Do you have a pet at home? If you're like many kids, you may have a dog or cat that brings joy into your life. You might even have a bird, a goldfish, or a guinea pig.
For some people, though, there's nothing quite like the companionship of a friendly, feathered fowl. Are we talking turkey? Nope! We're clucking about pet chickens.
Chickens? Those tasty birds that provide fingers and nuggets at your favorite fast-food restaurant? The farm dwellers that crow at dawn or lay eggs each day?
Yes! The humble chicken can indeed make a fine pet, even if you don't live on a farm. And they're not as difficult to take care of as you might imagine.
Chickens provide an obvious benefit: an ongoing supply of fresh eggs. When's the last time a dog or cat laid an egg that you could scramble for breakfast?
Of course, some people might point out that chickens aren't cute and cuddly like cats and dogs. It's true that chickens aren't furry, but their feathers can be quite soft.
Plus, most pet chickens enjoy being picked up and cuddled. They can also be trained to follow simple commands and respond to their name being called.
If you're going to get a pet chicken, you should probably plan to get several chickens. They're very social creatures that do better in a group. If they have company, they can watch out for and entertain each other.
Just be careful about introducing other animals into the mix. Dogs and cats tend to view chickens as prey, so they often don't get along well with them. There is one exception to this rule, though: ducks. For some reason, ducks seem to keep chickens calm.
Most people keep pet chickens in a chicken coop outdoors. If there are no predators around, though, it's fine to let them out regularly to roam free.
Chickens can eat table scraps, but most people buy chicken feed from a local farm store. A constant supply of fresh water is also necessary. When they're done with their food, their waste also makes good compost for your garden.
Cleaning out their coop once a week and changing their bedding monthly are about the only other things you need to do to keep chickens happy. As pets go, chickens are fairly inexpensive and low-maintenance.
So where do you get pet chickens? In addition to local farms and some pet stores, you can also check local animal shelters. They occasionally receive chickens from people who have had to give them up. Also, be sure to check local ordinances for your area to make sure there aren't any special rules you need to follow to keep chickens as pets.