Keeping a pet chicken seems like an interesting hobby for many people. Chickens don’t take up much space, they yield tasty eggs, and most people find them friendly. Besides, they don’t need that much to live either. It is also a good first pet for children. You may even want to keep your pet chicken indoors. Can you do that? How do you actually raise a chicken as a pet?
WHY A PET CHICKEN?
Of all the pets you can keep, why exactly would you choose a pet chicken? If you’re asking that question, keeping chickens is probably not for you. In fact, you have to like chickens before you even start. A fondness for this type of small animal helps enormously in getting them tame.
Do you like chickens but aren’t sure if it’s for you? Then read on. In fact, chickens are very easy to tame. It is best if you buy a pet chicken from chick or to. You can then watch her grow up from little cotton balls to full-fledged chickens. Chicks are easy to tame and very fun to keep. Fair is fair: they also just look really cute.
Chickens can sit on your lap, chase you and eat out of your hand. And of course, they are also fun: they lay a fresh egg every day. Nothing is tastier than eggs from your own chickens. Also fun to give away to friends, family and neighbors. That way, you’ll build up goodwill to babysit when you go on vacation.
You can keep chickens with other animals. You just have to make sure that the other pet will not catch the pet chicken. Chickens are easy prey for many animals. So do keep an eye on them.
WHICH BREED TO CHOOSE AS A CHICKEN PET?
Not all chickens are suitable as pets. Some breeds are very large, for example, or very noisy. There are also chickens with a strangely loud laugh, for example. You don’t want to keep those in a residential neighborhood. When choosing a pet chicken, look mainly at the space you have. Do you have lots of room? Then you can choose a large chicken. Do you have a little less space? Then it’s best to choose a bantam chicken. This is a much smaller chicken.
The breeds all have different characteristics. They also all look different. Look up some addresses of people who sell chickens and visit them. Don’t buy a pet chicken right away, but think about it for a while. Many chicken breeders can also give you reliable information.
For some places it is not convenient if a pet chicken can fly. Chickens are not high flyers, but don’t underestimate their fluttering and flying ability either. Some chickens can get over the hedge or fence just fine. Want a chicken that sucks when it comes to flying? Then your best bet is to buy a Brahma chicken. These are friendly and large, but are less able to flutter and run away.
Buy your pet chicken from a breeder that is reliable and reputable. Look around: do the other chickens look good and healthy? Also delve into the different breeds first. What do and don’t certain breeds eat? What is the behavior of certain breeds? It’s a good idea to orient yourself with a breeder first. Of course, the breeder can also tell you more about the pros and cons of different breeds.
This is not a complete list of necessities, but of things you should definitely have ready when you get a chicken the first day. On our website you will also find another complete list and checklist for everything you need to keep chickens. Feed and a good coop, are the two basic necessities.
What does a chicken actually eat? And how often? Ideally, a chicken will eat twice a day. Offer a grain mix, mixed with laying pellets, for example. It is also good if your chicken ingests grit or pounded shells. You can also choose stomach grit through the feed. These agents help chickens digest their eater better. They also get calcium from the grit. This, in turn, is very good for bones and egg shell. You can give the chicken grit from chick or onward. Just make sure the grit is ground a little finer.
Not sure which feed to choose? Then ask the chicken’s breeder what food she was given first. After all, chickens prefer to eat something they are used to. You can also see what food bowls the breeder uses. The same goes for drinkers: chickens like to eat and drink from something they are already familiar with. Read here more about the best chicken feed.
You can also let your chicken snack. They like almost everything. Bread, rice and fruit are favorites. They even eat other chickens and eggs, but that seems a little crude. They even like French fries, but you shouldn’t offer too much of that – as with humans.
If you want to keep a chicken, it is smart to purchase a coop in advance. Even if you decide that the chicken can run free in the garden, a place of its own is very nice. The coop does not have to be large, because the hen will use it mainly to sleep and lay eggs. But it is important that if you are going to keep several chickens, you take into account the number of square meters per chicken.
The coop should have a stick in it. She can sleep on that and lay eggs on it. If you don’t want your chickens to walk around, then a coop with a run is a good idea. In the coop the chickens sleep, and in the run they can walk.
The bottom of the run can be concrete. This is easy to clean. Of course, you still put something over it for the chickens to walk on. This is called ground cover. You have to replace it regularly.
CAN I KEEP A CHICKEN AS A PET?
Do you want a chicken as a pet? You can. It depends on what your definition of “pet” is. If that is that the chicken can stay inside the home, we have a bad announcement: that’s not a good idea. Why not, you’ll read in a moment.
If you want to keep a chicken as a pet that lives outside, then you actually have a very nice pet in chickens. Especially if you choose a breed that is friendly and easy to tame. Some breeds of chickens are also known to be very good with children. These breeds are friendly and will do anything for a little food. You can really befriend a chicken.
A chicken can be a fun first pet for small children. You teach them to be responsible with animals by buying a chicken. For example, you are teaching them to feed chickens. Also involve your children in the less fun chores, such as poop removal. Teach your children that if you stay calm with an animal, you get a lot of joy in return.
CAN A CHICKEN STAY INDOORS?
Can I keep a chicken inside? We sometimes get that question at EigenKippen.nl. The answer is not so clear-cut. Some chickens are good at being pampered indoors. There are stories about Barnevelders that come and sit on your lap, spread their wings and let themselves be petted. Of course you have to put a towel on your lap in case the chicken needs to do her business.
So you can take a chicken inside for a while, if she wants to. But you can’t keep a chicken inside. A home is not suitable as a chicken enclosure. This is because chickens like to scratch the earth. This is their natural behavior. After all, there is no sand in the house and nothing to peck at and snatch. Moreover, the smell of chicken shit is not a pleasant smell. Your visitors will definitely come in with frowned eyebrows if the living room is covered in shit, or it smells extremely like chicken. So that’s not a good idea.
Leave your chicken in the garden. They love to run free. But sometimes you don’t have the space for that. Then a coop or run is the only good solution. At night your chickens will roost by themselves. If they are allowed loose, they may also seek a shelter in the garden.
In short: can your chicken be indoors? Yes, it can. Very briefly. Can your chicken live in your house? No, it can’t. A chicken is not a dog or cat that you can housebreak inside. Besides, cats and dogs do not have a constant need to peck at food or scratch at sand. A chicken does have that need. Therefore, it is pathetic to keep chickens inside. So keep your chicken outside. Then she will have a much nicer life.
Chickens can take cold well, but not so well from wind, rain and heat. Therefore, it is important that your chickens are dry and sheltered. Against the heat, it is nice to be able to sit in the shade. Does it get too cold? Then your chickens will stop laying eggs. Therefore, it is important that the coop is nice and warm, but not too hot either. Make sure the poles are at least half a meter above the ground. Chickens like to roost high up.
TO THINK ABOUT: THE SOUND OF A CHICKEN
When you start keeping chickens, it is important to think about noise. If you live on a detached farm, this will not be a problem at all. If you live in a residential area, the noise a chicken makes can still cause problems. Roosters in particular are known for it. You won’t be the first person to get into a big neighborly argument over the sound of the rooster. Therefore, it is important that you first have a good relationship with the neighbors, and that the neighbors also support your chicken hobby.
Hens can also make quite a bit of noise. A rooster may crow louder, but a hen should not be underestimated. Hens cluck when they are fed or laying eggs. Many people like that, but whether the neighbors like it is another matter. If you are just starting out with your chicken hobby, then of course you can cultivate some goodwill with the neighbors by bringing a few tasty eggs now and then. If they like the chickens, you’re already 2-0 ahead.