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Adding a Furry Family Member? 6 Reasons to Think Chickens!
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Adding a Furry Family Member? 6 Reasons to Think Chickens!

Chickens are one of the most maligned and slighted domestic animals. Only the pit bull gets the same legal attention as the common rooster. The current explosion of interest in living with chickens makes this the perfect time to educate people about these birds.

Chickens need some good press.  There is no time to wait. Let’s get started!

What Can You Do?

You don’t have to live in the country to help chickens. Check your zoning laws as many cities and towns are allowing residents to have some birds. Before you consider a dog or cat – think about adopting some chickens. Because you will not have to purchase any meat-based foods for chickens – these critters are the perfect choice for vegan households!  Chickens are intelligent, loving and sweet – they make wonderful companion animals. Bring a feathered buddy unto your family and save a life!

Why Chickens are Amazing!

• Few inherited health issues.

After centuries of living on homesteads most breeds are “made” tough and do not have any of the man-made health problems found in many dog and cat breeds. Chickens are the original “mutts”… and yes, “Heinz 57” birds are even sturdier! Their vet bills are also much less than those for other pets. Chickens need few vaccinations, don’t have any dental issues…and they rarely suffer from any illnesses.

• Adopt

Check your rescues and local ad lists. Many unprepared people get chickens because of the current fad. But chickens are not tomato plants – they are living beings. Take on these abandoned birds. Many chickens available are often from critically endangered breeds.

•  We are the same

Chickens are visual/verbal animals. They use speech, vision and social cues (rather than smell) to interact with the world – just like we do. They are group animals AND they walk on 2 legs – again, just like us. Chickens are forage/gatherers, they are social diners and they eat the same variety (omnivores) of food we do. Humans and chickens were naturally made to hit-it-off! Take some time to meet a hen or a rooster, and you will be hooked by their charisma.

• Cleanliness is next to…

Birds are inherently fastidious. They have to be clean, their feathers are their key to survival – and those feathers need to be kept free of debris. Chickens inspect each other for “stuff”, mutually groom (or preen), and they love engaging in a preening session with their people as they clean your clothes and hair! Chicken manure is key to great compost, and it does not harbor the same unpleasant issues found in cat or dog waste – perks if you aren’t fond of odors or shedding.  And last of all…chickens have no odor. None. Their feathers smell like fresh, wind dried sheets!  No more grooming bills, funky smells or hairs in the house or on your clothes.

Perfect Pairings

If you are an outdoorsy person who loves to tinker in the yard and garden – you have found your soul mates. Chickens love to be around people and they will actively join you as you rake or garden. Chickens are energetic and feisty animals and they will be waiting for you to get moving! “Where’s that rake?”

Noise and Speech

Even a rooster’s crow is no louder than a dog’s bark. Chickens make very little noise. They vocalize using a wide-variety of warbling and chatter that is similar in rhythm and volume to human speech. Chickens will actually “talk” to you. They listen to your tone and readily learn their names, other animal’s names, commands and words, and they will answer you in chicken. You really can have a conversation with your chickens! If you don’t start a conversation, they will.

Chickens need our help and they are the best ambassadors for showing how wonderful they are. Learn more about chickens by talking to informed keepers. Before you adopt an animal – think about bringing a homeless chicken into your life.  These birds desperately need our help and when you add them to your family – you won’t imagine how you lived without them!


* Image Courtesy of Douglas Wicker/Flickr

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Raised on an old fashioned farm, Andrea knew animals would be her passion. Her farm specializes in vegan homesteading - she is also a poultry behaviorist specializing in chicken rehabilitation and rescue. She teaches courses in writing and sustainability at a local university and her current work involves uncovering the language and culture of chickens and horses. After earning a Ph.D. from Boston University, Andrea became a freelance writer with a focus in animal welfare. She shows clients how to connect with their chickens and horses at Black Thistle Farm, where she is “just one of the flock” – and not at the top either. After all, it’s all about the chickens!

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Leave a Comment

  1. Support
    Thanks for the post Andrea!
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  2. Andrea Martin
    Andrea Martin
    Wow! Thanks. The chickens at our rescue are thrilled! This means a lot to us at We are saving chickens and making people happy. It's all about making the world a better place for these magical creatures! As we say- "Changing the world - one chicken at a time." Read about our special hen Cicely. She was rescued in June and is receiving the first 3-D printed prosthetic leg!
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  3. Delia
    We used to have chickens before they were taken by predators. They were in deed very friendly and easy to car for. If you feed them sunflower seeds which they love, their feathers grown in shiny and beautiful. They love to peck around in the lawn and eat bugs. One comment - they eat bugs and I don't know any vegetarian who does so they are not all that much like we are. I did enjoy having chickens. Also they are very easy to care for, if you let them roam free they take care of most of their food if you have a yard in the country like we do. Also, I was worried they would destroy our gardens but they didn't and instead chose to peck around the lawn (we had a lot of Japanese Beetles and probably other stuff since we do not treat our lawn with anything, just let it grow and mow it occasionally). The only time their manure will smell bad is if it is not dry, it is very easy to add some wood shavings or hay to help keep it dry and also some diatomaceous earth which helps dry it out and prevent or minimize mite problems (just be very careful not to breathe in the diatomaceous earth as it would be very bad for your lungs). I did not find a rooster crowing to be so pleasant as a dog barking as it starts early in the morning and continues all day so that can get old fast but the hens barely make any noise. If you keep your roosters away from your house a reasonable distance the crowing might not bother you much.
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    1. Andrea Martin
      Andrea Martin
      Hi, Delia. Thank you for writing. Sorry to hear about your losses, but with all pets, we need to be very careful about meeting their needs. Chickens require very specific protection from predators. You wouldn't leave small children alone, or cats - the same is true for chickens and other poultry. Roosters must be housed in a secure barn for the night and early hours. You will not hear their crow when they are properly housed. Visit for specific care tips. Properly housed and maintained flocks provide delightful companionship and astounding friendships. Chickens have so much love to give!!!
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  4. Vin Chauhun
    Vin Chauhun
    As a catlover, keeping chickens might be problem. The sight of chicken on a plate grosses me out but a live, walking chicken is something fascinating to watch. Interesting post and voted up.
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