Chickens—Are they right for you?

Chickens—Are they right for you?

Should you buy those adorable baby chicks?

Chickens are trendy these days, at least around where I live. With cute chicken coop homes, organic fresh eggs, fertilizer (a perk if you have a garden,) and that feeling of living on a mini farm without all the work of a farm, why wouldn’t you have them?

Baby chick Americauna

As a child, I was a big animal lover. Still am. My mom allowed me and my siblings to get all sorts of pets throughout our childhood; from bunnies to hamsters to love birds, the list goes on and on. You name it, we probably had it at one time, except snakes. Never. #shudder My children are not as lucky as I was, but we do have a bunch of chickens, and it has been a great addition to our family in learning responsibility and care for pets over the past 7 years.

Here are 5 basic questions to ask yourself if chickens are right for you, before you pop those little fluff balls into a box and head homeward

Biggest question—is it legal where you live? Does your city or HOA have rules about keeping chickens? If it’s a no, can you move? I kid. kind of. If you have neighbors, and you want to keep good neighbor relations, you may also want to let them know about your chicken plans. Chickens can be loud and disruptive in the morning hours. I’m not even talking about a rooster (which many neighborhoods do not allow.) The announcement each time a chicken lays an egg is like a loud shout to the world. I laid an EGG!!! Some neighbors may not appreciate chicken joy..

2.   Chickens can live four to ten years, but I was surprised to find out that they lay eggs for about only three years. Are you okay with having chickens that don’t produce eggs, but still eat a lot? 

3.  If you have other pets, will they be okay with the chickens? A lot of dogs have a hunting or “prey” instinct. You have been warned. I have also had to chase away neighbor dogs a couple of times from our coop, (super sad) while my poor chickens tried not to have mini heart attacks while inside their coop.

My daughter holding our Americauna named Hazel.

4. Who is going to care for them? Chickens can be a piece of work. I thought it was fun to give my children the responsibility for their care, but ultimately I have to make sure they are being good caretakers. And sometimes I get frustrated with my kids and their ability to care properly. 

5.  Baby chicks are not pricey to buy, but buying ongoing feed, supplies and a coop can really add up. Basically, if you think that a bunch of chickens is going to pay for monthly grocery store eggs. Sorry, no. However, I will say the fresh, organic eggs are the best thing ever.  I also feed my chickens all sorts of our meal leftovers (not meat) and veggie peels (not potato peels,) so I don’t feel like I’m ever wasting food, and they in turn love it. Win-win. 

So, should you get chickens? If you feel good about the list above, then go for it! We love our “Girls” as we call them. My children held our chickens as chick babies, and now they are friendly as large grown hens. The benefits of having chickens as our pets for our family outweighed the cons, so I guess you could say we really like them. 

Did I miss anything? I’m sure I did, but these are the basics. 

Good luck with your decision.

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