique: This is a rare breed, but also an ancient one. They are caring pets, and they have beautiful black and white feathers. Average weekly lay: 3 eggs.
- Faverolle: This docile chicken breed has salmon-colored feathers and a particularly fluffy face. Average weekly lay: 4 eggs.
- Plymouth Rock: This is a hardy, medium-sized, black and white chicken breed that will get along with the whole family, especially if you have children. Average weekly lay: 5 eggs.
- Polish: This quirky-looking chicken breed is notable for its black and white plumage and bouffant hairstyle. Average weekly lay: 2 eggs.
- Rhode Island: This chicken breed is the state bird of RI. It is a great choice for a pet chicken if you live in cold weather, and they are gentle and easy-going. Average weekly lay: 5 eggs.
- Silkie Bantam: This is one of the most popular breeds because of its very small size and fluffy feathers that make it look like a feather duster. Silkie Bantams are extremely affectionate as well. Average weekly lay: 3 eggs.
- Wyandotte: This is a beautiful and reliable large chicken breed that comes in very different colors and patterns. Average weekly lay: 4 eggs.
In the picture below you can see a Silkie Bantam.
If you’re considering keeping chickens as pets, you should take a look at the following articles:
If you want to read similar articles to Chickens as Pets: Guidelines and Breeds, we recommend you visit our Ideal for category.
Adrienne Kruzer, BS, RVT, LVT, has worked with a variety of animals for over 15 years, including birds of prey, reptiles, and small mammals.
The Spruce / Charlotte Engelsen
Pet chickens may be thought of more as farm animals but many suburban homes are opting for pets that also provide them with fresh eggs to eat. Chickens are fairly low maintenance, don’t make much noise, and can add a little country to a home even if it’s within city limits.
About Pet Chickens
There are many different chicken breeds that are kept as pets. Some of the most popular breeds include:
- Plymouth Rocks (also known as Barred Rocks)
- Rhode Island Reds
- Jersey Giants
- Wyandottes (Silver Laced)
- Welsumers (Welsummers)
Sizes of chickens will vary depending on what breed they are but they will typically weigh in between 8 pounds and as small as 1.3 pounds for the bantam varieties. Bantams also typically only live 1-3 years but larger chicken varieties have been reported to live into their teens and sometimes up to 20 years old.
What Do You Need To House Chickens?
Pet chickens should be housed outdoors in a secure coop with an area to run around during the day. In order to keep pet chickens from roaming the neighborhood, one will need secure fencing called chicken wire that is buried two feet into the ground to prevent predators such as raccoons and foxes from getting under it. Bird netting can be spread taut over the enclosure if hawks and eagles are a problem in the area. A secure, wooden coop or shed with a ramp out into the fenced-in chicken yard should be available for the chickens. This enclosure will give them somewhere to retreat into during the day and is also where they are locked into at night for protection.
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The Spruce / Charlotte Engelsen
Supplies for Pet Chickens
A shallow water trough and a feed dish should be available at all times during the day. Chicken feed can be purchased at farm supply stores or online. Bedding is typically straw and there should be more of it available during the colder weather to provide extra warmth to the chickens. Lights may be used during the days with fewer hours of daylight in the winter if the egg production decreases as well as to keep the chickens warm.
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The Spruce / Charlotte Engelsen
How Many Chickens Should You Get?
The number of chickens you should get will depend on how much space you have available for them. Crowding chickens will lead to disease, unsanitary conditions, decreased egg laying, egg-laying problems and even depressed chickens. If you don’t have much space consider a bantam hen variety but the basic rule of thumb is 3 square feet per bird. This means if you have 9 aquare feet of space available for your chicken yard you can have 3 chickens.
Can You Keep Chickens Indoors?
Chickens need space to roam and cannot be housebroken, therefore they are very messy, especially when kept indoors. Like any large pet bird, their feather dander and excrement alone is a bother so they are best kept outdoors.
Can You Own a Chicken Where You Live?
You may be surprised if you find out that you are legally allowed to own chickens in your city. Chickens aren’t just for farms and many major cities and suburbs allow you to own pet chickens. As an example, Cleveland, Ohio and many surrounding cities allow pet chickens. To find out if you can own chickens in your city check your zoning ordinance. Most cities have these posted online and are easily searchable.
Do Chickens Need Vaccines?
Typically pet chickens do not need vaccines but some countries may recommend specific avian immunizations depending on what diseases are more prevalent in those areas. Your exotics vet will be able to tell you for sure if your chicken needs any vaccinations.
