If you’re thinking about keeping chickens as pets or for food, you should know that there are many things no one ever discusses.
Things nobody tells you before you dive headfirst into chicken farming. Some of these chicken-related facts could shock, amuse, or even distress you. Most importantly, they’ll help you learn the ropes before you dive into the rewarding world of avian husbandry.
Every chicken has an own personality
And much like dogs, the personalities of individual chickens can vary widely within a given breed.
While some fowl are timid and fearful, others are gregarious and dependent.
There are certain hens who are so affectionate that they need constant attention from humans. It would be impossible to apprehend some of these people even if your life relied on them.
Uniqueness and individuality characterize each and every one of the chickens. When you first meet someone, you don’t give it much thought.
They almost always poop
As a chicken keeper, you’ll be amazed at how much poop there is to clean up. The worst part is that they don’t care where it goes; they’ll just let it all out anywhere. On the deck, in the car, in the yard…
If you provide them with five separate nesting boxes, they will still use only one
Pictures of perfect hen houses in literature and online forums always seem to have an abundance of cushy nesting boxes just waiting to be used.
However, chickens have a peculiar preference for sharing a single nesting box.
Predators on chickens are commonplace, and they may be quite cunning
If you’ve never seen any predators in your yard, you might assume they won’t pose a threat.
As soon as those cute little chicks wander onto your land, predators seem to appear out of nowhere. They’re constantly there, even if you don’t see them, and they’ve probably observed you.
The local hawks, raccoons, and dogs will all make the trip to your yard in search of a tasty chicken meal.
Dangerous predators are common, and some of them even have surprising levels of intelligence.
Raccoons can unlock the most complex locks with their dexterous paws and fingertips. Dogs can and will breach your fences to get to your birds. It’s not uncommon for hawks and eagles to swoop down from above and grab birds that are conveniently perched nearby.
Never underestimate the tenacity of predators on the hunt for chicken!
The chickens may be very mean
Some of the chickens just can’t resist picking on the weaker ones, and this may lead to some really nasty injuries and a rather miserable situation for the weaker ones.
The rooster is the worst of all the birds. When mating with a hen, a rooster will climb on her back and clutch her neck.
Hens who roosters have attacked often have scabs and feather loss on their necks and backs from the rooster’s talons digging into their flesh. The worst thing is that roosters tend to select only a small number of hens, who then have to bear the burden of constant mating for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes, nasty roosters will even attack humans. Be aware that roosters can be aggressive toward both other chickens and people if you decide to add one to your flock.
Chickens will eat just about anything
Chickens are naturally inquisitive creatures who feel compelled to investigate anything they come across. This is one of those characteristics that make you wonder about the level of intellect these animals possess.
Chickens are known to nibble on many non-edible items, including styrofoam, nails, wood, plastic, glass, and even each other’s toes.
They rarely make the best decisions for themselves
Although chickens can display high intelligence in some situations, in others, they just do not. Chickens consistently make poor decisions and are guided more by instinct than logic.
For example, you can buy a sophisticated watering system for your flock for a hundred dollars that will provide them with a steady supply of clean water, but they’ll still choose to drink from muddy puddles. Chickens can consume items that are dangerous or indigestible, get themselves caught in odd places, and even hop over fences without knowing how to get back.
They will ruin your garden and landscaping
Prepare yourself for complete devastation if you let your chickens roam free.
Chickens will use your garden as a natural insect hunting ground by scratching, digging, and pecking the dirt.
They’ll also eat your ornamental plants, fruits, and veggies.
It’s not easy to keep hens out of the garden, but it’s doable with some good fencing.
Our birds enjoy kicking mulch out of our carefully manicured flower beds. They empty the dirt from our flower pots and actively seek to eradicate any new grass that may have germinated in our backyard.
They look like little dinosaurs roaming all over your yard
We’ve all heard that chickens are more closely related to dinosaurs than other birds, but having them free range in your garden brings this fact home like never before. Chickens rushing across the grass like little velociraptors on the hunt is both comical and terrifying.
There’s a good chance they’ll end up becoming your favorite pet
Like many individuals, you might decide to start chicken-keeping solely for the pleasure of daily fresh eggs.
Their endearing characteristics may cause you to fall in love with them unexpectedly quickly.
Chickens not only give nutritious eggs and meat, but they also make excellent pets.
Depending on the individual, these wacky little critters can be loving, amusing, and full of character. Even experienced chicken keepers are often taken aback by how quickly they develop an emotional connection to their hens.
These animals will very quickly become more like pets than livestock.