Raising Chickens (the Pet That Pays for Itself)

Updated on April 26, 2018
Jodah profile image

John is an animal lover. There is not a time in his life when he didn't have a pet. He now has six cats, two dogs, and one chicken.

The newest additions to the family. Chickens make great pets.
The newest additions to the family. Chickens make great pets. | Source

The Joy of Pets

Pets are great and most of us have grown up with cats, dogs, guinea pigs/hamsters, maybe some fish, or if you live in the country even a horse. They offer companionship, entertainment, unconditional love, and help teach responsibility.

I have had pets in one form or the other as long as I can remember. The first pets my family had were a dog named Skipper and a Galah parrot named Cocky. Pets come and go but there isn’t a part of my childhood where we didn’t have at least one animal as part of the household.

However owning pets, although very satisfying, can also be expensive. The initial purchase of dogs and cats (especially if they are purebred) can be quite prohibitive particularly if this includes their immunization shots etc. Then on top of that there may be other veterinarian bills such as de-sexing (especially important for cats if you don’t want to quickly attain a house full), health problems, injuries etc.

One pet, however, that is comparatively inexpensive to purchase as well as in its ongoing care is the humble chicken (foul, poultry, chook depending where you come from). Prices can vary depending on whether you purchase day-old chicks, point of lay pullets, or roosters and whether you buy them from a produce store or breeder. The particular breed itself can also be a determining factor.

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They even get on with other pets
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They even get on with other pets
They even get on with other pets | Source
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Eight Essential Tips for Raising Chickens

My eight essential tips for acquiring and raising chickens are as follows:

  1. Keep your eye out for advertisements of “Ex-battery Hens for Sale.” These hens may be past their ultimate egg laying stage (two years old) but you can be assured they are still reliable layers of at least three or four eggs per week, and they will be worth the price. Besides you will be giving them the best home they ever had and a happy retirement.
  2. Join local “Buy, Swap and Sell” groups on Facebook and monitor those and also newspaper classifieds for “Poultry for Sale or Giveaway.” I managed to purchase ten x four day old chickens for $2.00 each, and a month later saw an advertisement for “Assorted Poultry to Giveaway."
  3. If you wish to breed more chickens the easiest way is with a rooster. Most poultry farmers find they have an excess of roosters from a batch of chickens and sell them off cheaply. If you live in a town or city you may not be allowed to keep a rooster (check your local council regulations). If you can have a rooster, make sure to ask the seller about its temperament. You don’t want the trouble of having one that is aggressive and attacks you every time you approach the hens.
  4. If you can’t keep a rooster you can still breed and raise chickens by purchasing fertilized eggs and placing them under one of your hens or incubating them yourself. You can purchase an incubator if you have the funds or make sure you keep the eggs at a constant temperature and turn them twice a day. However I feel this is a lot of trouble to go to (See next tip).
  5. Acquire at least one or two bantam or Silky hens as they just love sitting on eggs and are great mothers. You will need these if you wish to breed more chickens, especially if you have purchased ex battery hens (bred to be laying machines not mothers) which will lay but not go “broody” or sit on eggs until they hatch.
  6. Have a cage, coop, or run set up before you take possession of the chickens. You need to have somewhere to put them, even if you intend for them to free-range most of the time. They take time to settle into a new home; will need somewhere to be housed at night and to lay their eggs. It is too much trouble trying to do it afterwards.
  7. Make sure the chicken coop (if fixed/permanent) is close to an adequate water supply so the chickens have clean water every day. We have a rain water tank that is filled by the runoff from a nearby shed and a hose running from that to the chicken coop. Here in Queensland, Australia, cane toads are a problem as they get into the water at night and poison it. It is therefore essential that you change the water each morning or your chickens will die.
  8. Buy a bag of “layer pellets’ or “mixed grain” if your poultry are full grown, or “chicken mash” if chickens less than a month old. I have fifteen chickens of various sizes and a 20 kilogram bag usually lasts about six weeks and costs around $15.00 (that’s $1.00 per bird.. not bad). * For newly hatched chickens, up four weeks of age, I make up my own mash by boiling rice and rolled oats into a porridge and then mixing in “mixed grain with sunflower seeds.”