Pet Chicken Diseases
Common health problems with pet chickens include respiratory diseases, wing, leg, and foot injuries, feather mites and lice, and intestinal parasites. Annual check-ups are recommended for pet chickens but many vets will give you medication for your entire flock if one of your chickens has an illness to avoid making you bring in all of your chickens. They may even make a house call.
Benefits of Pet Chickens for Children
Pet chickens are a great way to teach children about pet care, working outside, and how to raise animals for food if you choose to use chickens for eggs or meat. Many families even sell the extra eggs they get to cover the cost of chicken feed making it very inexpensive to keep pet chickens.
Most people think of chickens as backyard roamers, or maybe the next item on the dinner plate. But there is another way to own chickens, and that way is raising them to be your companion. Many people find this hard to believe, but chickens can be just as loyal as cogs. Some will sit in your lap, come when they hear their name, and even cuddle with you for hours straight.
The story of my first chickens began in September 2011. I never expected to have loved them as much as I do to this day, but things turned out to be what I never knew possible. Okay, so you’re wondering why I haven’t started explaining how to do it, right? That’s because I wanted to tell you how mine turned out, and then, you’ll have a look at how you can raise your chickens to be some of the cuddliest in the world.
It started out when I first named my chick while it was in my closet. All I wanted to do was spend time with it, so, I did. I picked it up and put it in my lap daily, then I tried to offer it a few pieces of Chick Starter. It was very easy to keep it staying still, and from the first day on it loved to sit there.
Now here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make your chick become your lap companion:
1. Let’s say your chick is a few days old. Of course it is very small and hasn’t been handled much, so the first thing to do is to gently pick it up by hand. Make sure not to startle it. Place it on your lap, right below your shirt, and cover it with your hand. Rub its head and let it fall asleep in your shirt. Be sure not to do this when your chick is newly hatched because it will need heat to dry up its down feathers in order to fluff up after being wet from the egg. Continue to do this cycle on the first few days of caring for your chick.
2. After a week or two, your chick should develop some feathers. It should be lively and active enough for some playtime. You can pat your knees and call it by its name for it to come to you. My chick always ran happily to me and tried to jump into my lap.
3. At the age 4-5 weeks old, you can introduce your chick to the outdoors. Make sure to provide a safe environment for your bird. Don’t let it free until you trust it to know good from bad, and make sure there are no cats or dogs nearby that could harm it. Pick it up from the ground and sit somewhere safe where you and your bird can cuddle while it still gets the fresh air from being outside.
4. At the age 6-7 weeks old, your bird can stay outside if it is used to it. You should visit it daily with treats and Yogurt for good behavior. Sit it on your lap for a morning cuddle. Remember that at this stage of life, your chick should be able to jump up to you perfectly well. Practice tricks to build the ultimate relationship with your bird.
5. At weeks 8+, your chick should be used to its every day life. By this time, you can expect your chick to love you more than anything else in the world. Morning cuddles, coming to its name, tricks and treats. There is so much more to list. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with your results. I actually put chickens on the top of my ‘Favorite Animals’ list because I experienced something that, like I said, I never knew was possible.
Then by the time your chicken is 21+ weeks old, depending on maturity, it may get into mating. Expect your eggs around 25 weeks old. But that’s a totally different story. Broody hens, crowing roosters- That won’t matter that much when you live the life you are given with hand-raised, loving chicks.
That’s the way to raising your chicks to become wonderful, loving, lap pets that you will always have by your side.
Written by: Savannah H. How-To 41 Comments Print This Article
Image source: Pixabay.com
If you raise livestock for meat, naturally part of that process will be learning how to properly euthanize the animals. However, even if you only keep a few loved pet hens for eggs, you still should understand how to put down a chicken in the event of a severe injury or other emergency.
People who are very sensitive about these things may prefer taking a severely sick or injured chicken to the vet or ask a knowledgeable neighbor to dispatch the animal, but remember that having someone to help you isn’t always going to be possible. If you take on the responsibility of caring for a flock of chickens, you also take the responsibility of having to put down a suffering one if such an event does occur. That goes for any type of livestock and, for some people, even pets if they live in a rural area very far from any veterinarian.
Methods of Putting Down Chickens
Do a simple Google search for how to humanely put down a chicken and you will find a whole slew of different answers — some of which work very well while others shouldn’t be used.
