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.
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.
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