More and more people are bringing farm animals into their homes; some apartments even allow small livestock like miniature pigs or chickens to reside in their buildings.
According to some owners of backyard chickens, the birds can become as integrated into their families as well as dogs and cats can. Hens are also great because they can provide more than affection; they can also produce eggs and feathers which some owners turn into jewelry or other innovative crafts.
Yet, as the popularity of these birds grow, sadly, so do the number of chickens in animal shelters. Though chickens are amazing creatures, they are not for everyone. It is important that people understand the concerns associated with these animals before starting a backyard flock.
Chickens are not songbirds, though they do produce a lot of sound. The constant clucking can be seen as a major nuisance by some people. In fact, in some areas where backyard flocks are legal, chickens are the second most complained about noise from neighbors, after barking dogs.
There are not many solutions to this problem, other than perhaps making a more insulated house so the noise will not travel as far. If the birds are outside, however, there is no solution other than buying more land to further separate the animals from neighbors.
Foul smelling fowl
The smell of the chicken coops is another issue, though it is a little easier to manage than the sounds. A big factor in cleaning is how many chickens are in a backyard flock. It is important for owners to keep in mind their schedule and how much time they can dedicate to cleaning up after the birds to determine a reasonable number to keep in their flocks.
Cleaning the bird’s houses and removing the fecal matter is recommended, not just for managing the smell, but also for keeping the chickens safe from biosecurity risks.
Bacteria and birds
Speaking of diseases, several foodborne illnesses can be spread by chickens to humans, even from live birds. Salmonella, avian influenza and campylobacter are a few diseases that can come from chickens and children are especially susceptible. This is mostly because kids like to touch their face and mouths often and this is dangerous behavior after playing with chicks or handling eggs.
Proper hand washing is vital for keeping bird handlers safe, but owners should also be aware of biosecurity practices such as cleaning shoes before and after being around the chickens. This will help prevent viruses and bacteria from spreading.
Chickens can be destructive to terrains because clawing and pecking at the ground is one of their natural instincts. Hens will root in the ground and take dust baths as part of their daily routine. Like cats, they can also eat house plants or garden vegetables which can make them a nuisance to farmers. Having a strong fence can keep the birds contained within a property, but they need a lot more equipment than that.
A good chicken coop can be costly, and owners can find themselves spending thousands of dollars a year on feed, equipment and medical bills for their birds.
Not all veterinarians accept backyard chickens as patients, so it is important to know where the nearest help can be located in case of an emergency.
It is important to know that roosters and hens are very different in temperament. Though each bird is different, roosters can be very aggressive and have been known to attack small children or even adults. Curbing this behavior may be difficult or even impossible; it is in a rooster’s instinct to protect hens and show dominance over the flock.