First off, if you are someone completely unfamiliar with euthanizing a chicken, it is easy to fall under the assumption that a “brutal” method must not be humane. For example, using a sharp knife or hatchet to lop off a chicken’s head is often seen as gory and even torturous by some, simply because of the blood. I’ve found many threads in forums about the subject of “humane” euthanasia where the person seems instead to be looking for the best way to kill a chicken with the least participation on their part — even if the method they choose isn’t humane at all.
Here are a list of a few of the most humane methods:
Probably one of the oldest methods used, decapitation is a quick death for a chicken when done swiftly. You will need a very sharp, heavy knife/cleaver or a sharpened hatchet, plus someone there to hold the chicken. (You also can use what is called a “killing cone,” which requires only one person.)
Typically, people will use a tree stump as the chopping block. You will want to hammer two nails into the stump, just far enough apart that it will hold the chicken’s head in place. The purpose of the nails is that you can stretch the chicken’s neck slightly (this won’t hurt the bird) so you can get a clean cut. This should all be done very quickly but quietly to ensure the bird isn’t stressed. Have your helper pick up the bird, place the head gently between the nails so the neck is straight, and then chop.
It isn’t a pretty process but this method is quick and humane. It is also fairly fool-proof if you use a sharp knife/hatchet and swing down hard.
2. Cervical dislocation
Image source: Pixabay.com
Cervical dislocation, or simply breaking the chicken’s neck, is another method that is humane when done correctly but requires more knowledge and confidence to do correctly compared to decapitation. I cannot stress enough that you must be confident in your ability to use this method correctly. There are many people who actually don’t break the neck completely and this just leads to a painful death for the animal.
There are a couple of ways to do this:
- Snapping the neck by hand – This is obviously a very hands-on approach and therefore not suitable for some people. What you will do is hold the chicken in your left arm, grasp the chicken’s head at the base of its skull (you can feel where the skull meets the neck) and snap the chicken’s head in a down and out movement. This is difficult to describe to in text, so I recommend you watch a video on how to do this or ask for an experienced neighbor or fellow chicken owner to show you. I’ve seen people do this on full-grown chickens, but I am not a very big person so I have only used it on young chickens and older chicks.
- Using the “Broomsticking” Method – The broomsticking method is done by placing the chicken down on a hard surface between your feet, placing a broomstick behind the chicken’s head (just where you would place your hand), stepping down on the broomstick while simultaneously pulling up the chicken’s back legs to snap the neck. Again, please watch a video or have someone show you before trying this to ensure you do it properly. I haven’t used this method on chickens, but it is what I use for rabbits. It is quick, humane and does allow a smaller person to dispatch an animal that may be too large with the above technique.
Cervical dislocation is easy to learn and does have the benefit of being a bloodless method. However, please refrain from trying to just “wring” the chicken’s neck. There are some people who try simply to grab the chicken’s head with both hands and fling it about or over their head in an effort to break its neck. This is incredibly stressful and painful for the chicken since more often than not this fails. Please use one of the two above methods instead!
3. Use a gun or pellet gun
Another humane method is to use a gun (like a .22) or a pellet gun to dispatch the bird. A pellet gun is often more than enough as long as it is powerful enough. The pellet handguns are quite useful. Typically what I will do is wrap the chicken in a towel, place it on the ground and kneel down over the bird.
I will then use a pellet gun close to the chicken’s head to dispatch the bird. This is a very easy method but not doable from those who don’t have a gun/pellet gun.
4. Using a CO2 ‘chamber’
This final method is better suited for chicks, bantam or young adult chickens. It requires more work but some people do prefer it for one reason or another. I recommend reading this article for more information. Some people also use a paintball CO2 canister as well.
Another method that seems to get passed around that is not at all humane is placing a chicken in a bag or box which is attached to a car’s exhaust. This is not humane like CO2 and is a very painful death, with the combination of heat and chemicals. If you are going to use anything, go with the above CO2 chamber or use a different method altogether.
Putting down a loved hen or favorite rooster isn’t an enjoyable process but it is important to know how to do it properly – and is necessary if you are raising chickens for meat. As mentioned before numerous times, it is best to watch educational videos or have an experienced person help you. Some rural vets will even give you advice on how to properly dispatch a chicken at home.
What is your preferred method to kill a chicken? Share your advice in the section below:
Ava is a mom of one goofy special-needs chicken that lives with a rabbit as an indoor-outdoor pet. She is also a vet assistant.
Feeding your chickens can be overwhelming to those new to the practice, or even experienced poultry keepers. The first step when choosing a formula for your chickens is to determine their age, your budget, and any extra specifications you want your chickens to have.
