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The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

Why Chickens make Egg-cellent Pets

Pets are beloved members of many households. They are the joy and responsibility of their owners. The majority of people own dogs or cats as pets; however, there are many unconventional animals you can have as pets that might harbor unknown benefits—including chickens. 

Chickens are energetic and inquisitive animals: they will spend most of their time grazing, laying eggs, and preening. Many are extremely docile and enjoy being petted. Additionally, they are cute, fluffy animals that get along really well with children. They have also shown intelligence on par to a human toddler, being able to recognize many faces and associate them with positive or negative experiences. Owning chickens sounds intriguing but what about the practicality? 

“[Owning chickens] seems convenient. But at the same time, it sounds expensive, which is counterintuitive,” said AHS freshman Mary Elizabeth Namatay Ross.

Although owning chickens, like any other pets, requires a certain amount of money invested, they require much less than the cost of owning cats or dogs. Chicken owners only need to allocate $68.75 per month to taking care of chickens. Meanwhile, dog owners spend about $125 to $824 monthly, not to mention the initial cost of buying or adopting the dog ranging from $50 up to $2000. Initial costs include buying chicken coop which is priced at around $300 to $1,000 (maybe more depending on size) and buying chickens which typically cost about  $3 to $50 each; considering they are social animals, it is recommended that owners have at least 2-3 chickens to keep them company. 

Each day, you must feed and provide water for your chickens; you must also let them in and out of their coop and collect their eggs. Each month owners must clean out the chicken’s bedding and water. It is also essential that the coop and yard is cleaned thoroughly at least once a year, usually during the springtime. 

Some popular chicken breeds include: Rhode Island Reds, Orpingtons, Wyandottes, and Ameraucanas. Rhode Island Reds are good egg layers, resistant to most diseases, and are able to handle difficult housing conditions. They are overall great for new owners. Orpingtons and Wyandottes are also great egg layers that might be more suitable for owners who live in more temperate climates. Ameraucana lays green eggs and are tolerant to all kinds of climates. 

With the ever-changing price of eggs, it is clear that having eggs in your own backyard is an advantage to owning chickens. In July of this year, egg prices have decreased to an average of $2.10 per dozen eggs in the U.S. since its peak in January, where prices of eggs rose 60% higher than a year ago. Although these prices have decreased since then, it is clear that prices may still fluctuate, having chickens can save you money in the long run.

Junior Nicole Cai owns nine chickens, three of which are Rhode Island Reds. 

“Chickens are really good at getting rid of bugs that might ruin your garden,” said Cai.

However, owning chickens may also come with some drawbacks. One of the most notable disadvantages is its manure. They tend to have a strong odor that may be difficult to manage. Additionally, they are also loud and require at least four square feet of space to roam around. Manure can be composted into fertilizer that you can use for your own garden. Furthermore, owners need to keep an eye on their chickens to prevent them from being attacked by predators. Arcadia’s proximity to the mountains and forests often brings coyotes to our neighborhoods. 

“There was one time a coyote was in our backyard and had its jaws around one of our chickens,” said Cai. “Miraculously, that chicken managed to survive.”

To keep chickens safe, you can keep them inside. There is no need to worry about whether chickens will get along with other pets. With proper introductions, house pets such as dogs can coexist with chickens.

Overall, chickens make great low-maintenance yet cute pets. That said, if you decide to get chickens, make sure you have the capability to take care of them since they are still a responsibility. Chickens truly are egg-ceptional creatures!


Photo by Ainsley Najafzadeh

Photo Courtesy of Kareena Phan

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