Chicken meets cloth-on-butt
shithowdy I feel like this may be relevant to your interests.
Oh my god it’s like one of those drinking birds poor confused baby
This pisses me off. No. Chickens are not in door pets. They don’t need to have diapers and a full grown chicken like that shouldn’t be locked up inside the house and forced to wear a diaper. I’m legit mad right now.
^ This is how you spot someone totally ignorant about indoor chickens. You can’t even tell that she’s not full grown, but y’think you can go off about where my pet can and cannot be?
Hi, I’m assuming you don’t know me. I am miss “entirely too concerned with the good husbandry and proper treatment of all animals.” I’ve got a bit of a reputation for calling people on their shit. It can generally be assumed that I do nothing that doesn’t have my pet’s best interests at heart. So let’s put this to bed right now. Chickens can be perfectly happy and healthy as indoor pets.
They do not suffer. They, in fact, thrive. They lay eggs, they breed, they play, they socialize and interact with their world. Just like any animal in any situation, they need to be properly cared for in order for this to happen, and being kept indoors =/= an automatic failure on proper care. Taking care of chickens indoors is a bit more difficult than taking care of them outdoors (if only because you have to clean more, you can’t just ignore their filth because it’s hidden in grass and dirt,) but this is only for the human caretaker and not for the birds. The birds arguably live a better, and safer, life as indoor pets.
Every single argument given for “chickens need to be outdoors” also applies to cockatiels, but no one shits their pants about people having them indoors. They’re one of the single most popular pet birds the world over. Just to cover all this in one go, because I am not discussing this with people over and over, let’s take a look at every single ignorant complaint I’ve seen about keeping chickens indoors:
- "They’re dusty!" So be clean, and don’t keep one if you have severe bird dust allergies. I’ve found chicken dust to really only be a bother during molt, which are very infrequent. Chicks molt a lot, so people rearing chicks indoors imagine the dust a whole group of molting, rapidly growing birds must be characteristic of having a pet chicken or two in the house, and are thus big dramatic babies about it. Truthfully, my chicken is the size of like 3 cockatiels right now, and is coming to the end of her second molt. She doesn’t even seem to make the dust of one cockatiel. Want a chicken indoors? Be prepared to vacuum and dust a little more sometimes. Whoopdedoo.
- "They poop!" So does literally every other pet that isn’t a rock, and from experience I can guarantee clean up is more pleasant than cleaning up after a parrot. Again, be clean. If “poop comes out of it” is where one draws the line at what gets to be kept indoors, I sure hope they don’t approve of… anything else! lmao.
- "They take dust bathes!" Which can be provided without leaving your pet in the backyard all day, or else people wouldn’t be able to keep chinchillas in good health either. Take kitty litter pan with sand in it, set chicken in sand. WOW, THEY DID IT. Vacuum up the minor mess. Lifehacks for your chicken.
- "They don’t need diapers!" No one said they need diapers, friend. Diaper training is a matter of convenience for many types of bird owners, from chickens to parrots (hello, flight suits!) Once habituated to the diaper, it is a totally neutral element in their life. It does not hurt the bird, and it helps the human. No one wants shit all over themselves and their houses and so diapers for stuff that would shit all over them and their houses exist. Diapers aren’t natural for birds, but they’re not even natural for humans. Not natural =/= automatically cruel. Of course, diapers should also be had on hand by people who keep chickens outdoors - sometimes you NEED to bring a chicken indoors, because they are sick or injured, and they need to recover in a controlled environment away from their flock (as chickens tend to peck the hell out of injured flock mates and illness spreads.)
- "Chickens are flock animals and need other chickens!" An argument that only applies to the rearing of lone chicks. All other birds commonly kept in captivity are also flock animals - that is why they make good pets! Chickens do not need other chickens specifically. They need a flock. As seen in many pet birds, people can be the flock. For example, my fiance and I are Pepper’s flock. I spend every waking hour of my day with Pepper. Every. Single. Waking. Hour. If I had another chicken, I wouldn’t have to spend a fraction of the time with her - just like cockatiel and parakeet owners don’t need to take their bird out of the cage for hours a day to keep them from being lonely. Chickens require a lot less of this in comparison to parrots. It would be easier on me to just push her off on another chicken, but does it affect Pepper negatively to have me instead of a hen? Nope. She sees me wake up in the morning and greets me excitedly. She still roosts with us at night and tells us she loves us with lots of purring and leaning, as chickens in a coop do to one another in the evening. We are very firmly her flock and she is not wanting for other company. A keeper must be willing to put in the time to be a chicken’s flock, or else they had better have multiple chickens. That’s just responsible. Me? I don’t know where I’d be without Pepper always at my side, so I prefer to put in the time. Surprise, neither of us suffer for it.