How Age Impacts Chicken Feed Choices
- Newly hatched chicks aged 0-10 weeks should be fed a starter feed. The high protein on these feeds, 10-20%, allows birds to grow and develop.
- Chicks aged 10-18 weeks should be fed a growerfeed. The medium-high protein content, around 15-16%, allows for birds to gain weight and grow to full size.
- When your pullet reaches laying age or 18 weeks, she should be switched to layer feed. This has a protein content of 15-18% and added calcium, vitamins, and minerals designed to sustain the process of daily laying.
Good nutrition is crucial to maintaining a healthy flock. All chickens should be fed a crumble or pelleted diet formulated to meet their nutritional needs. They should get plenty of fresh feed daily and should be allowed to eat as much as they want.
Important Terms to Be Aware Of
- Organic: Chicken feed must be grown without using pesticides, antibiotics, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, and without using genetically modified cereals or plants.
- Vegetarian: Feed that is free of animal by-products.
- Whole Grain: The grains contain all the essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions.
- Corn-Free: Contains no corn or corn byproducts.
- Medicated Feed: Feed which includes amprolium, a coccidiosis preventer.
Determining Your Budget
A good place to start is the budget. On average, a hen eats 1/4 a pound of feed daily. Multiply this by the number of hens you have, and then by the number of days you expect to keep your hens.
A hen at its peak laying age (1 year), will lay 250 eggs a year. By year two, this decreases to 80% of their peak, year three 70%, year four 60%, year five 50%, year six 45%, and year 7 35%.
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How do people get diseases caused by chickens? Read and learn what precautionary measures to take!
In this article:
Diseases Caused by Chickens: Get to Know Them
Diseases Caused by Backyard Chickens
Jordan Walker is a pet lover who does not limit himself to learning about how to connect with pets. He also makes it a point to inform others about pet-related illnesses. In this post, the curator of Coops and Cages writes about four diseases spread by chickens.
Salmonella is a germ that avian life usually carry. Poultry domesticated birds like turkeys and chickens — whether commercial farm chickens, backyard chickens, or organically-raised chickens — could all carry Salmonella.
This bacterium does not cause any illnesses on the avian carrier, but it has harmful effects on humans. Just like the effects of a virus, this germ can be contracted by coming into contact with chickens and their immediate environment.
How People Get Salmonella Germs
The Salmonella germs can attach to anything that the chickens touch. In turn, the germs cling on to people that get close (just like what parasites do to the body). These people are likely to become infected if they place their hands close to their mouths.
Among the effects of this germ to the body includes diarrhea and intense weakening. That’s why, after touching or getting anywhere near the chickens, it is advisable that you should immediately wash and scrub your hands vigorously.
That would lessen the chances of you getting sick because of Salmonella.
2. Urinary Tract Infection
As if humans weren’t already susceptible to urinary tract infection or UTI, animals like birds, turkeys, and chickens have to get into the picture too. It has been found out that a bacterium found in the chickens’ intestines can be transmitted to humans.
Enterococcus faecalis is the bacteria that cause UTI. And this is why some cases of UTI are considerably from an infectious chicken disease.
Transmission of Enterococcus Faecalis to Humans
Just like the Salmonella, E. faecalis is thought to be transmitted to humans by way of the bird or chicken feces. The bacterium would then spread in the surroundings, even into the water.
And any human that comes into contact directly with the poultry or with the dirt would become a likely victim. If no proper preventative steps are taken, a person carrying the bacteria on their hands could handle food that would then become contaminated, and from which the next unwary victim could develop UTI.
That’s why the next time you want to drink from an outdoor water source, you should be careful.
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by Histoplasma capsulatum. This fungus usually affects the lungs, but symptoms can also occur in other parts of the body.
Vulnerable parts include the eyes, skin, adrenal glands, nervous system, and liver. H. capsulatum can live happily in moist places, but will most likely be present in environments where poultry animals are kept, particularly their coops.
This specific fungus comes also from the droppings of chicken. They populate the air as spores and enter the human body through the respiratory system.
At first, the symptoms it causes are not severe but in actuality, histoplasmosis is acute. To give you an idea of how bad it is, histoplasmosis is very similar to tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis Definition: Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection in the lungs that leads to the growth of nodules in the lung tissues. This condition is contagious.
To prevent infection, before you go anywhere near poultry animals, you have to make sure you are wearing protective gear, especially face masks. Another thing you can do is to clean your chickens’ coops regularly.
4. Campylobacter Infection
Campylobacter has effects on humans similar to those of Salmonella. Infected humans would suffer severe symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and fever.
