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  • Raising Chickens As Pets

    How to raise chickens properly to become great pets.

    I am writing this post as a guess blogger for Dark Eggs Daily.  I am also writing it in honor of Tilly one of  my favorite Speckled Sussex Hen (pictured below) who probably laid her last egg today and is ready to say her final good-by.  I am making one last attempt to prolong her stay here with us but it is not looking good.  She has been a very faithful friend and companion for almost 7 years now.  She has been a faithful layer of good quality brown eggs and has wandered the yard busily chattering to those who would listen.

    When I got her as a young day old Chick there was something special about her.  She would always come running up to see if I had a treat for her that visit to the chicken house.

    Speckled Sussex Chicken (Tilly)

    Speckled Sussex Chicken (Tilly)

    She would let me pick her up and then she would start her quiet chatter expecting me to know exactly what she was saying.  She will be missed by the entire family.  I have placed her final egg in the incubator in hopes that it will be fertile, and develop into a nice little chick to takes it Mamas place in the family.

    All of my years growing up I have raised chickens.  Except for my 4 year tour in the Marine Corps.  They probably would have frowned on the idea of chickens.

    My Dad would take me every year to the local feed mill to get my 25 free baby chicks (usually Rhode Island Reds) with the purchase of 50 lbs of chick start.

    I would raise them up and sadly watch about 50% of them end up in the freezer as they were roosters.  You can usually count on at least 50% of your straight run chicks being roosters.  If you are raising chickens as pets and have young children you need to buy with the knowledge that you will have to either sell or butcher some of your pets.  This may be a hard thing to go through for some kids.  But there is not a lot of need for to many roosters running around.

    Out of the Roosters I would usually get to keep one of the best looking roosters just to hear him crow night and day around the farm. Out of the hens I usually would pick my favorite out and give her a name and begin the taming process.

    If looking to make pets out of your chickens it is wise to start with a nice quiet breed.  Many of the breeds at Dark Eggs Daily such as the Dark Egg Laying Marans, The gentle giant Cochin breed, and our brown egg layers the Speckled Sussex and Coronation Sussex are very well suited as pets as they have quiet dispositions unlike the Rhode Island red hens I used to raise.  Of course much of your chickens’ suitability as pets will depend on how they are raised and handled by their owner. Frequency of handling is also a very big part of making chickens great pets.

    Basically, the more regular gentle handling they get the better!

    It is generally best to start Them Young.  There is absolutely nothing that can take the place of raising them from day old chickens.

    Hand feeding your chicks and handle them daily is the best way to make them awesome family pets. One thing to remember is that you need to take caution when you are allowing the little people play with them unsupervised. You will find that most Chicks are surprisingly tough, but are no match for a rough and tough toddler!

    Make sure that if you decide to raise chicks that you go through the proper steps of educating yourself in order to teach your children, and the children that may visit how to properly and gently hold and feed your chicks

    It is an awesome idea to involve your children in the daily care of the chicks.  This will allow your children to bond with the chickens and also to teach them the responsibility of taking care of a pet. Kids and chickens can be a great combination when done right.

    Chickens do not need to be pets only when they are small chicks.  They have a wonderful personality and are very fun and also educating to watch. If you want a pet that will give you several years of not only great fresh eggs, but many years of enjoyment chickens are a great choice if you have the room.  Keep up the hand feeding and handling all through your birds’ lives.

    Dark Eggs Daily is a great place to start at when looking for a special chicken to raise as a pet.  Take a look around the site and see which breed may be best suited for you.

    Raising Chickens as Pets can be a very fun and rewarding experience when done right.

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