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Fowl play or a fun pet?

Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007, at 8:28 AM

Suppose you live in town or in a subdivision and your neighbors suddenly bring home chickens. Live chickens, roaming the yard as a dog or cat would.

Would you complain?

The Associated Press reports one of the nation's developing trends is pet chickens. Some owners raise them for food, more enjoy the fringe benefit of fresh eggs, many others treat them like a dog or cat.

From birdhealth.com.au:

"The backyard chicken makes a remarkable pet, especially when reared soon after hatching. It has the loyalty of a dog, the intelligence of a cockatoo and the cheekiness of a monkey."

How far could the chicken trend go? I'm imagining loving owners walking their strutting chickens down the street on leashes. Okay, I'm fantasizing a little.

But live chickens smell, at least when kept in large numbers, as anyone who passes a chicken farm or one of the trucks full of semi-conscious Tyson-bound fowl can attest. And I'm sure that, just as some people go overboard on the numbers of dogs and cats they amass, the same thing would happen with chickens.

There was a controversy a while back in Shelbyville about keeping non-domestic animals in the city limits. Right now, you'll see a cow in a field, really more like a big yard, off Coney Island Road.

And I've seen a few homes in Shelbyville with chickens running loose in back yards. I've also seen yards on country roads where each chicken has its own individual little A-frame shelter, lots and lots of them, and wondered if they were being raised as fighting chickens.

I'm not sure about chickens as pets. At least, if they get loose, they won't respond to strangers like some pit bulls do. We don't have to run from a chicken.

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No I would not complain, as long as like Laura pointed out they do not smell as long as they are not bunched up in one area.

On a side note a few years back an ordinance either was passed or was attempted to be passed to not allow folks within the city limits to have a horse. As long as the person wanting to own the horse owns enough land within the city limits and provides shelter and proper care, then I disagree with that ordinance also. Especially when we have hundreds or thousands of horses right up in the middle of town during the Celebration and other horse shows in town.



-- Posted by HorseGentler on Thu, Oct 11, 2007, at 11:35 AM

We don't have to run from a chicken.

-You may have to. Having been raised with chicken barns I will tell ya, some of them ain't so nice.

As for them being pets roaming loose in the yard. Not for me. We do live in the country and some of our "neighbors" have chickens running loose. ESPECIALLY if they have other animals, as a chicken eats fleas and ticks.

Chickens don't tend to stink unless they are all bunched up in one barn. Most of that smell comes from the amonia used to clean the barns after the chickens are gone. I don't mind the smell of chicken barns, my Daddy always says "smells like money to me".

You can tell the difference between a fighting rooster and an edible chicken. While you CAN eat both of them the fighting roosters are usually a little smaller. There is a place here in town that you can take your roosters to fight, but most people take them to Kentucky.

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Thu, Oct 11, 2007, at 8:38 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.