Exposure to them could also cause lessened immunity which could lead to more complications.
As with Salmonella, Campylobacter is abundant in bird or chicken droppings. Humans may get this bacteria by eating infected bird meat, chicken meat, or eggs. Cooking the meat or eggs thoroughly will help kill the bacteria.
Protection Against Campylobacter
To protect yourself against these infections, you have to make sure you cook your chickens to a crisp first. Also, if you own backyard chickens, make sure to always prepare some antibiotics as part of your first aid kit at home.
And while the above-listed diseases are most common in domestic or commercial farm settings, you must not forget there are other avian lifeforms that carry these. For example, in the wild, bats and other types of birds, too, can transmit similar diseases to humans.
You may unknowingly inhale infected air or come in contact with something that has the bacteria. The effects of the various bacteria mentioned are similar to those of virus or parasites.
So it’s best to be on your guard against these infectious diseases especially when you’re enjoying the outdoors. There are no vaccines available to protect you from these diseases, but antibiotics might help relieve the pain or other effects the identified bacteria will cause the body.
Learn more about the Salmonella bacteria in this video by TopTipss:
Don’t let these dangers deter you from raising poultry birds like chickens. A dedicated chicken farmer who raises healthy birds and follows the right safety protocol will not have to worry about contamination. Healthy chickens start with healthy coops.
Do you know other diseases caused by chickens? Share your insights with us in the comments sections below!
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.
Editor’s Note: This post was first published in July 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Chickens can be wonderful as pets, and caring for pet chickens is relatively easy and simple. But you will need to spend some time with your birds for making them ideal as pets.
Chickens are actually wonderful, comical creatures and they have been domesticated for thousands of years.
Although keeping some chickens in the backyard was common over hundred years ago. But with the introduction of factory farming and inexpensive store-bought eggs in the 1950s led to a decline in it’s popularity.
However, recently there has been a resurgence of interest in keeping chickens in one’s own backyard or as pets.
Today, people actually raising chickens both for the entertainment pet chickens provide and for the pleasure of fresh eggs collection.
Table of Contents
Caring for Pet Chickens
In case of caring for pet chickens properly, you have to choose and purchase the right breed. There are hundreds of different chicken breeds available throughout the world.
These different chicken breeds have different behaviors, temperaments, hardiness, meat production and egg-laying capabilities.
Although all these chicken breeds have the same basic requirements for staying healthy.
And these basic requirements are a clean environment, good quality diet and protection from the elements and predators. However, here we are describing more about the steps of caring for pet chickens.
Do You Actually Want Chickens as Pet
Before starting, think again whether you actually want chickens as pet. Do you have enough time? Will you be able to take the responsibilities of caring for pet chickens? Do you have the space?
And also will you be able to spend some extra money for your birds? If the answer of all these questions is ‘yes’, then you definitely can go for raising chickens as pet.
You will need some basic equipment, which are mandatory for raising chickens as pet. First of all, you will need a coop with a run for your birds.
You can either purchase from store or online, or you can also use homemade coop.
Purchase feeding and watering pots depending on the number of your chickens. You will also need bedding and nesting materials.
The house or coop will be ideal for the chickens if it is easily cleaned and provides shelter from the bad weather and protect from predators and rodents.
The coop also needs to be well ventilated and well insulated. Ensure enough space inside the room for your chickens. A minimum of 8-10 square feet space per bird will be good.
Choose Breed and Purchase
There are many breeds of chicken throughout the world. Choose your desired breed depending on your need.
Always try to purchase birds from a reliable breeder. Monitor the health and movement of the birds before purchasing, and always purchase good quality birds.
Bring the Chickens Home
You can either bring the chickens of your own, or request the breeder to bring the birds to you. After bringing them home, put them down in the run and shut the door.
But ensure the hoppers are filled and everything is ready before releasing them. Monitor the movement of your chickens regularly, and top up their feeder and waterer.
Probably the new birds will run straight inside the coop. Don’t let the birds out of the run at least for a week. Doing so is important and this will let them know their home.
Your chickens can fight for establishing their pecking order, especially if you purchase multiple chickens from different breeders.
The fight is normal, and there are almost nothing to worry about. You can provide them some treat for drawing their attention away. And everything will be fine after a few days or week.
Feeding properly is the most important part of caring for pet chickens. Your chickens will be happy if you provide them a healthy diet, and good nutrition is crucial for maintaining a healthy flock.
You should provide them plenty of food and water (as much as they can/want). You can feed them ready-made commercial poultry feeds.
