Tips to Keep Pet Chickens in Your Home
As the backyard chicken becomes more and more popular in urban and suburban areas, many people find they don’t mind and even wish to encourage their chickens to become house pets. Although a rooster should never be kept as a pet because it can become territorial and aggressive, a hen in the house can be a pleasant companion, is easy to care for and even provides you with breakfast.
Check your local zoning laws before deciding to have chickens as pets. Those who live in rural areas will likely not have a problem, but those who live in more urban areas may need a permit.
Set up a cage or coop where your chicken will roost. Even if you intend to let the chicken roam free in the house and the yard, it will need a place to spend the night, get food and water and lay eggs. Some people find it is easier to just use a large cage made for guinea pigs inside the house, while others prefer to use a smaller coop placed in the garage or in the yard.
Use newspaper to cover the places where you allow your chicken to hang out in the house. Chickens are not capable of house training, so you will have to clean up after them often. Limiting their access to certain areas of the house can help keep down the amount of cleaning you have to do.
Look into using chicken diapers if you want your chicken to be able to roam around freely without worrying about cleaning up after it all of the time. A number of chicken lovers have started businesses making and selling small diapers for chickens. They are made of reusable fabric and attached to the stiff tail feathers of the chicken.
Find a place where your chickens can go outside to get fresh air, pick at plants and bugs, scratch in the dirt and get some sunlight. Even if they are house pets, you still need to provide the chickens with a safe place to hang outside during the day. Even in the winter, chickens enjoy getting outside.
Use poultry netting stapled to small fence posts or wooden stakes and driven into the ground to create a protected space for your chickens to play outside. Chickens cannot be trained to not go in the road or down the sidewalk, although they will rarely fly off. You must protect them with poultry netting from roads and predators, like the neighborhood dog or cat.
Feed your chicken well, either outside or in his coop or cage. Pellets and feed for chickens is available at your local feed store. Chickens can also eat kitchen scraps like leftover salad, vegetables and meat — as long as it’s not chicken. Chickens prefer a varied diet and will produce better eggs with the more nutrition they get.
Mix a handful of crushed oyster shells, available from your feed store, or sand in with their feed. This gives them the grit necessary for digesting their food. All chickens require grit to stay healthy. The oyster shells also help keep the shells on chickens’ eggs hard.
Handle your chickens often, if they are to be pets. Pick them up, stroke them and feed them by hand. Chickens are not by nature a pet animal, but do enjoy handling if it is done often enough.
Read more: How to Keep Pet Chickens in Your Home | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_8136027_keep-pet-chickens-home.html#ixzz1NAM4aCsr
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