- "But boohoo sunlight and meadows and grass under their feet and whatever!" I know that romanticized notion is what most people imagine when they think of chicken keeping, but that doesn’t make it the only way, all others be damned. Sure, push the importance of being able to stretch one’s legs and actually see sunlight when it comes to the horrors of battery keeping for mass scale egg farming. Those chickens are actually missing out on a good life. It’s not an argument that applies to indoor chickens, who have run of a home that is most likely larger than any chicken run their people could provide them outdoors. Pepper gets to go outside. She gets supervised play time on days with good weather. Her wonder tends to last all of 5 minutes, then she just wants back indoors. She doesn’t seem to get what’s so good about this “outdoors” schtick any more than me. She lives in an air conditioned house, with a flock that does not peck her, and no shadows passing from overhead that might be predators. Everything good found outdoors can be had indoors. Sunlight? UVB lights. Forage? Fresh greens and captive raised insects are totally possible to serve without open air dining. Dirt? Sand in a litter pan, that’s all they need it for anyway. Pretty much the only thing she’s missing is an uncontrolled climate (mmm extreme texas heat, wouldn’t this giant fluffy chicken with a tiny comb be much happier in 110 degree weather PFFFFFFT,) bad weather, parasites and predators, and I don’t think any chicken would miss those.
- "But they can’t be happy!" She practices every behavior you would expect from a happy chicken. Do you know how many times I’ve seen an outdoor keeper worry that their chicken was sick when they did happy things? I’ve lost count myself, because that’s how infrequently they saw beak grinding, or heard hearty chicken purring, or had a chicken lay in their lap and stretch their neck out limp to be stroked. You get these things multiple times on the daily with Pepper. On the opposite side, you get no upset chicken behavior from her. She isn’t ever listless and pale combed, she isn’t antisocial, she doesn’t peck, she doesn’t confine herself away, she has a great appetite, a healthy curiosity, a constant motion.
- "But they can’t be healthy!" I’ve seen a poultry specializing vet, as I over-worry and wanted to confirm I was doing things right with a professional, and he had no complaints. In fact, he was all compliments, wished he saw other chickens in such good condition, and gave her a clean bill of health. We could have been in and out in five minutes, but he wanted to spend time cooing over Pepper, because she decided a total stranger was a good place to perch and lay down. Pretty sure a professional poultry vet with more years of experience keeping cochins than I have years on this earth knows more about chicken health than both me and some schmoe on the internet, and he said she was better than fine. I’m not exactly doing anything special, so for other indoor chickens receiving proper care, I’d say results would be the same.
- "Ok but, you said it’s harder!" Just because you wouldn’t want to do it doesn’t mean every other person in the world is incapable. While spending the extra time cleaning and socializing a chicken isn’t feasible for everyone, that just means not everyone should have an indoor chicken. That doesn’t mean no one should have an indoor chicken. Don’t project your limitations for enjoying animal husbandry on to others.
In conclusion, anyone who thinks chickens can’t be kept indoors properly or that it is cruel to do so is talking out of their butt. They are operating on assumption with 0 critical thinking, assuming some romantic vision of chickens plucking in a field denotes them Proper Chicken Settings Experts, then regurgitate tired, baseless arguments all over the place and generally make an embarrassment of themselves. Nope, not even keeping chickens outdoors protects you from being that same brand of ignorant. Chicken keeping is not a “my way or the highway” thing. Say it with me: different isn’t the same as bad. Different isn’t the same as bad. Different isn’t the same as bad.
I operate under a rule very near and dear to my heart as an exotics keeper, and it serves me well: If the animal won’t thrive, it can’t be done. Chickens? Chickens can thrive indoors. It can be done. I’m literally doing it right now.
As a little side note: I know I took a lot of shots at outdoor keeping here, and I am by no means against outdoor keeping. Just that anyone would insist it’s safer and healthier than indoor is baffling assumption. I plan to have an outdoor flock too, but I’ve done enough research to know free ranging is inherently dangerous. They are risks you take to provide your chicken with enrichment opportunities. The only way to keep a chicken 100% safe outdoors is to keep them cooped up in the coop and run at all times, which is basically just indoors downgraded. Very head scratching that people would support one and not the other. Also, to anyone wondering: This video covers the very worst moments of literally her entire life. The worst thing that has ever happen to this chicken is becoming an upset triangle for an hour. She’s wearing that same diaper right now like it’s not even there, because after seeing she wasn’t adjusting happily while having it just put on, I decided to put it on her in pieces while also rewarding her with treats for being calm, and the positive reinforcement over the course of today was all it took.