Some people are scared of chickens (is it the lizard-like feet?) and others are agnostic – completely unaware. Most folks I chat with in person and online are super surprised at how cuddly and affectionate chickens really can be. So is that unique to Graywhale Farms? Yes and No. Chickens are pets. Domesticated for years and, when you love on them, they love you back.
“When selecting a source for your friendly chicken breeds, be sure to ask your breeder or hatcheries questions to see if their birds are known to exhibit friendly, affectionate personality traits.” Grubbly Farms
Chickens Are Soft
As feathered animals, chickens are very soft. They get a bad wrap sometimes as plain farm animals and we think they’re underappreciated. After all, we wouldn’t have chocolate cake or frittatas without them (well, vegans have them but you know what I mean).
Chickens have several different kinds of feathers, being birds and all, including down feathers. Who doesn’t love a goose-down comforter? Did you know these feathers are meant to trap air to insulate the bird? This is what makes chickens so soft.
“In addition to flight and body feathers, birds also have down feathers. Down feathers are soft and fluffy because they don’t have barbules and barbicels (the structures that hook feather barbs together). Down feathers help to keep a bird warm by trapping air close to the body, which insulates the bird from the cold.” Project Beak
Chickens Are Social
Like mammals, chickens are social. We’re not used to thinking of birds this way, but look at them pile up to sleep together. They keep each other warm and good company as well. They have the original water cooler gossip going on and you know how those gals chirp away. 😉
“Grooming and feather care are part of normal hygiene in chickens and can also be social activities.” Merck Manual
Most social animals need affection; we know this to be true of humans and primates. Now, I wouldn’t recommend petting a bobcat or coyote, but you get the point. Chickens are domesticated and are part of our pet ecosystem. Not all cats like affection, not all chickens do either. There are a number of factors that contribute to the acceptance of affection – the reduction of trauma being one of them.
Did you know there have been studies that show trauma changes how we respond to our DNA? We believe this could be true for our pets as well, including chickens. This is why we provide the maximum amount of space, light, fresh air, clean flake, and a variety of fruits & veggies to our chickens. Additionally, we behave and speak calmly around our chickens. We don’t chase them. If they need to be “wrangled” we push them as a team into their coop or carry them one at a time.
Do Chickens Get Attached to Their Owners?
The short answer is yes, certain chickens get attached to their owners. You’ve probably seen photos of me and Fernando the Indio Gigante Rooster floating around the internet. When he wasn’t kept in the Indio Pen, he’d run up the driveway as I walked down. It looked like a slow-motion love scene. Then he’d follow me around as I did the chicken chores.
Chickens Respond to Love
We believe that loving our animals comes in the form of affection, song, and visitation. Of course, we feed our flock high-quality food and produce, and that is one way to love them as well. Like any living being, chickens respond to love.
“For ‘friendlier’ birds, hold them and touch them frequently starting when they are chicks.” Hobby Farms (Nov/Dec 22)
If you raise chickens from babies, holding them, singing to them like I do, and talking to them, they’ll get used to your voice. For example, with the last 16 hatchlings, I talked and sang to them while they were in the setter and hatcher. With the older chickens – before I came to Graywhale Farms – I squat down by them while they are eating to pet them. This gets them used to me as well.
How Do I Hold a Chicken?
Without chasing a chicken, squat down, and pick one up from behind using both hands. Then hold its feet together with your left hand and cuddle them close to you with your right hand. Gently place your right hand under their wing or over their wings and they will snuggle right up to you. Some breeds are more skittish than others, and it may take some time. Don’t force it.
We love holding our chickens and if you’re following us on Instagram, you’ll be sure to see quite a few Chicken Selfies! We bet you’ll fall in love with backyard chickens, too! They make great pets.
You’ll Love Spending Time In Your Backyard
Spending time enjoying your backyard, observing, and being part of nature is so fulfilling, that you won’t even notice the reduction in screen time. There’s nothing like helping a living being live its best life!
From our hatchery to your homestead.