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Pen suitable for newborn chicksChickens are usually moved to this coop after about three weeks of age.Pen and nesting boxes for full grown poultryPoultry food comes in 20kg bags. This is the most economical way to buy it.Mixed grain with sunflower seeds. You can also use this to feed the wild birds.
Pen suitable for newborn chicks
Pen suitable for newborn chicks | Source
Chickens are usually moved to this coop after about three weeks of age.
Chickens are usually moved to this coop after about three weeks of age. | Source
Pen and nesting boxes for full grown poultry
Pen and nesting boxes for full grown poultry | Source
Poultry food comes in 20kg bags. This is the most economical way to buy it.
Poultry food comes in 20kg bags. This is the most economical way to buy it. | Source
Mixed grain with sunflower seeds. You can also use this to feed the wild birds.
Mixed grain with sunflower seeds. You can also use this to feed the wild birds. | Source

You Are Now a Chicken Farmer

After this initial set-up you are ready to go as a chicken farmer, or as I call myself a “cackleberry farmer.” It may take the chickens a week or two to settle in, and I recommend keeping them caged for this period. After that you can start letting them out to free range during the day, or if you have a portable coop just move it around.

Soon you will be pleasantly rewarded when the hens commence laying for you, and you will find that the value you get in eggs will soon pay for and exceed your initial setup costs and also more than cover the ongoing price of chicken food. We are currently getting on average six eggs a day from six hen's of laying age so every one is paying its way. This is more eggs than we can eat so when we accumulate more than three dozen we start giving them away or selling some cheaply to friends.

* Before you do this however I advise to check your state or country regulations regarding the sale of home grown eggs. In some places it is now illegal to sell "back yard" eggs due to health concerns. Though you are allowed personal consumption of the eggs your hen's produce, and I have heard of more people suffering food poisoning from eggs and chickens served at restaurants, fast food outlets and the like than from backyard farmers.

No longer will you have to throw food scraps in the trash as chickens will eat almost anything (apart from onion and citrus fruit skins). Basically whatever your dogs and cats won't eat, and you don't recycle into compost, will be eagerly devoured.

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When Chickens Hatch

If you do have a rooster and some bantam hens you will find that you regularly have a hen going broody (clucky) and sitting on a nest of eggs. In around 21 days (incubation period) you should be the proud parent of a new batch of chicks. Bear in mind it is unlikely that all eggs will hatch (usually between 50-75% success rate). Sometimes the hens will try to sit on more eggs than they can comfortably accommodate.

When the chickens finally hatch I usually leave them in the cage for at least five weeks, until they are big enough to risk releasing to face the big bad world and hopefully fend for themselves. By this time the mother hen may also have lost interest in caring for them.

It will probably take at least this long for you to find out if they are hens or roosters. Ideally it is recommended you have no more than one rooster per 10 hens, but we have four roosters and only fifteen hens at the moment and they are all happy. Our roosters have grown up together and have never fought yet.

If you do find yourself with too many roosters you have a couple of choices. Turn the odd one into the Sunday roast (if you have the stomach for killing, plucking and gutting), or try to sell or give them away.

This rooster is King of the Roost
This rooster is King of the Roost | Source

In the Mood:The Chicken Version by Ray Stevens

Chickens Can Be Pets

Although chickens are often thought of as just a farm animal and may not be considered the conventional pet, I find they can be exactly that. If you feed and interact with them from the time they hatch they can become very tame. They are more intelligent than many people give them credit for; they have individual personalities and are good entertainment value. Give them each names to suit their personality (as long as you don’t intend eating them. Never name your food!) We have one hen that is so tame it regularly comes inside the house to lay an egg, so we don’t even have to go hunting for it.

One particular aspect I love about raising chickens and having them as pets is the variety you can create by breeding your very own unique poultry. You could call them "designer pets."

So, if you want a pet that is not much trouble, is faithful and doesn't stray, helps keep bugs under control, weeds gardens, consumes food scraps, and even pays for its own feed keep by providing food for you, then consider raising chickens (the pet that pays for itself).

