Backyard Chickens: Have You Hugged Yours Today?

Chickens make awesome pets, as some of us know. My husband and I homestead, which means we raise and grow as much of our own food as we can on our 2 little acres out in the country. Our Buff rooster, pictured above, quickly became our best backyard buddy who stole our hearts so much that he will never see the inside of an oven or frying pan. His life started out on our homestead as a day old baby that we lovingly raised and, over time, trained. He's a stud-muffin and he knows it. He rules the hen houses, keeping all of our feathered ladies in line and our breeders fertilized. He loves to be held, hugged, cuddled, cooed at, and talked to while strutting his stuff around the backyard and in the coops. When anything within his vicinity is amiss, he's quick to holler a loud "Ehr Ehr Ehr Ehr Eeehhhrrr!" to let me know, sending me running to his assistance.

I thought I'd take a moment to introduce some of my favorite fowl on our homestead and encourage and, hopefully, inspire non-chicken owners to become chicken owners. Chickens don't just make for great egg layers and Sunday dinners, they are kid and adult friendly social creatures that can be as equally beautiful as other pets, as well as make for great outdoor companions.

Pictured above is our rooster's favorite hen, ahem..girlfriend, Misty. Every chicken has its own unique personality with Misty as no exception. Her prissy, broody demeanor and bossy attitude makes her the number one breeding hen and Queen of the backyard amongst the rest of the flock. Her short, stocky build belies her speed at chasing the rest of the flock back into the coop when it's time to call it a day or when I give her the signal.

This little darling pictured above is one of the offspring pullets from Misty and our Buff rooster. She's only a tad over 3 months old but already as sweet and beautiful as ever. We incubated and hatched her along with 11 of her brothers and sisters from Misty's winter clutch of eggs. We call them our Halloween babies, with their colored orange and black plummage fit for the month they were born in, October of last year. Their unique markings are evidence of her Buff daddy and Bantam momma. She is so gentle and loving, she prefers cuddling next to me outside than anything else. We think her markings are so pretty, we are considering adding her to our small flock of breeder hens. Our baby roosters will one day soon grace our dinner table. So, too will the pullets in a year or two. There is only one baby rooster out of this bunch of chickens that will be spared, one that stole my heart like my Buff rooster did. Don't worry though, until that day comes they are spoiled and doted on daily!

Our little rare breed Buttercup hen is our complete joy to have as a breeder hen (Yahoo's spam filter would not allow photo upload of her for some reason). She's exceptionally intelligent and talented for a chicken. She is easy to train and quick to learn new commands and hand signals that we try very hard to teach all of our fowl. She is the only one that knows and responds to all of them without fail in our flocks. Buttercups are much smaller and by far more petite than our other breeds, and are not too distantly related to pheasants. They are named Buttercup for their buttercup shaped comb. Due to their small size, they make for great backyard chickens when space is at a premium. They are wonderful as pets too, as they are loyal and attentive to their owners and fly to them to perch on their arm, shoulder, or top of their head. Their eggs are small but very delicious!

I'm not much of a writer (only a blogger), but hopefully sharing this might be a source of inspiration for you to adopt and raise some baby chickens of your own this spring so you can also know how much fun, educational for kids and adults alike, and rewarding having fowl can be.

Got chickens as pets? Have some stories about yours you'd like to tell? It would be great to hear about them or any inspiration you might have acquired through this in your Comments!