Pet Feature: Chickens

in #animal6 years ago


Let me first start by saying I don't know if I would really classify my chickens as "pets." I do get a lot of enjoyment out of them but I don't quite have the relationship with them that I have with say my dog, or the ferret we once had.  Plus only two of my chickens actually have names.  


This is Henrietta (clever I know). She is a Buff Orpington. I originally had two Henriettas but unfortunately I came out one morning to feed them breakfast (and collect yummy eggs) and found one of them had passed in the night. Unfortunately with many birds it can sometimes be hard to tell anything is wrong with them health-wise until it is too late. 


The second hen with a name is known as Dragon Breath. (Don't tell the others but she is my favorite) Her name came from the patch of orange feathers that runs down her throat. I don't know what breed of chicken she is because she actually came from my mother-in-law's (jwaser) friend's farm as a hatching egg for a broody chicken.  Dragon Breath is the most vocal chicken I have. She will sit on a perch for half the morning singing what is called an "egg song." This is something chickens do before or after (or before and after) they lay an egg. 


The rest of my chickens pretty much just go by "Chicken" or "Chicky." I'm not very good at animal names... my ferret was named Ferret and I have a snake named Snake... my husband is much better at animal names (I will be putting together our herptile pet feature soon so you can see the cooler names he comes up with). 

So, you may be wondering "how much work does it take to actually care for these chickens?" Well, I tend to take a more hands off approach with my hens so I do less work than some other backyard chicken keepers. I usually spend 5-10 minutes in the morning bringing them food, refreshing their water, checking for eggs, and assessing their well-being and 5-10 minutes in the evening doing the same thing. 


One task that can take a little bit of time is cleaning out their nest boxes. This isn't needed every day but about every couple of weeks they have messed up the bedding in the boxes enough that I strip it out and replace it. I like to put a layer of shavings to soak up any moisture and a thick layer of straw on top of that. The straw gives the chickens something fun to play with because they can actually build themselves a little nest, rather than just laying in a box with shavings in it.  

 Photo Credit

The last task is the one that will take the longest. This is cleaning out their floor and adding any new floor bedding they may need. Right now they are just on the dirt and wood of their run and coop with the occasional day out in the yard (don't tell herpetologyguy). We throw in lawn clippings in the spring/summer and leaves in the fall to give them something extra to scratch around in.  The dirt we have in our backyard has worked out really great for the hens because it is very fine. This keeps it pretty dry (except for during the occasional tropical storm) and actually cuts out another step in their care routine. 

 Photo Credit

Chickens don't need baths like people, with soap and water and the works. They actually take dust baths. Now, it might seem crazy to get "clean" using dirt but this helps cut down on any creepy crawlies that may be trying to make the bird its home/meal. 

 Photo Credit

The start-up (getting the coop and chickens) is the hardest part but I think having chickens in your backyard is definitely worth the time and energy! There is nothing like getting up and grabbing the eggs for your breakfast omelet right from your own backyard.


Very awesome upvoted and their little house is cute.

I remeber when my grandmother use to have a bunch of chicken and I would watch each and one of the baby Chicken hatch from their eggs. Bring back memories 😏

I love watching chicks hatch! I haven't hatched any in awhile but I am hoping to next year some time!

I wish i can see some hatch, but i sure did enjoyed watching them while it lasted