Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Posted Mar 30, 2015
For about a year we owned two bantam chickens which we obtained while they were still chicks. It was a homeschool project and a friend gave us two chicks to raise. Thinking they were both females we named them Clara and Peep. It wasn't long before we found out that Clara was a Clarence, and so we had Clarence and Peep, a rooster and hen.
We lived in a deed restricted community at the time and weren't allowed to raise livestock and poultry. Because we didn't raise our two chickens as regular poultry, we called them exotic birds and actually kept them in an ornate bird cage at night or whenever we weren't at home with them. During the day they would run around our fenced backyard, pecking in the yard or being played with by my brother and me.
They were extremely gentle chickens and very sweetly tempered. Because we had domesticated them by playing with them and conditioned them to being held and fondled, they acted like pets. They would sit on our heads, never pecked us or got angry, would playfully chase you, and come up to you to be held.
Our rooster, Clarence would crow some in the mornings, but it was never a bother because it wasn't very loud and it was always later in the morning when people were already up.
Our hen, Peep, eventually made a nest in our yard and laid eggs, about 6-8 in total. I remember as a young girl seeing her lay an egg up close one day, my first experience with reproduction in nature. We let her keep the eggs so they would hatch, wanting to see the full cycle of life.
Unfortunately when we went on a trip and had someone taking care of our chickens, our hen went missing. The caretaker was very thorough in looking for her but she was never found. The nest was untouched and there was no sign of a struggle, so we concluded that some neighborhood kids had taken her. We never found her; our rooster Clarence was devastated. He had once been very gentle and kind but we eventually got reports that he was getting out of the yard and trying to spur the neighbors and chasing them around. He was still always friendly to us and we never saw him acting out, but he had become more morose since his hen was gone. We ended up taking him to a farm where he could be with other chickens and left him there. Thus ended our homeschool project with our "exotic birds."
We loved our little bantam chickens and found them to be very good pets. The smallness of them made them more pet like and they were able to be semi domesticated. They would be a good project for children to learn how to take care of poultry on a smaller scale.