Variety and creating your own unique breeds is half the fun
Variety and creating your own unique breeds is half the fun | Source

Popular Breeds of Chicken

 
 
 
Ancona
Hamburg
Plymouth Rock
Andalusian
Indian Game
Polish
Araucana
Langshan
Rhode Island
Australorp
Leghorn
Rose Comb
Barnevelder
Minorca
Sebright
Belgian
Modern Game
Silkie
Brahma
New Hampshire
Sussex
Campine
Old English Game
Welsummer
Faverolle
Orpington
Wyandotte
Frizzle
Pekin
 
This is not an exhaustive list, but includes some of the most common and popular breeds.
Source

What is your favourite pet after reading this article?

See results
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Chickens in the kitchenWho are you calling chicken?"Ugly Betty" is 7 years old and still laying four eggs per week.
Chickens in the kitchen
Chickens in the kitchen | Source
Who are you calling chicken?
Who are you calling chicken? | Source
"Ugly Betty" is 7 years old and still laying four eggs per week.
"Ugly Betty" is 7 years old and still laying four eggs per week. | Source
The ultimate guide to keeping chickens in your backyard. This book includes all the information you need to keep your very own chickens: How to choose a breed suited to your needs, space and climate; How to choose and build or buy a coop.
The ultimate guide to keeping chickens in your backyard. This book includes all the information you need to keep your very own chickens: How to choose a breed suited to your needs, space and climate; How to choose and build or buy a coop. | Source

Additional Information about Keeping Chickens

This article only provides the basic information necessary for purchasing, breeding and raising chickens. Additional helpful information can be found on my popular "Diary of a Cackleberry Farmer" hubs (or see "more by this author" on the right of this article). *Note for my followers: At the present time I have put that series on hold, however I may continue it sometime in the future. This article could be seen as a supplementary edition. Oh, it is also my 250th published hub.

For detailed information on keeping chickens I can recommend the following excellent publication, Keeping Chickens (An Australian Guide). It offers invaluable information in a very easy to read and sometimes humorous style. It is written for Australians but is an informative guide for anyone considering keeping chickens no matter where in the world you live.


An Easy Clean Chicken Coop

Questions & Answers

    © 2016 John Hansen

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      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        17 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for your generous comment Deonne. Yes, roosters/hen's and dogs and cats soon get used to each other's presence and seem to actually welcome the interaction.

        I am glad you, your dogs, and the caged roosters you came across feel that. They certainly all Do have unique personalities. Take care.

      • ladydeonne profile image

        Deonne Anderson 

        17 months ago from Florence, SC

        I love this hub! I too am an animal lover. I have two dogs that are my whole world! I found your hub on chickens especially interesting because my dogs and I often visit a band of roosters that are cooped on a large field in the woods where we go to run and play. These roosters actually have personalities! They get excited when we show up. I even have dialogue with and sing to them. At first they were fearful of my dogs and would run inside their coop and hide. Eventually, they warmed up to my dogs who

        have fallen in love with them. Congrats on having the best animal hub!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        19 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks Anita. It is a shame you had to get rid of your poultry. We are moving to town so have to get rid of all the roosters, but will be taking the hens with us. Hope it all goes well. Yes, hens seem to lay before 11am as a general rule.

      • Anita Hasch profile image

        Anita Hasch 

        19 months ago from Port Elizabeth

        Very interesting and helpful hub, Jodah. I had to get rid of my chickens when they kept on flying into the next door's yard, and then killed by my daughters dogs.

        My mother had a very successful poultry backyard business. She always kept 200 Rhode Island Red hens and a few cocks. They were kept in two large runs, and kept inside until 1pm. Then she would let them run around outside, at 5 'o clock she just threw mielies in the run, and they all came in without being chased. She said that most of the hens laid their eggs in the morning.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Cheers, Paula.

      • profile image

        paula 

        2 years ago

        Jodah......Congratulations!! Good for you! Bravo!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Chitrangada, I greatly appreciate your kind congratulations.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, Jennifer. I hope you do manage to get chickens next year. maybe then this information will be helpful to you. Thanks for the congrats too.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        2 years ago from New Delhi, India

        Congratulations Jodah for this well presented and detailed hub about raising chickens. I appreciated it earlier and I appreciate it again for the well deserved Hubbie award.

