Three years ago, my family decided that we were going to raise hens. My mom had raised hundreds as a child, and I’ve always been an extreme animal lover, so it just made perfect sense to add six baby chicks to the family. For their first two months of life, these chicks lived in a cage in my bedroom with a heating lamp over them. I automatically developed a very strong connection with the birds, and they’d sleep cupped in my hands for hours! It wasn’t long until I had names for each of them to suit their personalities: Sally, Wendy, Lilly, Junie, Daisy and Maisy.
Now full grown hens, these ladies are the most spoiled chickens in the world. I live in Ohio (where it’s currently getting down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit at night!) and we run heat out to their coop. Hens are definitely more of a high maintenance pet, but if you have a little bit of extra time and the proper space to raise a chicken family, give it a try! Sure, they’re kind of an unconventional pet, but they’re so fascinating to watch and they’re pretty darn cute, too. Here are five reasons that hens make excellent pets:
1. Free Breakfast! At about eight months (it varies by chicken), a hen starts laying her eggs. There’s nothing nicer than waking up and having fresh eggs to eat. My family tries to limit the amount of animal products we buy from the store, and it makes us feel more at ease knowing that we are eating eggs from (VERY) well-treated hens. On top of this, the eggs cost nothing!
2. Endless Entertainment! This sounds crazy, but chickens are the most interesting animals to watch! Whether they’re just pecking around in the dirt or chirping with their siblings, chickens are naturally very curious things and it’s fun to watch them go about their chicken lives! Hens even have something called a “pecking order” that actually determines who has superior power over the others.
3. Allergy Friendly! If you have allergies to pet fur, chickens are definitely the perfect pet for you! Who needs a dog or a cat when you can have your own coop of hens?
4. Chickens Are Eco-Friendly! Whether it’s from fertilizing your garden or eating away all of the bugs, chickens can be really big helpers. Fruit and veggie scraps from the dinner table can go straight to your chickens because they adore things like peppers, apples and lettuce.
5. They’re the new thing! Having your own brood of hens is becoming more and more popular. Cities are becoming more accepting of chickens, and even if you don’t live in a rural area, it’s not too outrageous to think about getting some hens of your own! Parts of Los Angeles, New York and Chicago have become hot spots for chicken raisers.
So, why not give it a shot? I love my hens and I wouldn’t trade them for anything! Good luck getting your own. Now if only I could convince my parents to raise baby goats…
Featured image via ShutterStock