People who want to have chickens but live in a house with a small yard find a lack of space as an obstacle to making it happen. Even though chickens enjoy being outside and require space for daily activities, growing them without backyard space is possible.
The answer to the question can chickens be kept indoors is affirmative. It is possible when providing a few additional conditions, including sufficient light, proper aeration, and adequate room temperature. The crucial advantage of this method is protecting your flock from lousy weather and predators.
Can You Keep Chickens Indoors?
Chickens originated from South Asia and were domesticated sometime between 7,200 and 10,000 years ago. Experts believe modern fowl came from a common ancestor, wild Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus domesticus) living in tropical jungles.
Interestingly, chickens became the first domesticated poultry and were used for religious and bird-fighting purposes. Later, they became regular farm and household inhabitants and were raised as a food source and for egg production.
The population increased over time, causing a need for more food. Farmers started keeping them indoors on farms to get more yield. This way, chickens were protected from predators, raised under controlled conditions, and in a way that ensured more meat and eggs.
These omnivores are one of the widest-spread domestic animals nowadays, living approximately 5 to 10 years. Official data shows that there are over 1,600 recognized breeds worldwide.
They eat insects, seeds, worms, or even small snakes and lizards in their natural habitat. Under controlled farm conditions, these birds consume specialized food for rapid growth and high yields.
Lately, people have started keeping chickens in their houses as pets with little or no access to outdoor areas. These cases are more common than you think, and you can see them living in houses or apartments.
These chickens cuddle with their owners and enjoy all the privileges any other pet has. On the other hand, chicken pet owners are very passionate and prepared to list numerous advantages of chickens as pets.
Reasons to Choose a Chicken as a Pet
There are numerous reasons for keeping chickens in your home. Besides being entirely different than animals typically considered pets, they are fun and excellent companions. For instance, do you know that:
- Flocks have precisely established social order, and each chicken is aware of its place and status
- Chickens can distinguish more than a hundred other flock members’ faces
- These birds can produce over 30 different sounds and precisely warn the flock about threats
- They have excellent sight and can recognize all shades in the color specter
- They adore sunbathing
- Hens communicate with their chicks while they are still inside eggs
Conditions Required for Keeping Chickens Indoors
Once you choose the desired chicken breed and learn about its needs, it is time to bring your new friend home. From that moment, the new bird becomes your responsibility, and you need to take care of its comfort, health, and happiness.
1. Provide a safe place
Some owners only keep their chicken pets limited to one room, while others don’t mind them roaming around the whole house. In any case, your chicken should have a place to spend the night and rest during the day.
For instance, you can install a cage or a kind of improvised coop in your home as a safe and private zone. It is crucial, particularly if you have other pets in the house.
2. Ensure proper diet
Taking proper care of your pet includes an adequate diet. It should be a mix of a 90% regular bird diet and about 10% treats. Besides commercial feed, your pet will enjoy leafy greens, corn, and vegetable scratches.
Change the water in the bowl regularly and wash the feeder and drinker daily. Avoid feeding your pet salty and spicy food, avocado peels, caffeine, dry or undercooked beans, and moldy food for its own sake.
3. Chickens and other pets
If you have a cat or dog in your house and want to get a chicken, be prepared to spend months teaching them to live together. Some cats are gentle and cuddle with chickens, while others consider them prey. Be patient and slowly introduce them so they can get used to each other.
Surprisingly, dogs can cause more problems than cats when they need to accept the chicken in the house. However, it always depends on their breed, gender, and personality.
Be determined and patient with your dog and adequately train and supervise it while spending time near the new buddy. Only that way can you succeed and make it possible for a chicken to stay unharmed and become a part of your family over time.
4. Care for your chicken pet during vacations
Finding a relevant pet hotel, pet sitter, or friend who can care for your dog or cat in your absence is pretty effortless. Unfortunately, this part becomes tricky when you have a chicken pet since many friends or family members are not prepared to help, if any.
That is why you should look for chicken boarding or chicken sitters nearby but be prepared that they are still rare in most areas. One option is to make an arrangement with other chicken pet owners to look after each other’s pets when needed.
5. Health issues
Chickens are hardy animals but can still face health issues, although they live outside the flock. The most common things your chicken pet can suffer from are:
- Bacterial and viral infections
- Fungal infections
- Injuries from predators unless your pet is indoors all the time
The additional problem is that many vets refuse to treat chickens. Therefore, timely finding one in your area who knows how to care for fowl is vital.
Common Problems When Keeping Chickens Indoor
People who own chickens and keep them indoors as pets are more common than you think, but it is still not an everyday situation. Therefore, there are a few crucial facts you should know about when considering adopting a chicken pet and housing it indoors.
1. Legal permissions
Before bringing a chicken pet home, check whether local laws and regulations prevent keeping poultry in the house or backyard. Additionally, be aware of possible required fees for having a chicken pet.
You should also consult your neighbors since many people mind noise, smell, and sanitary issues. If you rent an apartment, you need to get permission from your landlord to keep this unusual pet.
2. Chickens smell and cause dust
Be aware that chickens’ dander and the dust they create may cause allergies in sensitive people. So, checking that no one in your household is allergic is vital before bringing such a pet into the house. Besides, you should be sure that you and your family won’t mind the unpleasant smell.
3. Chickens are loud
Chickens produce different kinds of noises, depending on the situation. Be prepared to hear crowing in the morning if you have a rooster or cackling whenever your hen lays an egg. However, that is not all, given that the range of sounds chickens produce is wide.
Noise types chickens produce
|Chatting||Short clucks or squawks||Not very loud||Morning|
|Food calling||Short chip-chip or cluck-cluck sounds||Not very loud||When finding food|
|Alarm||Similar to a loud growl||Very loud||When feeling endangered|
|Argue||Squawking at each other||Very loud||During a dispute over a nesting spot or food|
|Laying and egg||Egg song||The loudest noise a hen can make||After laying an egg|
Some of these noises can increase amongst chickens when you keep them inside. To prevent or reduce them, choose a quiet, docile, and calm breed, and avoid those that tend to be aggressive.
4. Poop problem
Chickens neither have large intestines nor any other way to hold or control pooping, meaning you can see droppings throughout the house. There are two possible ways to deal with this problem.
Some chicken owners claim that these birds can be potty trained. According to them, it is similar to training a dog but with a litter box filled with earth which no other pets should use.
This training includes the whistles and treats, all until the chicken associates the urge to poop with the need to visit the litter tray. Unfortunately, only some of the chickens get to this point.
If you don’t believe in chicken potty training or don’t intend to try, you can use chicken diapers. They work on the same principle as baby diapers, and you can either buy them or make them yourself.
The chicken pet can move around the house wearing a diaper, and you won’t have to worry about the mess. On the other hand, you have to change them frequently and wash your chicken as you would a baby. That means using a chicken diaper requires more attention than your pet itself.
Before becoming a chicken pet owner, you should consider all the facts. Think thoroughly about the requirements and your readiness to fulfill them. Having such a pet is amusing but requires dedication, so you should be patient. Besides, be prepared for a long-lasting commitment since chickens live approximately 8 to 10 years.