        Thanks and enjoy the win! Have a blessed day!

      • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

        Jennifer Mugrage 

        2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

        Jodah, congrats on getting best Hub! I will keep your Hub in mind as a reference. Would like to raise chickens some day, but we have a very small yard currently. (sigh) Maybe next year ... maybe not ...

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks for the congratulation and for checking out this article, Martie. Glad you enjoyed "In the Mood" too :)

      • marcoujor profile image

        Maria Jordan 

        2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

        Congratulations, John - still smiling from the "In the Mood" video - what a detailed post!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you Savvy. It was a surprise but greatly appreciated.

      • savvydating profile image

        Yves 

        2 years ago

        This comprehensive hub most definitely deserves the Hubbie award. Congratulations, Jodah!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Theresa. I wasn't expecting this one, but thank you heaps.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you MsDora. Much appreciated.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        I know, Mike. Who would have thought? Certainly not me. I am happy though.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, Shauna. Much appreciated.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, Chris. It was quite a surprise to see so many emails of comments for this article this morning and then I see one from Christy Kirwan saying it won a hubby award for PetHelpful... I am surprised, but over the moon. Thanks for your kind comment.

      • profile image

        Faith Reaper 

        2 years ago

        Congratulations, John, on winning a Hubbie Award for this awesome hub! Well-deserved.

        Woo hoo!!!

        Blessings

      • profile image

        MsDora 

        2 years ago

        Congratulations on your well-deserved Best Hub on PetHelpful Award!

      • mckbirdbks profile image

        mckbirdbks 

        2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Best Hub on Pethelpful - Congratulations John. I could not agree more with the outcome of this vote. Well deserved.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        2 years ago from Central Florida

        Congratulations on your 2016 Hubbie Award, my friend. Whoo hoo!

      • cam8510 profile image

        Chris Mills 

        2 years ago from Flagstaff, AZ

        John, You are a prolific writer in poetry, fiction and non fiction. I am so happy to see that you have one a Hubbie Award. This article is very practical these days when so many are taking up the task of raising chickens, many in cities. The information here is comprehensive, yet concise. Congratulations for being recognized as one of the premier writers on HubPages.

      • rajan jolly profile image

        Rajan Singh Jolly 

        2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

        Having bred poultry in cages and deep litter for years this hub was like fresh breeze caressing my face. Very interesting and useful info for anyone wishing to start raising chickens. Well done John!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi RT, yes that is exactly where "broody" came from. I hope your husband relents one day and agrees to let you raise chickens. Glad you found this article a fun and interesting read. Have a great week.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        2 years ago from the short journey

        Interesting and a fun read. And now I know why the term broody is used when a person just sits around lost in their thoughts for long periods of time! I keep trying to find ways to convince my husband that we should raise some chickens but for now it's on the eventually list. Enjoyed the pics of chickies!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Linda, chickens are really great to keep as both pets and for the eggs as they are quite easy to care for. Glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for reading.

      • profile image

        Linda Robinson 

        2 years ago

        Good morning John this article was fantastic, so much interesting, helpful information, you covered so much detail. A great read for any one that is interested in raising chickens for profit or just to have for pets. Terrific hub.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you Rajan, I appreciate that comment especially coming from a former poultry breeder. Cheers.

      • rajan jolly profile image

        Rajan Singh Jolly 

        2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

        Excellent pictures and well presented information for those who wish to start raising chickens. As a former poultry breeder I appreciate the way you have laid out this info in layman terms. Well done John!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you Shauna. I admit that I did write this as an experiment to see if I could get a hub selected for the new niche site, and surprisingly it worked. Glad you enjoyed the read.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        2 years ago from Central Florida

        Wow. I didn't realize until I had to sign in, that this hub is on one of the new niche sites. Hmmm.

        Your chickens are beautiful, John. I think it's cool that one of them comes in the house to lay her eggs. You can add free delivery service to the many benefits of owning chickens. :-)

        This hub is not only informative, but fun to read, John.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi lollyj. Yes, we have a retirement home for chickens...too squeamish to kill our pets. My parents told me you should never name your food..makes it too hard to kill them.

