Chickens for pets? How crazy is that? As a matter of a fact, not too crazy. Chickens can have a life-span comparable to a small dog. They can live up to eight years or more if protected and cared for. There have been some cases that have lived into their teens. The author in the article in this link has an 11-year-old bantam. link: http://www.chickeneggspert.com/general-chicken-information/the-lifespan-of-a-chicken/28.asp. Then there is Matilda, a hen who went into the Guinness World Records because she lived between 15 to 16 years old. She enjoyed a life as a performer participating with her owner’s performances.
Many people try to prevent themselves from bonding with their feathered friends because they believe they have a short lifespan. But if a person withholds love and affection from any creature capable of returning those sentiments only cheats themselves of a rewarding and unique companionship. There is a lot to be said about the expression, “Better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all” that expression goes for pets too.
They’re the only pets that I can think of that supplies you with eggs as well as love. They eat the insects, and give you manure for your garden. No dog or cat can boast of those things, and yet chickens are rarely ever thought of as pets. If you go to any website for pets to make a purchase for chicken pet accessory you will not find chickens listed, which I find irritating.
I have some of the sweetest roosters and hens at my farm. They make me fully
aware that they love me. My rooster comes running every time he sees me and he allows me to pick him up. His name is Cuddles. We named him that because
he loves being cuddled; he can’t get enough hugs. I have a hen named Dearhart who follows me around everywhere I go and cries for me to pick her up. My sweet Sunshine just goes into what seems to be a depression if I don’t hold and love on her. I could keep going, but I think you have the idea.
Our rooster named Sheriff Nick was 12 years old when he died, but I think he would still be alive now if I hadn’t tried to make him happy by giving him some girls. Those hens plucked his feathers and picked at him constantly. They were forevermore fighting with each other and escaping their lots. He would worry himself and not have a minute’s peace until she came back. Poor old boy, he had the most beautiful tail until we gave him those girls. They systematically picked and picked until they picked it all off. We applied Pick No More but they still picked at him. We finally just took him out and let him go wherever he wanted. He just laid out in the sun and died one day. Sweet ole boy, he sure is missed.
The problem with chicken survival is all the predators. My Lord, it seems everything wants to eat them poor babies. We have a lot of free ranging chickens on our farm and most chicken hawks around here knows that too. We work outdoors around our chickens from daylight to dark so we keep a close eye on them, but it has been rough. Those smart chicken hawks watching which end of the property we’re on and they go to the opposite end. But we have learned a trick or two.
We have raccoons, possums, coyote, bobcats, foxes, and dogs that all want to eat our chickens. And if that’s not enough there are the horrible rats! I would never have dreamed rats would eat my chickens. Yes! They will eat your chickens, and what’s worse they will chew holes out to get to them. They make my skin crawl. I think rats are the worst of the predators because they are sneaky. They come in from under the floors, climb the walls, and dig holes in the lots. We caught one in the act of pulling one of our 2-month-old pullets off to make a meal of her. It took two months for her to recover. See this article for rat hunting dogs: http://countrysidenetwork.com/daily/homesteading/pests-predators/rat-hunting-dogs-a-historically-organic-option/?mqsc=E3912824&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=CSN%20ListCountryside%20Daily&utm_campaign=Daily%2010-5-17 From the sky chickens get hawks and owls that would love to make them into a tasty snack. From the ground, you name it; from rats to humans everything wants to eat them.
With so many chickens all around the world, (over 21 billion chickens worldwide), you’d think that a chicken being a great pet would have caught on by now. But the bottom line is that people don’t want to think about the fact that chickens are great pets because billions around the world are chicken’s largest predator. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on no one for eating chickens. Just that the value of a chicken’s life would be a little higher on the totem pole if they were appreciated a little more for all they give us.
I just think it’s sad when so many folks and chickens miss out on a rewarding relationship because it’s hush hush. Or that folks think you’re weird for having a pet chicken. I will forever have a place in my heart for Mr. Red. He was a unique rooster that adopted a kitten and would feed her any kind of food we’d toss out to him. He would wait for us outside the door until we came back out. I’m glad I was lucky enough to have that boy in my life. Trust me, there is a wonderful Mr. Red or Sunshine out there waiting for a someone like you.