When you think of getting a family pet, what type of animal is it that comes to mind? If you are like most parents, you will come up with the idea to perhaps bring home a new puppy, or maybe a kitten, or even a bunny. However, there is one family pet that hardly gets recognized as a pet at all: a chicken. While usually only recognized as egg providers, hens can be docile and patient, loving and caring, and even like to play with human companions and other chickens. These may sound like traits of a dog or a cat, but the truth is, a hen could make an excellent family pet for a lot of reasons.
Having a hen as a pet teaches children a new appreciation for food.
Even hens kept as pets do still produce eggs daily once they reach the age of maturity to do so, which is generally around six months of age. So having a hen as the family pet means that children will get to experience the valuable process of egg production, collecting eggs, and how much the hen goes through to produce that egg. When children learn early where their food comes from, especially farm-produced foods that may often be purchased at a supermarket, they develop a greater appreciation for food in general.
Owning a pet hen gives children new insight into animal behavior.
If you are like most households, you have had your fair share of dogs or even cats, which can teach children a bit about animal behavior. However, having a pet chicken gives your children insight into animal behavior in a different respect. Chickens enjoy being given love and attention, but they also have different behaviors than the usual pet. For example:
- chickens are highly vocal animals that make a range of noises and sounds that can mean different things
- chickens prefer private nesting areas when they lay an egg or sleep at night
- chickens enjoy nestling together, which means if you have only one hen, she may seem to enjoy snuggling against you or your hair
Chickens are an incredibly intelligent animal.
Did you know that chickens have the ability to recognize and recall hundreds of different faces? Would you be surprised to learn that chickens portray a range of emotions, exhibit self-controlling behaviors, and even have some numerical consciousness from an early age? Even though chickens are often thought of as unintelligent, quite the contrary is true. These animals are quite smart in many different areas–in some cases, even more so than a dog or cat. Because of this, chickens are fairly easy to train to do tricks or do things on command.
You may have never thought of bringing home a pet chicken or hen as a pet, but with all of the facts to prove that these do indeed make an excellent pet, you may very well see these birds in a new light.