      • lollyj lm profile image

        Laurel Johnson 

        2 years ago from Washington KS

        Wonderful hub!! Lots of good info too. My mom and aunt raised chickens when I was a youngster and every one had a name. They were definitely pets. They were excellent layers and when it came time to thin out the flock, Grandma and Grandpa had to do that cause mom and auntie didn't have the heart to kill or dress the chickens. Thanks for the memory, too.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Wow, I hadn't heard of chickens as therapy pets but that is a great idea Shyron. Thanks for sharing that. I have four chickens that follow me around.

      • profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 

        2 years ago

        This is great John, I just saw a story about an autistic child who is learning to talk because of his pet chickens in Texas. Now chickens are called therapy pets.

        When were small, my brother had a pet rooster who use to follow him all over the farm.

        Blessings my friend.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Lawrence we used to have geese, and people were more frightened of them than our dogs. One used to sneak up behind people and pick their pockets if they were sitting down. True!

      • profile image

        Lawrence Hebb 

        2 years ago

        John

        Don't remember having chickens but we did have a goose at one stage,, and he was better than a guard dog!

        Lawrence

      • profile image

        Deb Hirt 

        2 years ago

        This is a delightful story. I had a friend that was given several chickens that didn't lay much, but they were all delightful. They had the personalities of which you speak and roosted in several trees at night. I recall driving into the driveway, and they would walk me to the house. Ah, such wonderful memories.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Chickens are a good pet but many people don't consider them especially if they live in the city. Thanks for reading this Vellur.

      • Vellur profile image

        Nithya Venkat 

        2 years ago from Dubai

        Interesting and informative learned a lot about raising chickens after reading this hub. Never thought that chickens as pets.

      • Phyllis Doyle profile image

        Phyllis Doyle Burns 

        2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

        Glad your experiment worked, Jodah. No, that was not me asking about an illustrator.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you Phyllis. I wrote this as an experiment with the hope of it making the new site..and voila! It worked. Glad you enjoyed it. (Were you the Phyllis who asked Billybuc about a book illustrator on one of his mailbag hubs? If so email me, I know an illustrator)

      • Phyllis Doyle profile image

        Phyllis Doyle Burns 

        2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

        Congratulations, Jodah, for your article to appear on this new site, PetHelpful. Well done.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Flourish. I think they call them articles here, not too sure yet. Ye, battery hens deserve a nice retirement. If I see any advertised as giveaways I usually take them in. Thanks for reading.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Good to see you here at Pet Helpful, Mel. I guess a good mail carrier will go anywhere, right? Thanks for the congrats on hub 250. I am working on getting off that number soon. There is a bit of work involved in setting up for keeping chickens but after that they are quite easy really. Just feed them and clean their cage now and then. Pity you can't have them, but yeah we have trouble killing ours for food to. We joke that this is a retirement home for chickens.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 years ago from USA

        Fun article (or is it hub on PetHelpful?). I would love to move to the country and give battery hens a good retirement.

      • Mel Carriere profile image

        Mel Carriere 

        2 years ago from San Diego California

        Wow, that was the first time I had to login under Pet Helpful. Congratulations on your big 250. In older parts of our city they still allow the raising of poultry, but where I live there are restrictions against it. Otherwise, it might be a fun hobby, though it sounds like a lot of work. I know my wife couldn't bring herself to eat the pets, she used to have a rooster when she was growing up in Mexico that attacked everybody but was very loving with her. Fantastic hub!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Haha....well done Surabhi...two jokes in one comment...yes a chicken displays true love :) You deserve a standing ovation. Maybe I should have a section in this article for chicken jokes. Now I have to try and get "Soldier" used to his name. High 5!

      • profile image

        Surabhi Kaura 

        2 years ago

        Ha ha ha ha!! High five! Please do so, Jodah… please do so. The chicken is yearning for a name. Please, please offer him the honour. After all, chickens are kinda like soldiers. They both run to save life. The only difference is - the soldier runs for the nation and the poor chicken runs for his life! Just cracked a joke. May I have some standing ovation for my on-spot humour? ha ha.

