Pet Chickens

Chick Artwork

Young chicks are curious and active. They seemed to enjoy when a tie from my shirt hung into the tupperware bin, so I decided to make them some artwork for them to pass the time with.
We put a dowell in one end so they had something to perch on. In the wild, chickens perch in trees, so they have the instinct to perch on a wooden branch. On a white piece of paper I drew dots and squiggly figures. The dots were to look like bugs and the squiggly figures to look like worms. Chickens are drawn to bugs and worms, they want to eat them. I put the white paper in a plastic sleeve and hung it on the side of the bin. The photo shows how interested the chicks were in the artwork and they took turns pecking at the different colored figures. 

For most animals, the more stimulation they receive when they are young, the more brain neurons they develop. I wanted to raise the smartest and most secure and happy chicks that I could. I never gave them any reason to be afraid. When I'd put my hand in the bin, several would hop on top of my hand and wrist, or sit on my lower arm. They knew the sound of my voice, and I got to learn about the sounds that they make.

Chickens use their voices in many ways to communicate with each other and to me. They have sounds that express they are curious about something, sounds that they make to one another, sounds they use to speak to the roosters, and sounds like growling that they make when they are laying an egg and a human approaches. Chickens I had in the past would peck hard at my hand if I got too near to them when they were sitting on the roost laying an egg. But since I raised these birds from infancy, some just make the growling noise with no pecking at all.


Big tupperware bins worked out perfectly for our 12 chicks. We had them in one bin but as the weeks passed, we needed to expand. We got a big metal coffee-can and cut a hole in one end of the plastic bin the size of the can. We connected 2 bins together, using the coffee can (both top and bottom cut out) as a tunnel between bins. This way, we were able to put the feeder and waterer in one bin, and the chicks had room to move in the other bin.

The tops of the tupperware bins were solid plastic, so we cut out the middle sections and covered the openings with hardware cloth wire mesh. To make it more secure we put a wooden frame around the top. This even supported a cat who would often like to sleep on the lid.

The chicks were growing and the coop was not yet completed. They became too large for the tupperware bins and so we quickly put together a chicken run. This was a screened in run about six feet long with no bottom so they could dig in the dirt. Since the nights were still chilly, each night we'd put a puppy cage at the open end. Inside the puppy cage we put dowells as perches. As it neared evening, the chickens would climb into the puppy cage and roost. We'd then close the puppy cage door and carry the chicks into the house where they'd spend the night.


We did lots of research before building the coop. We wanted something that was fire-safe since we live in a forested area. We also wanted it to be insulated so the chickens would not be too cold in the winter. It also had to be easy to clean since chickens tend to produce lots of poop. 

In this photo we had not yet installed the door or the fenced yard around the coop. This shows the double pane front sliding window, and the small side window. There is another small high window on the other side. We wanted them to have some cross ventilation since the summers get hot here.

The coop has a corregated metal roof, another way we tried to fire-proof the coop. It is elevated from the ground and is totally insulated. We have a remote thermometer in the coop so we can see the coop's temperature from inside the house.

I also wanted a way I could hear the birds from inside the house. So we got a baby monitor and I can listen to any sounds in the coop by turning up the volume on the baby monitor. I have learned that chickens have a lot of vocabularly they use with each other. They make so many sounds. Over time I have come to recognize many of their sounds and understand what is going on in there. 

Chickens In The Coop Yard

These chickens are all gathered in the Chicken Coop yard. The 2 black ones are the 2 Australorp roosters. The reddish one is a Sex-Link.

We tried to make the caged yard resistant to racoons who will easily and happily kill chickens in a horrid and slow way. We have a door that we even lock with a padlock and key. I've seen racoons break into the most secure of coops.

Recently we had a break-in of a wild pig group. This area has javelina's, they look like wild pigs with huge tusks, but are actually very large (up to 90 lbs.) rodents. They damaged so much in the chicken yard, but they did not touch the chickens. Some of the hens went up into the coop before the pigs tore up their ramp. The pigs were wanting their grain and they ate every last bit of it. In the small yard, I found 12 pigs of all sizes, many were babes. The chickens were very upset. A person who has had chickens in this area for many years said that javelina's kill chickens. I'm glad none of that happened. We have since poured cement in areas where the pigs could get into the yard - and from there into the coop.

If you are not a bug, a chicken is a very gentle creature. They depend on their humans to protect them and take good care of them. Chickens are smart and friendly, and once you get to know your birds, you will want to protect them from harm.