Why Everyone should Keep Pet Chickens
When my wife and I moved to the country one of the pets we acquired were chickens... although some folks do eat them, but ours soon became treasured pets. These are one of the most environmentally friendly pets and everyone should keep a few.
The obvious reason for keeping chickens is that hens lay eggs. Some breeds of hen lay an egg every day, stopping only when they moult. Other breeds lay less often, and laying production does slow as the birds age. Only hens are needed for egg production, but the rooster is needed to get chicks if that is the goal.
It should be noted that different breeds of chickens lay different colored eggs.
Because chickens give their owner food (eggs) they are environmentally friendly as a person does not need to get as much food shipped in from other areas.
This is also an economic fact, since chickens are a pet that gives back. Sure you have to provide them with food, but the cost of the food will justify itself and if you are going to have a pet, why not have one that helps you save money anyhow?
Chickens Eat Stuff You Don't Want
Chickens, when allowed to free range, will spend much of their time eating things you don't want. They eat insects, such as slugs and grasshoppers, and weeds, such as dandelions.
Chickens can also be given some kitchen left overs, like fruit, crusts of bread, and corn cobs, but should not be given meat or things with sauces and gravey on top, nor should they be given moldy or totally rotten food.
There are many different breeds of chickens as such a person can find a breed for whatever they like, be it personality, appearance, or egg prodution. Some have exotic feathering, and make exellent mothers
The variety in chicken breeds also means they come in different sizes, from the smaller Bantams to very large birds. Roosters are typically larger and more colorful, and will add interested as they crow in the morning or when they detect a threat (some roosters act as guard animals).
As well it is good to note that some breeds are very friendly and these should be selected when getting chickens with children in mind as some quite enjoy being carried around. See the link below on Breeds.
Easy to Care for
In addition to being inexpensive, chickens are relatively easy to care for especially as they are an outdoor pet. They do need a shelter at night, particularly in areas with cold nights or predators (otherwise they are fine to sleep in trees). This can be a small coop, or old shed. It needs to have a roosting area, even a ladder will do, and a nesting area with one nest per four birds.
In cold climates where the weather gets below freezing for long periods of time, it is good to have electricty to their shelter as a light bulb is all the heat they need in the winter.
They need to have a water source, and waterers can be purchased cheaply. They need a feeder which should be suspended to keep mice out. Chickens need laying ration if they are laying, and can be given Chicken Scratch which is a treat that you can offer your birds to help them to realize you are their friend.
If the birds are free ranged in the day and not over crowded in the coop, it will not need to be cleaned more than once or twice a month. Eggs should be collected daily though, and the birds checked for food and water.