        Congratulations. I see this hub under 'pethelpful.com' :)

        P.S. - One of my friends sent a joke the other day - Chicken is better than the chick who said she will die for you. Chicken actually died for you. Chicken is true love. LOL!!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for reading this article Surabhi. I thought I would write on to see if I could get it chosen for the new niche site..and voila! Interesting that you had a poultry farm as a child and this brought back memories. Only a few of my chickens have names, maybe I will call one of the roosters soldier in honour of the one you used to have :)

      • profile image

        Surabhi Kaura 

        2 years ago

        Jodah, I must say that this is an excellent hub with useful information. We had a huge poultry-farm backhome, where we had many chickens. It used to give me so much joy to see the eggs lol. I was a kid back then. One of your chickens resembles to the chicken I had in India, and I named him 'Soldier' haha. Oh boy! Good old days!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks for your comment Alicia. Yes chickens have unfairly been labeled as just food sources and unintelligent, when really they are just as intelligent as other birds. They can learn to come when called and they all have their own idiosyncrasies. They also learn to follow the lawn mower as it disturbs bugs in the grass etc.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Good to see you Shanmarie. If everyone else in the neighborhood has chickens you should start raising them as well. We are getting more eggs than we can use ourselves and they are better than store bought eggs.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi MV, thanks for reading. Our chickens also free range after about five weeks of age. We lose a few eggs and probably 1/4 of new chicks to carpet pythons and goannas but after that age they are usually not bothered by predators. Our four roosters to a fairly good job at protecting the flock.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        This is a useful and interesting article, Jodah. I was especially interested to read your statement that chickens are more intelligent than many people give them credit for. I've been hearing about chicken intelligence lately. It's a great shame that the birds are so often thought of as only a food source.

      • shanmarie profile image

        Shannon Henry 

        2 years ago from Texas

        Great tips. There are so many chickens running lose around my neighborhood. Seems as if they get out of the yards and into the street now and then. Seeing them, however, always makes me think we should get some and save a little money on eggs.

      • MVKilgore profile image

        M. Victor Kilgore 

        2 years ago

        I love raising them, but tire of predators killing them as they are free rangers.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks MsDora,. No You only need a rooster if you want the eggs to be fertilized and get chickens. Hens lay whether their is a rooster or not and some prefer life not being chased around by one. If chickens free range however it is often good to have a rooster because they protect the flock from predators.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        Jodah, I've always thought that there had to be a rooster. I learned from this article and I enjoyed it, along with the memory of my grandmother raising chickens. Thanks!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Phyllis, sorry your inbox got crammed because of comments to this hub. I guess chickens are a popular subject :) thanks for reading.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Ruby, yes we too have trouble killing our own chickens for food. We keep them mainly for eggs and as pets. Glad you liked reading this.

      • Phyllis Doyle profile image

        Phyllis Doyle Burns 

        2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

        Hey Jodah. My mail box was crammed full of "Raising Chickens" this morning. Glad to see the article is doing so well. Of course, you always get good response on your writes. Good on you!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you Manatita, yes Bill and I are on the same wavelength. I appreciate you reading this.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        2 years ago from Southern Illinois

        My mother always had baby chickens who she lovingly cared for, then we always had fryers and laying hens. I became so attached, when she killed one to eat, I would run in back of the house, close my eyes and cover my ears. There's no way I could have chickens in town, but I enjoyed reading about your love for your chicken's.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        2 years ago from london

        Great Hub on raising and caring for chickens on a farm. Bill's your man for this, I think. I played a small role with my grand-father when I was a child.

        This is a useful informative Hub and educational to some, I'm sure. I like birds as they remind me of the journey of the Soul. I like the beauty of the Aviannovice style ones. But I like dogs too, again for spiritual reasons: Their loyalty and devotion. This seems to be an area that gives you joy. Great!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you Fank, yeah I know it's life is not compiatible with keeping chickens. This is my attempt at creating a hub suitable for one of the new niche sites. Time will tell.

