Pennsylvania, United States
Posted Apr 08, 2015
My mother decided back in 2009 to start up a chicken coop with around six chickens. She ordered some buff-colored Chantecler chickens and received them as day-old chicks in the mail.
We set up a baby pool with some chicken wire around it, a heat lamp, some hay and wood chips, and a feeder and waterer. We also added in a few things for them to perch on and sometimes let them chase around cat toys.
I got to name one. I named her Carl, as a joke - and she was my baby. When she got older, she would escape the pool pen and run over to my bedroom door, peeping loudly as she tried to get my attention. I'd come out and sit on the floor, and Carl would hop up onto my lap and be just so happy. After around 15 or so minutes, I'd put her back, and an hour later she'd be doing it again. She grew older and less clingy, though, and ended up being very independent among the group.
The chickens grew up very socialized and very friendly. They wouldn't run if you tried to pick them up, and they would come when you called "heeeeere chick-chick-chick!" They loved attention and treats, and would eat anything you gave them. Total hams!
Unfortunately, one day my mother threw out some old pork that she had in the fridge. I think it must've been raw and going bad, because it made the chickens very sick. We had lost two due to that illness. May those little peeps rest in peace!
Over time she continued to order chicks and grow them up into beautiful, very affectionate birds. The most recent batch of chickens learned to perch in the tree in the chicken yard, as well as escape - but they always hopped right back into the enclosure when they were done foraging for bugs.
I really, really recommend having pet chickens. They're fairly easy to feed, as you can give them all sorts of veggie and fruit scraps in addition to their chicken feed. They'll forage for bugs, as well as other animals - one day the whole group were fighting over a toad. It was kinda gruesome, but they were having fun. Heck, they're chickens - they do what chickens do, and that means sometimes eating other little animals. I'm sure they'd also eaten any voles or other rodents.
Keeping them can be complicated, but with enough research and some dedication, it's really, really worth it. If I end up living outside of the city again, a few chickens would be really awesome to keep. And, you get to save some money on eggs!
I highly recommend at least looking into owning chickens. There's so many breeds for whatever type of need you need to fulfill - be it a small chicken with small eggs, or a show chicken, meat chickens, even guard chickens.... the list goes on!