And your birds will also collect some of their diet if you allow them to roam freely. If possible, feed your chickens some treats occasionally. Some good treats for the chickens are vegetables, corn, whole wheat etc.
Try to keep the watering pot filled always, so that they can drink whenever they want. This is very important, and always provide fresh and clean water. And clean the feeding and watering pot on a regular basis.
Clean the House
Cleaning the house regularly is also important for caring for pet chickens. So, clean out your chicken’s coop regularly. It will be better if you can clean the coop twice or at least once a week.
There are many different diseases or illnesses your pet chicken can pick up. So always try to keep an eye on your birds.
And separate the affected bird if you notice a chicken is behaving strangely. Then take necessary steps or call a vet.
Frequent observation will help you get to know what is and is not normal for your chickens. Pick up each bird at least once a week, and ruffle through the feathers.
Does the bird feel abnormally thin? Is it’s crop distended? Do it’s leg scales look rough and thickened? Can you see any parasites on it’s skin? Has there been a change in it’s appetite or behavior? Is the bird sneezing or having trouble breathing?
If you notice any of these or any other abnormal symptoms, then separate the sick bird and contact with your vet.
Bonding With Your Chickens
Bonding with your chickens is also important for caring for pet chickens. You can cuddle your chickens.
Chickens are wonderful creatures and they love hugs and kisses also. Pick the bird up gently, supporting it’s body and holding the wings in, lift them up and give them a stroke.
Visit your birds occasionally, and they will gradually learn you are their friend.
These are the steps for caring for pet chickens. If you are raising chickens as pets, then you must care them properly.
The Spruce / Anastasia Tretiak
If you’re just getting started keeping chickens or other poultry on your small farm, you may be wondering what to feed your chickens. It’s best to start with what chickens and poultry eat when they’re on pasture, or outside, in a field, with grass and weeds to roam on and eat. From there, you can learn about the best diet to provide your chickens.
What Chickens and Poultry Typically Eat
What birds eat differs a little if we’re talking about turkeys, geese, or other poultry. The basics are the same. Most poultry like to eat growing grasses, like clover, buckwheat, and Kentucky bluegrass. They eat broad-leaved weeds of all kinds. They eat the growing tips as well as the seeds of these plants. Chickens also eat earthworms, insects, and slugs of all kinds. Finally, they need to eat a little grit like sand and/or coarse dirt. They keep it in their gizzards to help them grind up the wild foods they forage. Once in a while, a rooster will catch a mouse and feed it to his hens.
Typically, backyard and small farm chickens also eat food scraps from the farm household. This can include anything besides beans, garlic, raw potatoes, onions, and citrus. You can feed them beans, garlic, and onions, but the eggs might taste funky. Raw potatoes can be poisonous to chickens due to glycoalkaloids. Chickens are dumb enough to eat significant amounts of styrofoam if allowed access to it, and some munch on the pine shavings that act as their litter. You’ll also need to make sure they don’t eat what they’re not supposed to.
Hens who are raised primarily on pasture eat this type of diet most of the time. Their eggs boast deep orange yolks and are three-dimensional when gathered fresh, with thick, viscous whites and bouncy, fatty yolks. If you are raising meat birds primarily on pasture, you should be aware that they will not grow as quickly as those confined and fed broiler rations. The meat is dense from the exercise they get (yet still tender) and their omega-3 content is higher than their grain-fed, sedentary counterparts.
If you can’t pasture your chickens but can let them have access to a run (a fenced-in area outside the coop), they will be happier and they will get some supplemental insects, even if the floor of the run gets pecked down to bare dirt. Pasturing requires keeping the chickens protected from predators with a livestock guardian dog and/or fencing.
Supplements to Commercial Feed
Besides the main feed, there are a few supplements commonly fed to chicks, pullets, and chickens. Oyster shells provide calcium, a cabbage head for fun and entertainment, and grit to help them digest anything outside of the commercial feed are all important.
You can hard boil and chop eggs and feed them to the chickens if you run out of feed. Remember, they can also go a day or two without feed, and longer eating general kitchen scraps without a real issue. Of course, always make sure they have water.
Make or Buy Your Feed
You may wish to design, buy, and mix your own feed, or even grow all the grains, seeds, and other components of a comprehensive chicken feed. There are several different commercial feed choices with different purposes for each one. Some of the specifics differ. For example, one manufacturer may have you switch to grower/finisher at a different number of weeks then another. Always follow the directions of your specific feed and check with your feed supplier or store when in doubt.