      • Frank Atanacio profile image

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        Jodah thanks for this Keeping Chicken Guide, although it looks like fun and hard work, can't raise chicken in the cities.. lol too many cats, laws, and not enough time.. but yeah this was a fun read and great pics too...:)

      • Missy Smith profile image

        Missy Smith 

        2 years ago from Florida

        Yes, The song "The Streak" is the one I remember the most from Ray Stevens. lol... So funny!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Chitrangada, thank you for such a generous comment. I agree that parrots are wonderful pets, as are fish especially if you have limited space. I have had both. I do hope you get to own chickens one day. Cheers.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks for reading Jesse, and for your generous comment. Glad you enjoyed this.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Theresa, well we have three dogs and four cats and have only ever lost one chicken to a cat. They seem to understand now that the chickens are pets like them. We don't really have the stomach for killing ours either and often joke that this is a retirement home for old chickens. The cute fuzzy kind are "Silkies" and they are very good pets. We have one orange rooster with very long feathers like he is wearing a coat...he is quite stunning.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        2 years ago from New Delhi, India

        Wonderful hub on raising chickens ! You have provided almost all the necessary information one needs to have to raise these wonderful and useful birds. I would have loved to do so if I had that much space. But may be in future I would do it .

        I always consider birds and fishes are the best pets. I have a pair of lovely parrots and a fish aquarium containing six pair of colourful and beautiful fish.

        Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative hub!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for reading Dana and also for liking it. I once applied for a job at a chicken producers but wasn't accepted because I had chickens at home.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hey Missy, wow imagine you voting for a chicken as a preferred pet over your kitty cat. I have heard that pigs are very intelligent though I have never had one as a pet. Our last batch of chicks were abandoned by their mother very young so they seem to have attached themselves to me. As soon as they see me they come running. Ray Stevens is hilarious isn't he. I remember him from the song "The Streak."

      • Jesse Drzal profile image

        The Write Life 

        2 years ago from The United States

        Great Hub, my friend! Really nice read I enjoyed this very much!

      • Faith Reaper profile image

        Faith Reaper 

        2 years ago from southern USA

        Wow, John, this is a comprehensive hub here on raising chickens and having them as pets! I learned a lot. Well, with our chocolate lab and cat, I don't think any chickens would last too long around my house, sadly.

        Your photo are great and boy, you have a lot of chickens. My husband has always said he would like a rooster. A neighbor up the road from us, has a beautiful one, such gorgeous color blue on it. I've never seen one like it before. If we were able to have pet chicks, I would like those cute fuzzy kind ...dont' know what they are called, but "they" say they make great pets.

        Poor second rooster's fate there ...My husband's grandmother would do all of that to fry fresh chicken back in the day. From what he described, I know that I just don't have the stomach to do it and then not sure I would want to eat it if I saw what happened to them.

        If, in the future, we are able to have chicken, I will certainly refer back to this informative hub of yours.

        Blessings always

      • Diana Lee profile image

        Diana L Pierce 

        2 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

        Great article, Jodah. I cannot have birds at home now because I work for a commercial egg producer and the slightest threat of bird flu or other disease is something we take special precautions to, but over the years as a child on my parents farm and later with our own backyard flock, chickens have been a fun project.

      • Missy Smith profile image

        Missy Smith 

        2 years ago from Florida

        Hehe...John, I absolutely thought this hub was delightful and fun to read. I giggled at times. I remembered my own experiences with chickens when I lived on the farm. I didn't consider the chickens my pets; they were always kind of bitchy; excuse my language; even so, the best eggs ever. So rich in taste, deep in color. So much better than store bought.

        Very informational stuff here, and extremely well put together. It's always a joy to read about your farm life. I miss it sometimes. Now I can re-live it a little through your hubs.

        I did, however, feel a little guilty when I voted I would like a chicken as a pet over my kitty cats. You are so right about those cats. I have gotten most of them fixed but one, and she just had a litter. (rolling eyes)

        The song you posted of Ray Stevens, I think I laughed all the way through. My mom loves him. My parents even dragged us girls to a concert of his back in the 80s, that I didn't want to attend, but thoroughly enjoyed to be honest. He is hilarious!

