Pet Chickens Are the Coolest!

1 Sep

Last week some friends of ours generously offered to show us their pet chickens (Shout out to Dennis & Holly… thanks, guys)!  Raising my own chickens is in my top five list of “Things To Do As Soon As I’m Legally Allowed,” so of course John & I stopped over!  Check this out:

They had 9 chickens (I think… I was totally distracted by the awesomeness to pay much attention to counting) in their fenced-in back yard, complete with one little lady who needed to be fed by hand due to a beak abnormality:

I got to hold this sweet, sweet lady bird, and she was darling!  I also let the chickens peck some seeds right out of my hand (to see if it would hurt… it doesn’t), but I forgot to tell the boys to take pictures of this, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Anyway, here’s why you should raise your own chickens:

1. Chickens make surprisingly good pets.  Dennis & Holly’s pretty girls were very open to being held & pet, and followed us all around the yard.  They were quite social!  Several websites mention training your chickens (a few even discuss litter training!), and the behavior analyst in me is excited about this one!  …Yes, some day I’ll be famous for having the World’s First Chickens Who Clean Out Their Own Coop…  just you wait!

2. If you buy organic eggs, raising chickens will save you money.  You can buy peeps for only a few dollars online, and some sites will even vaccinate them for you (a must, considering the egg drama that’s been taking place recently) for a small extra fee (the cheapest I found was $2.50 plus another dollar for vaccines, but I didn’t really look that hard).  If you’re buying organic eggs at upwards of $4 a dozen, keep that chicken for 12 egg-laying days & it’s paid for itself.

3. Chickens don’t take up a lot of space. You don’t need a huge farm a-la Dorothy Gale to raise chickens.  Actually, you don’t even need a small farm; chickens can live in your back yard!  The standards are about 4 sq. ft per chicken in the coop and about 10 sq ft. in the run (the outside area you’ll need).  So, in an average back yard you could keep 2 or 3 chickens quite comfortably without turning your lovely grass into a desert.  If you’ve got limited space, just get a portable coop, aka a Chicken Tractor.  That way, when one area of your yard starts to look like New Mexico, just wheel the coop to another area & voila!  Problem solved!

4. You get fresh eggs every day. Yes, that’s right.  Once chickens reach maturity (at about six months of age), they’ll start laying an egg every day, just for you.  YUM. And just a reminder, folks – you don’t need a rooster to get those lovely ladies to lay!

5. Raising chickens is a step toward self-sustainability. In case you have to implement your Zombie Plan, having a few chickens around probably isn’t the worst idea… just grab yourself a rooster & you’ve now got your own personal supply of fresh eggs, fresh meat, uber-awesome fertilizer, & feathers.  I’ve heard tell that befriending your chickens may prevent you from eating them later, but I’m thinking in Zombie Plan Reality it wouldn’t be a problem (eat the chicken or starve to death… your choice, yo).

Anyway, I am completely smitten with chickens, and if you’re interested, here are a few websites with lots of cool chickeny goodness:

My Pet Chicken

Bird Hobbyist

Sustainable Living with Chickens

Enjoy!  And remember… guessing for the penny contest ends on Friday, so e-mail me or post a comment while you’ve got time!  I’ll announce the winner on Saturday!  })i({

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