Have you ever thought about keeping chickens in your backyard, for their eggs, or simply as pets? I love my chickens but thought I’d ask expert chicken-keeper, Cassandra Smith, of Backyard Chicken Coops, to give us the basics of chicken keeping and why they make great pets…
Do chickens make good pets?
If chicken keeping is a new idea to you, maybe you’re wondering why you’d want to have chickens as pets when you can head to the supermarket to pick up your fresh eggs? There are so many reasons to keep chooks aside from having a fresh supply of healthy and sustainably raised eggs. Keeping pet chickens is a rewarding hobby which is fun for the whole family. Chooks are cute, curious and endlessly entertaining, each displaying their own personalities and quirks.
Essential chook items
To get cluckin’ with chickens you’ll need a few essential items. Chickens need shelter, feed, water and enrichment to lead happy hen lives. You’ll need to have a secure coop, a reliable feeder, a supply of clean water and either a secure backyard for free-ranging or a spacious chicken run or poultry fenced area so your hens can enjoy the great outdoors and forage for grubs and seed. Chickens are clever creatures and require enrichment activities just like your dog or cat, so some well-placed chicken toys are a great idea too!
A chook’s diet is easy to cater for. Chickens require chicken feed (either store-bought or homemade) and supplements and treats like shell grit (for their gizzards and calcium intake) and fresh vegetables and fruit, herbs or kitchen scraps. There are certain foods chickens can’t and won’t eat, but for the most part, chooks are omnivores who won’t turn their beak up at many foods! Like any other pet, chooks require water daily, especially in summer, so keep that drinker full and fresh for your thirsty hens.
One of the greatest things about chook keeping is the variety of breeds available. Chook Ladies and Hen Lads know that the chicken world is a veritable cornucopia of plumage, personalities and switched on birds that will steal your heart and a hug or two. Every chook is an individual, inside and out. Some chickens are docile and affectionate and others are active and entertaining!
Whether you’re a keen green thumb or a veggie patch dabbler, chickens make the perfect addition to your backyard and garden. They provide nutrient-rich manure, improve your compost, turn and till your garden soil and make light work of garden grubs and pests. They show up to work early and will toil until sundown, all for a simple meal and the perfect place to roost.
About the author:
My name is Kassandra Smith and I have been keeping backyard chickens for years, ranging from generous laying ISA Browns to beautiful and flighty bantams. There’s not a chook breed I haven’t fallen beak over claws in love with! Around 10 years ago, I decided to put my chicken keeping experience to use, and start Backyard Chicken Coops with the aim of providing quality, expertly-designed coops for backyards all around Australia. As the business grew, I had the opportunity to chat with passionate chicken-keepers – from beginners to old-timers, and everyone in-between. If you’d like to get started with keeping a flock of lovely backyard chickens then cluck on over to my blog at Backyard Chicken Coops.
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