        Delightful Hub! Hey, I didn't have a chicken as a pet, but I had a pig I loved very much named "Fancy" Now she was a special pet. A very intelligent pig for real! :)

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Haha Clive, good luck with the chicks, Man...try not to eat them though :)

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks for your kind comment Phyllis. I wish you could have chickens again, but glad my hubs bring back happy memories at least. Have a great day.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        MizB, I love the story of your granddaughter hatching the quail egg in her bra :) I have one solution in regard to your neighbor...get chickens, but provide her with free eggs from time to time. That should shut her up. Not all roosters are aggressive .. We have only ever had one that would attack people and we now have four that don't even fight each other.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Dana, glad you enjoy my chicken hubs. My life is peaceful most of the time. I love to eat chicken too but can't kill my pets to do it. On a couple of occasions we have had aggressive roosters and we had to do away with them..and they ended up on the dinner table...but now we only breed well behaved roosters.. :)

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Maybe just try to borrow a rooster for a week or two Jackie to get some eggs fertilized. Then you can give him back and still get baby chicks out of it. I hope you do write about Lucy some day

      • clivewilliams profile image

        Clive Williams 

        2 years ago from Jamaica

        I used to raise chickens, but my belly got the better of me........When i get some more backyard space, i will definitely raise some more chicks...er i mean chickens.

      • Phyllis Doyle profile image

        Phyllis Doyle Burns 

        2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

        I so enjoyed this article, Jodah. All your hubs on chickens bring back good memories of my childhood. My Dad raised chickens and I always loved to watch them.

        This is a very informative and interesting article. The video is very good, too. I sure miss having chickens in my life, so I enjoy your articles even more.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James-MizBejabbers 

        2 years ago from Beautiful South

        John, good article with some very detailed instructions. I especially like the part about the tame chicken that comes in the house and lays eggs.

        I used to try to make pets of my grandma's chickens, but they were too wild. The old rooster that attacked everyone finally ended up in the pot. I would love to have chickens now, but although we are in the county, the woman next door would never give us any peace if we got chickens. If I were to get some chickens, I would need your instructions because it's been so long since I helped grandma care for them.

        My granddaughter has chickens in her backyard in Texas. She had little quail, too, at one time. She found an abandoned egg and put it in her bra to keep it warm until she could get it into the house into the incubator. When she got in the house, she found a baby quail chick in her bra. We still laugh at her about that.

      • Dana Tate profile image

        Dana Tate 

        2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

        Like you I grew up always having a pet, I can't imagine my life without one. When I was a child I wanted to be a veterinarian, sadly that didn't happen. I love chicken and I know that if I raised them as pets I wouldn't have the heart to eat them. That is if I didn't suffer from hunger, at that time all bets would be off. I love seeing your farm through your storytelling. Your life seems so peaceful.

      • Jackie Lynnley profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 

        2 years ago from The Beautiful South

        I really would love to get a rooster to have some baby chicks but sometimes the three I have are a handful; especially Lucy who seems to get out of the huge lot she has every day! If I thought a rooster could keep her in the kitchen I sure would give it a try! I should write about her some day, lol, when my nerves aren't bad. hahaha

        Great fun read!

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks Bill, I knew you would agree that chickens are the perfect pets. Yes, more people should keep them.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        2 years ago from Olympia, WA

        We've been raising them now almost three years and I honestly don't understand why more people don't raise them. They really are the perfect pet for an urban or rural home....they are even great gardeners in the spring and fall as they will always turn over the soil and mix in nutrients....and the eggs are light years better than those purchased in stores.....so yes, John, I love raising chickens.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Devika, glad you learnt something about caring for chickens from this hub.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        Interesting hub! I don't have chickens or any other pets. My neighbor keeps chickens and when they go away we feed it. It is a responsibility. I don't plan on having any of that for a long time. I learned more on this topic so glad I came by.

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        haha thanks Eric, you little son would love a pet chicken...really.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Very interesting, though I have no immediate plans to raise chickens your great writing style kept my interest and I learned a lot. Thanks

      • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for your confirmation of the information in this article Buildreps. Glad you still found it informative and enjoyed the photos. Much appreciated.

      • Buildreps profile image

        Buildreps 

        2 years ago from Europe

        Great article with tons of information about breeding chicks, John. I was raised on a farm as well, and I can confirm what you say that they have personalities, intelligent and that you can interact with them. Nice photographs. Well done.

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