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.
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.