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Do Chickens Make Good Pets? What You Need To Know

Nicole Cosgrove

You probably already know the many benefits of raising chickens: they are excellent fertilizers and can provide fresh eggs and meat for your family. But have you ever wondered whether these birds would make good pets? If so, the answer is yes! Chickens can make great pets. In this article, we will discuss some of the details of keeping a chicken in your home, such as the benefits of keeping a chicken as a pet, proper sanitation, and chicken nutritional needs.

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Best Chicken Breeds to Keep As Pets

chicken hen
Image Credit: Capri23auto, Pixabay

Some chicken breeds make better pets than others. Do your research on chicken breeds before bringing home a hen or rooster. The following breeds make popular pets because they are known for being friendly: Partridge Silkies, Australorps, Speckled Sussexes, Polish Bantams, Cornish Crosses, and Jersey Giants. Avoid Barred Rock, Old English Game, Cornish, and Oriental Game chickens, especially roosters, as these breeds are known for being aggressive and in some cases were bred for fighting.

Benefits of Keeping a Chicken as a Pet

Backyard Chicken
Image Credit: procesocreativo, Pxhere

There are several benefits to keeping a chicken as a pet in addition to the reasons that were already listed. If you keep a garden, they can help manage pests that tend to eat plants.

They are also great for cutting down on your family’s food waste; instead of throwing out food scraps, you can almost always feed them to your chickens; just be sure it isn’t moldy, overly spiced, or a food that is considered toxic to chickens. If you have children, one of the greatest benefits to having chickens is that the necessary upkeep will help teach your kids responsibility and get them outside.

Things to Consider

Maran chicken
Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

If you are going to keep a chicken or chickens as pets, there are some things you should keep in mind before you bring one home. Caring for a chicken can be a little bit more complicated than caring for a cat or dog. Because chickens are less common household animals, you will likely need to seek out a poultry veterinarian for their health needs. Consider that it may also be difficult to find a qualified pet sitter when you go out of town.

Some people do raise indoor chickens, but doing so probably isn’t very practical for most people as they require supervision if they are going to roam freely and aren’t particularly easy to house train. Chickens need to have a space to run around and prefer being outdoors, so you will need to prepare a chicken coop or fenced-in yard for your birds before their arrival. You also need to check your local zoning laws to find out whether or not chickens are permitted in your area before you commit to buying any.

One of the most important aspects of keeping a chicken as a pet that you need to think about is sanitation. Chicken and other poultry can carry and spread harmful diseases such as salmonella. While you and your kids may love cuddling up to your pet chicks and chickens, you should be intentional about always washing your hands after touching your chickens or cleaning your chicken coop. The CDC is a great resource with many tips for staying healthy while keeping backyard chickens.chicken divider

Final Thoughts

Overall, chickens can make great pets. They are intelligent animals with unique personalities that make them interesting creatures to keep on your homestead. There are many benefits to keeping chickens as pets, such as having access to fresh eggs. However, chickens should not be treated like domesticated dogs or cats. In most cases, they will thrive outdoors, not indoors, and they should not be kept in your home where human food and water are prepared due to the risk of disease. As long as you make sure to properly care for your chickens and properly clean their living space, they can be a great addition to your family.


Featured Image Credit: 905513, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.