News By Tag
News By Location
Follow on Google News
Chickens . . . Undesirable For City Living - Or Tame, Gorgeous, And Lovable Backyard Pets?
Growing numbers of pet chicken enthusiasts affirm the latter, though heated arguments grind their way through layers of governments nationwide. But, one longtime pet chicken hobbyist strongly supports the pet theory and has set out to prove it!
By: Scott Duncan
In it, he shares his methods for turning even many flighty chickens into devoted pets . . . with the hope that it’ll help newcomers to the movement prove that, for the most part, chickens are definitely suitable for urban living and deserving of the label, “cherished pet”.
The book provides detailed information on how to catch and tame a chicken, whether it’s a wild one or already a somewhat tame member of a backyard flock. Unusual, but vexing issues, such as how to get a roosting chicken down from a tree, or how to catch a loud disruptive neighborhood rooster that needs to be evacuated to a more suitable environment are addressed. An overview on caring for baby chicks, as well as an appeal to owners to take advantage of the best predator protection available is included, as well.
Scott points out that keeping backyard chickens as an element of the sustainable living movement has grown to the point where this Spring alone, 400 million baby chicks were reported to have been sold by hatcheries in the United States alone. That number, of course, doesn’t include homegrown flock proliferation from existing pet chickens. He says, “Having chickens is just a lot more fun when they’re tamed”. Then adds, “I’ve had plenty of experience, and after being asked so many times about taming chickens, I set to work analyzing what I actually do that must be instrumental toward my having such a tame flock. Then, I outlined it. Before long, I’d fleshed out this little handbook.”
Scott has been showing his chickens since joining 4-H as a young student and has earned numerous ribbons and trophies over the years. He says, “If you look at it from the perspective of the judges, they want to appear competent at handling the animals, and a tame bird allows them to do that.” He is an advocate for scheduling time to “Cage Train” every bird that will be exhibited for several weeks in advance of the show date. He explains, “One thing you do to Cage Train a chicken, is simply to practice putting it in and taking it out of a portable cage using proper handling procedures until the behavior becomes consistently smooth and free of stress for the chicken.”
Other types of training he’s adamant about include:
Training each chicken to stand on a table for at least ten minutes, in a “show stance” appropriate for the breed
Practicing examination of the bird multiple times until the chicken remains calm throughout the procedure. According to Scott, “This simply means picking the chicken up and checking it from top to bottom, just like the judge will be doing.” Scott advises that this should be done routinely anyway, whether or not the bird will be shown, just to identify early-on whether any health issues are present
Providing nutritious treats throughout the training process “and beyond”, Scott adds “they’ll definitely expect it.” Typical treats include grains, berries, greens, yogurt, and chicken scratch (corn), and there are a number of commercially produced treats, as well (a sign that this sustainable lifestyle with chickens is thriving)
Conditioning through the feed provided in order to produce a beautiful sheen to the feathers , proper weight for the bird’s breed, and general signs of healthiness as seen in the eyes and other areas of the chicken’s body
Each of these training processes , are touched upon lightly in this first book of the series, Guides for Chicken Enthusiasts, and will be addressed in greater detail in Scott’s second book, scheduled for publication in August, which will be entitled, Tips on Fitting and Showing Your Chickens.
Training animals for exhibition is an exercise commonly taught by 4-H leaders, but adult backyard chicken hobbyists who exhibit under the “open class” category in local fairs have often not been exposed to the concept. Scott maintains that “Those of us who show our animals at local fairs need to take into account that many fair visitors are life long city dwellers and have never had contact with farm animals. But, they may also exert significant political weight in their local area as an office holder or influencer. If we exhibit our chickens with a perspective on how fair visitors perceive them it can have a positive effect on the outcome of elections or decisions by council members in many communities where pet chicken enthusiasts are lobbying their local governments to allow them to legally own backyard chickens.”
Scott encourages pet chicken hobbyists to take part in opportunities to show off their birds at fairs and other events not only for those afore mentioned reasons, but because “it’s just a great hobby for families to participate in, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to visit with like minded people you’d never meet, otherwise.”
For more information, visit Scott's website at http://www.fortheloveofchickens.com.