Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Pros and Cons of Pet Chickens on the Farm

When we moved to our little acreage one of the things we wanted to get were some hens for eggs. There was a large shed that we easily converted into a chicken coop and build a large run around that, which we could open so the birds could have a proper “free range” after getting use to the home base.

We purchased eight hens, and 5 week old silkie chicks. The chicks were kept in the house in a large guinea pig cage (guinea pig free of course!).

The pros of keeping chickens – obviously eggs. Our hens were older birds, between eight of them we got about four eggs a day. These eggs were more than we could eat, as we want to encourage people eating Free range eggs, we sold the excess for $1 a dozen (in stores they are about $3 a dozen).

We soon learned that free range eggs are healthier than store bought, so that was certainly another plus.
Chickens eat bugs, flies, slugs, grasshoppers, and even fleas and ticks. That year we had a Ked problem (a wingless pest that feds on sheep) and noticed the hens would eat the Keds off the sheep.

Chickens are very low cost pets, we had to pay for laying ration, and chicken scratch, a bag of oystershell, and grit, but still these costs were much lower than dog food and supplies.

Chickens are friendly and trainable. Although most people do not take the time to get to know their chickens, we did. We handled the young silkie chicks daily (as it turned out all but one were roosters, so we sold them all to owners who wanted such). The older gals learned the daily routine and learned by watching us where the strawberry patch was, and were smart enough to eat the strawberries when nobody was looking! They would even talk to us.

Chickens are relatively maintenance free. Since we had a large coop, and let the birds free range, there was pretty much no mess, we only needed to clean the hen house once a month, and made simple checks on them daily to be sure they had food and water, much less work than a dog that would need regular exercise, and proper cleaning up after.


We learned one disadvantage of having pet chickens.. but only one. After keeping pet chickens we found it very hard to eat chicken ever again. Even looking at them dead in the grocery store has been difficult. In fact it has lead to us almost becoming full vegetarians.

Read about the Cruelty of Mass Egg Production (Battery Farms), Click Here

Read about What Breeds of Chickens are Best as Pets, Click Here


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