As children and parents across Australia gleefully welcome back the infamous characters in ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’, we can’t help but notice that there’s been a big oversight in the cast.
From cats and dogs to pigs and even a turkey, we have one question – where are the chickens? It’s time for man’s best friend to move over to give our feathered companions a chance. There are around 19 billion chickens around the world, and in Australia, they are the fourth most popular pet, with over 416,000 chicken owning homes across the country. We’ve put together reasons why we think chickens should make the number one spot.
Believe it or not chickens are very complex creatures and they have big personalities. They can be sassy, funny and even a little bit kooky. Some breeds are known to have behavioural traits, from the gentle sweet nature of the Barred Plymouth Rock to the clucky and loud Ancora. Did you know that mother hens also cluck to their unborn chicks, who chirp back from within their shells?
Chickens like company; in fact they are incredibly sociable creatures and they form complex social hierarchies known as a ‘pecking order’. For example, if a male chicken finds a tasty morsel of food whilst foraging, he will often try to impress nearby female chickens by performing a dance and food call. However, if a subordinate male performs a song and dance, he is more likely to attract the attention of the dominant male and risk being attacked. So, he will perform his dance in silence to detract from any unwanted attention.
Moreover, chickens are not as bird-brained as people might think. They’re actually very intelligent. For example, they can reason by deduction, which is a skill that humans typically learn by the age of seven. A study has found that chickens can add and subtract using numbers smaller than five. Scientists discovered this by placing objects behind screens and recording which screen the chicken looked behind first. They found that chickens were more likely to look behind a screen with a larger number of objects. There aren’t many pets out there who can do this!
Alongside being incredibly sociable, showing serious dance moves and demonstrating incredible intelligence, chickens also lay eggs. How many pets do all the above in addition to providing an eggceptional breakfast for the family? Egg production depends on breed, age and the season. For example, a Leghorn chicken will lay between 4-6 eggs a week which equals roughly 260 eggs a year.
Chickens make great pets and it’s important to keep them safe from predators. Alongside a good quality chicken coop, it’s also worth investing in additional security such as a one of our automatic door openers. This ensures that your chickens are tucked up safely in their coop at night and, the door can be set to a timer so that they rise and shine in the morning.
Chickens have distinct personalities, they’re quiet, inquisitive, they dance and they’re intelligent. We’d love to hear why you think chickens make great pets too, so feel free to share your stories and tips on our social media channels!