I recently did a book signing at the Bibelot Shop where they asked me to bring along one of my chickens. As Coco sat docilely letting people hold her and feed her, everyone was amazed at how friendly she was.
As I chatted with the customers, I was reminded that people who don’t have chickens often have a hard time comprehending the notion of chickens as pets. They understand chickens for eggs, fertilizer and bug control, but a quizzical look crosses their faces when you mention their appeal as pets.
Chicken owners on the other hand understand completely. They’ve had their chickens fall asleep on their lap watching while their hen’s eyes slowly keep drooping. They’ve had their chickens follow them around the yard getting underfoot like dogs. Sharing such experiences is one reason why we like to hang out together on chicken forums and web sites.
Chicken owners love to watch when other owners eagerly whip out their phones and show videos of their flock running in the yard. We get support from others who understand completely when we say “I went out in the pouring rain this afternoon to pick up the worms lying in the driveway to feed to my girls because I felt bad they were stuck inside their run. Is this normal behavior?” When I twittered this exact message I received several reassuring responses from people around the country saying, “Yes, that’s completely normal!”
It’s fun to walk outside and have your girls stop whatever they’re doing and come running at full speed in their lopsided gait to greet you. It doesn’t happen when my husband steps out, they only run to greet me.
My girls are each different as to their level of personal contact. Cleo eagerly jumps onto the deck stair to sit with me whenever I sit down and she’ll stay, often falling asleep, as long as I let her. Roxanne likes to have her back massaged as she sits in the sun and Coco eagerly squats letting me pick her up and walk around the yard holding her. She’s usually more impatient than Cleo, however, and after she says hi for a few minutes she wants to be off, but that’s okay; she’s still young and “has places to go and lots to do.” Ruby is less of a touchy-feely type and a little more on the hyperactive side, but she too has moments when she’s right there beside you.
Chickens are more akin to cats as pets than they are to dogs. Their presence is indeed enough, they don’t feel the need to show off by doing tricks. They also aren’t keen on leashes or fetching but their soothing noises will relax and comfort you.
Don’t underestimate the power of a chicken. She will enchant you, entice you and entertain you. All you have to do is offer food and water and a cozy comfy lap.