Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Fun of Backyard Chickens

I was very exitced when Linda from Happy Healthy Dog Blog approached me about sharing her experiences with backyard chickens over here at Pawsitively Pets. I love chickens! I've always wanted some of my own. Today, Linda is sharing her backyard chicken crew with us and they are totally cute. 

The following post is written by Linda from Happy Healthy Dog Blog.

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The practice of keeping backyard chickens is becoming more popular world-wide.  As more and more people are wanting to eat healthier and more ethically produced food, providing your own eggs seems to be a good place to start.  Once you have tasted a truly organic free range egg produced by your own hen you’ll never want to eat a shop-bought egg again!

And quite apart from the health and convenience aspects – chickens actually make great pets and can even provide hours of entertainment!  You would be amazed at how much time just seems to fly by while you sit and watch a chicken just doing chicken stuff!  For instance, have you ever noticed how a chicken can totally lose itself in the pure joy of a sand bath?

Backyard chickens taking a dust bath
Goose and Henny Penny taking a dust bath.

Two of my girls, Goose and Henny-Penny are kept in a chicken tractor which I move everyday so they can get some fresh grass, weeds and bugs.  But there isn’t really much sand or open ground so every few days I’ll pour a bucket of soil into their run for them to “play” in.  As soon as they see that bucket coming their way they start flapping.  They will even run under the soil as I’m pouring it in!  Then the fun really starts as they fluff up and flap the sand over themselves and even roll over in it.

These dust baths don’t only provide fun and entertainment for chickens and humans but actually serves an important purpose for the chicken.  The sand they cover themselves with coats their feathers and gets all the way down to the skin, absorbing excess oil, dirt and unwanted parasites such as mites.

Once they’ve thoroughly covered themselves in sand they will then spend ages preening.  You will probably notice that they seem to pull out a lot of feathers after a dust bath, but this is actually because the sand helps loosen any feathers that are just about ready to fall out anyway.  The perfect chicken spa treatment!

To avoid confusion – Goose is actually a chicken!  When I first got her at about 12 weeks old she didn’t make the usually cute “peeping” noise young chickens make but something closer to a goose noise.  And then there’s the fact that she just grew and grew, to about the size of a goose!  So the nickname of Goose sort of stuck and seems to suit her.  She still doesn’t often make normal chicken noises but rather a sort-of growly noise.

The fun of backyard chickens
Goose the chicken.

She is a Black Australorp x Koekoek.  The Koekoek is an indigenous South African breed.  Henny-Penny is a Rhode Island Red.  Not only is she a very pretty hen, but she’s also a very clever hen as she lays double-yolk eggs!  

Backyard chickens
Henny Penny.

About the Author: Linda has written on and off for various dog publications for several years. She has also been involved in many aspect of dog care.  Now, she's decided to combine her love and experience of dogs (and all things animal), her limited veterinary nursing experience and her witting into becoming a full time pet blogger at Happy Healthy Dog Blog.

17 comments:

  1. lovely group of chickens,xx Rachel

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  2. Finger licking good.....cluck cluck. Have a super Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Hehe I'm afraid Henny and Goose are not for eatin'! ;)

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  3. Great info about chickens and they are fun to have around. I had them a long time ago and the darn snakes would come take the eggs. They are very entertaining.
    Have a great week end.

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    1. Oh man that would not be cool to have the snakes taking the eggs... at least they don't bother the chickens I suppose. You seem like a chicken kind of person Marg :)

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  4. No chickens at our place. I guess if we lived in the country, we would have cows and chickens but here it would just be a bit much and Mom says she couldn't even eat their eggs because they would be like pets. I know it is getting quite popular to have them, though.

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    1. No worries about eating their eggs Emma. Did you know that when you eat an egg, it is an unfertilized egg? Chickens lay them regardless of if there is a baby inside or not! So you don't have to worry about feeling bad! :)

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  5. They would sure be lots of fun to watch!

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  6. Some of daddy's friends have chickens. They took me visit once, but they wouldn't let me play with them:-(

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    1. Well, I'm sure it just has to be because you are so big Misaki ;) Those chickens are quite tough and can protect themselves pretty well!

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  7. Great post, makes you really feel sorry for those poor battery farmed hens that only get a tiny little wire-floored cage to live in their entire lives. Chickens really do have great personalities and need the space to dust-bathe, peck and flap their wings like these lucky birds.

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  8. That's a very pretty chicken. I had a bad experience with chickens when I was young, and I've never liked them ever since. But then I've never gotten close to one since either, nor studied them. So I'm judging unfairly. It will be interesting to see more pictures and hear more information.

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    1. You know, we had a rooster when I was really little. He became quite mean and would chase us and peck at us. Eventually, we had to rehome him because of it! But when I learned to handle them and work with them, I liked them again. Although some can be a little stubborn. :)

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  9. What a cool pet! I have some friends who own chickens and they love them too. They are quite interesting animals. I love it that the one chicken is named Goose! That's awesome. I like silly things like that :)

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  10. I am hoping to get chickens this spring. Thanks for the post!

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