Keeping backyard chickens as pets has become more and more popular in both urban and suburban areas.
There are plenty of benefits when it comes to keeping chickens!
- They are relatively easy and inexpensive to maintain (when compared to most other pets)
- They produce eggs that are fresh and nutritious
- They provide chemical-free bug and weed control
- Their droppings are a fabulous fertiliser
- They are entertaining and fun
- Keeping chickens is educational for children
Our top tips for keeping chickens as pets:
- Check with your local council on the rules on keeping chickens in your area (how many, can they be free-range?)
- Housing needs to be dry and draft-free, with good ventilation and a place to nest and stay safe from predators
- You must feed the right diet for your type and age of chicken. Complete and balanced food can be purchased at most farm supply stores. These commercial feeds are formulated differently for broilers (meat chickens) and layers (hens used for egg laying)
- Grains, such as oats and barley, as well as leafy greens and veggies should be fed in moderation and should not make up more than 10 per cent of the diet
- Chickens that do not get a balanced diet will be more prone to disease
- Chickens will lay about one unfertilised egg a day and this is stimulated by exposure to daylight. Egg laying will occur regardless of the presence of a rooster
Don’t forget that it is important to accept the responsibility associated with owning chickens. With good care and no major health problems, chickens can live as long as eight years!