If you haven’t heard already, chickens make some of the best pets. They are funny little creatures that can entertain you for hours. You will be surprised at how emotionally attached you can be to your hens. And they genuinely enjoy your company as well. But you can’t just go out and buy a chicken in hopes of a best friend. There is a process to take to create a bond between you and your flock. Here is our step by step how to raise a chicken as a pet.
Benefits Of Keeping A Pet Chicken
You might be thinking that keeping chickens as pets is a silly thing. What could you possibly benefit from owning a pet chicken? You might be surprised to know that chickens are very rewarding, and not just for their eggs.
- Chickens can be very calming to the soul. Many owners claim to feel very zen when taking care of their small flock.
- If you have a garden, chicken feces also provides excellent fertilizer. It’s better than anything you can get on the market.
- Small flocks are low maintenance and sometimes easier to care for than a dog.
- Chickens are also very hardy birds. For people who need a sturdy animal that also isn’t needy, chickens are for you.
- Your chicken pet will also prevent bug infestations because they will eat everything.
- How long do chickens live? The average chicken can live 7-9 years, which is perfect for a pet.
Step One: Selecting The Right Breed
Now we will go right into our step by step on how to raise a chicken as a pet. While these methods might work for every chicken, why not start strong? Choosing a breed that has a good temperament will help you tame your chickens more easily. Here we have a list of the three best chickens to keep as pets.
- Silkie– These hens are such a sweet and even-tempered bird. Plus, they are adorable.
- Plymouth Rock– Both hens and roosters, are incredibly calm. And they are great egg layers.
- Orpingtons– These fluffy chickens are renowned for their friendliness. They love being the center of attention but also calm.
All of these chickens have the best temperaments to make pets. And with some chickens, they can have the added egg factor. Who says your pets can’t earn their keep as well?
Step Two: Find A Breeder And Purchase
After you know what type of pet chicken you want, it’s time to find a breeder. You can go a few routes when it comes to a breeder, and each way has its pros and cons. But once you find the right breeder, you can start a flock as soon as possible.
One of the best options is to find a local breeder. Talking with small breeders who knows their birds and breed for specific traits will help you find the best hen. Many of your local breeders are in tight connection with each other as well. So if they can’t meet your needs, they can point you in the right direction.
Local breeders also usually have sturdier birds. They often started as a small hobby flock and transformed into more. Their birds are just as much a working pet as your new chickens will be. So not only can they help you, but they also make it their mission to provide their area with the highest-quality birds.
A more common way to get a chicken is to go to a local feed store. Places like Tractor Supply have a variety of chicks available throughout the spring. These birds usually come from larger hatcheries. And they sometimes aren’t the healthiest. But if you prepare well, they can make excellent pets.
Another big downside to buying from feed stores is that many of them don’t have many breeds. Most of these stores have chickens bred for egg production. And while these birds can have even temperaments, some of them don’t care for human interaction.
The final option is to buy your chicks online. These chicks get shipped with priority mail and arrive quickly. You can even buy fertilized eggs online to hatch chicks in an incubator. In either case, this can be an expensive way to get a flock going. And you do run the risk of the eggs and chicks not making it.
Step Three: Taming Your Chicks
For chicken pets, we always recommend starting with a chick. They are the easiest to tame and imprint well on humans. To do this, all you need is patience and a treat. Gaining a chick’s trust will take a little time, but the outcome is a strong unbreakable bond.
After your chickens have dried from hatch day, you can begin your work. Slowly reach your hands into the brooder to hand-feed your chicks. Giving them a little feed a few times a day will help them build their trust. This is also an ideal time to start introducing names. Every encounter you have with your chicks, you should repeat their names over and over. Once your chicks willingly come up to you, try to pet them on the head gently.
This might take a few days or a few weeks. But the more you practice, the faster your chicks will warm up to you. And once they don’t run away, you are ready for some playtime. Pick up your chicks and put them in your lap for some feed and snuggles. When your chicks don’t freak out or run away, congratulations, you have a tame pet chicken.
How To Take Care Of A Pet Chicken
Now that you know how to raise a chicken as a pet, you might be wondering what’s next? When your chickens are old enough to leave the brooder, you will have a couple of options.
Outside Pet Chickens
If you have a few chickens, your best option is to keep your chickens outside. Keeping them in a chicken coop and letting them out to free roam will save you a little sanity. But you wouldn’t want to do this for a lonely chicken. They will get bored and cold outside all alone.
You can spend time with them daily, and they will still be the best pets. Even though your hens live outside, they will follow you around the yard. If you come out with treats, your hens will gladly sit in your lap for petting and to eat.
Indoor Chicken Pet
Keeping a chicken as a pet in the house is becoming more and more popular. It takes a little more creativity, but it is still possible. But we aren’t suggesting to become Chandler and Joey in an episode of Friends. There are ways to do this full-time and part-time where everyone won’t go crazy.
The first thing you should consider is where they will poop. Chickens can poop as much as once every 30 minutes. Where will all of this go? Some people train their pet chicken to use a litter box, newspaper, or to go outside. Doing this takes a lot of time and dedication. And you shouldn’t expect it to be foolproof.
Other owners use chicken diapers. These diapers have liners and are washable, but they also have a downside. Hens lay eggs, and if they are wearing a diaper, they will lay in a dirty diaper. So you will have to pick your battles here.
Most people dedicate an area of the house for their chickens to roam-usually a room with tile or hardwood floors. Preferably away from bedrooms and the kitchen to prevent accidents and cross-contamination. Because no matter what method you use for handling poop, there will be a lot of accidents.
Next, you will have to figure out where your chickens will sleep. No matter if your chickens live inside or outside, they need to roost in a high place. Some owners have had success hanging a second shower curtain rod in the bathroom for their hens to sleep.
Another option is to have a large cage with a roost suspended inside. Wire dog crates make perfect sleeping areas for indoor chicken pets. In either case, you will also want to make sure to line the floor with newspaper. Chickens poop a lot while they roost, and anything that makes cleanup easier is better.
Even if you keep your chicken inside, they need daily exercise. A stroll around the yard to exercise and forage. Even if your chicken seems like the most prestigious and pampered hen, she still needs to roll in the dirt. She needs to scratch around and eat a few bugs, all of which are good for hens.
Some owners keep their chicken outside to roam throughout most of the day. And when it gets dark, they let their hen in. If you don’t have a yard, then not even keeping indoor chickens is feasible.
Are You Interested In A Pet Chicken?
Having a pet chicken is so rewarding. You will be surprised at how cuddly and affectionate your chicken will be. And keeping them as pets isn’t all that difficult. Now that you know how to raise a chicken as a pet, when will you get started?
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!