Four Benefits of Chicken Watching May 31, 2013

Chicken Watching: I’d hazard a guess and say that all pet chicken owners do it. Probably fairly often. And most backyard chicken keepers will tell you that chickens are more entertaining than TV—and far more relaxing!

Bunny the Brahma is chicken watching

Even chickens like chicken watching

So why am I writing about “chicken watching” rather than just “chicken keeping,” you might ask?

Simple: chicken keeping is not necessarily an activity associated with PET chickens alone. You can keep 60,000 chickens crowded together in a battery farm warehouse, and see none of the benefits of pet ownership. Or you can have three pet hens and be active in providing genuinely good and humane pet care–AND see the benefits of your compassion and affection reflected back at you and your family. Plus, in this post, I wanted to address more than just the tangible benefits of pet chicken keeping (healthy, fresh eggs; reduced bug populations; compost, etc.). There’s more to it than that.

The Benefits of Chicken Watching

  1. When you’re chicken watching, you can be there in the present moment, observing the way they interact, rather than dwelling too much on the stress of a work situation, vehicle repairs, or any of the innumerable slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Keeping pets such as chickens can sharpen your mindfulness skills. And while this is a benefit you get from keeping any sort of pet, chicken watching seems especially helpful in my opinion, because they’re so active with one another. My cats are darling… but adult cats aren’t that active, and it’s not especially engaging to watch them sleep.
  2. Chicken watching gets you out of doors. Modern life makes it so easy to slip into the unhealthy rut of work, sleep, digital world; work, sleep, digital world. It’s effortless to sit in front of the TV or a computer screen, eat unhealthy foods and gain weight. However, chicken watching begs for interaction: toss out some scratch and watch the hens enjoy. Turn over rocks and help them find bugs. Rake up their dusting area; let them out of their run; feed them from your hand; give them affection; gather eggs, etc. etc. Keeping chickens is nothing near exhausting or difficult, but keeping outdoor animals like chickens (rather than in-home pets like cats, hamsters, etc.) does encourage you to get outside the same way keeping a dog encourages outside time for daily walks.
  3. Caring for pets like chickens offers many health benefits, beyond those of getting much healthier eggs. Chicken watching can  lower your blood pressure, your cholesterol and your triglyceride levels, as well as reducing feelings of loneliness. Chickens are surprisingly affectionate!
  4. Lastly, of course, chicken watching allows you to notice when a hen might be sick, so you can take action and keep your flock healthy. After all, if you don’t know what your chickens act like normally on a daily basis, you’re not going to be able to tell when they’re acting ill. Chicken watching is of tangible benefit to the flock itself.

What’s your opinion? Aside from the obvious benefits of chicken keeping (eggs, compost, pest control, etc.), are there other benefits you’ve seen with your flock? Do you get outside more? Has it brought your family or neighborhood together? Please share in the comments!

17 Comments
Heather May 31st, 2013

I completely agree! We currently have 3 runs and we try to cycle them out so everyone get some yard time. We love our chickens so much! And while I don’t wish harm to come for any of my dogs or cats I have, we’ve already decided we may not have any other dogs or cats, but will always have chickens! We spent the night out at my sisters leaving one of my “extra” roos outside to roost for the night, when got home the next day, he came running from the yard to us and just snuggled with me until bed time. They are all have their unique ways about them and we love them so much!

Erica May 31st, 2013

How true! And what a lovely, thoughtful article. Our chickens are such fun to watch…they stir up within us this great joy in being able to interact with them. And they are suprisingly smart.
Everybody should have a couple of chickens!

George Castonguay May 31st, 2013

I used to keep tropical fish in the past and I think chickens are just as much fun to watch with the added attraction of being able to pet them and have them eat from your hand. I am never tired of watching the feathery ones bopping around the yard.

Maria Carstensen May 31st, 2013

Totally agree! I have to go out everyday to feed
and water my chickens and then look forward to relaxing and let them scratch in the yard 🙂

Rachy May 31st, 2013

I chicken watch all the time 🙂
They are so lovely to watch, pottering around the garden and it’s invaluable for spotting when someone is off colour x

Joann Schmidt May 31st, 2013

I find watching my chickens very relaxing……I will take a chair and sit in the middle of my yard and watch their funny antics……

Susie May 31st, 2013

I love going into the backyard after dinner and watching the chickens as the evening breezes blow and the sun goes down. When I am stuck inside doing housework, I frequently find myself looking out the window to see what the chickens are up to. I agree with Heather about not getting any more dogs or cats in the future, but hoping to always have chickens.

Susie M June 1st, 2013

It’s been a very long trying year, several deaths, lots of the blues, big time. But it’s impossible to keep crying when you go outside and watch chickens… The way they all race to greet you, always peck your ankles/toes/dress when you’re not looking, or the dog’s tail. I have one brave one that pecked my dog’s nose once – she’s a boxer / pitt bull, and won’t touch them. I really love it when I give them the heel of a loaf, but I don’t break it – they take turns, running around with it, until they can break a piece off, then another one steals it. They are so sweet when they will sit in my lap and be stroked to sleep. The best is when they are spread in a line, like cops sweeping a field looking for a murder weapon, they each creep forward at the same pace, about 2 feet apart from each other, bottoms up in the air, pecking up any bugs they can find. How can you not giggle?

Kim June 1st, 2013

Awesome! So true! Love watching my girlies and chicks!!!

Chris June 1st, 2013

I love my chickens and watching them takes the stress out of a hectic day! They also entertain my neighbors as I do chores in my yard surrounded by feathered sidewalk superintendents!

W Duane Waddell June 2nd, 2013

Stress reducing is one of the gifts they give me….as good as meditation. I give the cock and three hens a handful of feed daily and sometimes they don’t bother to eat any of it. They are mostly sustained by the bugs they scratch for and the seeds they pluck from weeds and grasses. Although they could range much farther they choose to stay within 200 feet of my house…I’m sure it’s not necessary to mention the EGGS.

Laura Lee June 3rd, 2013

My siblings think I’m “chicken crazy” and hahahaaa…they are right. (They would be too if they had chickens instead of dogs or cats.) I love other animals too, but there is something very magical about chickens (and ducks too, I have 5 duckies that are hysterical to watch…and how they interact with the chickens is a hoot sometimes.) A few months ago I acquired some additional hens called “Polish” hens. (I call ‘fufu heads” because they have a big plume on top that covers their eyes.) The first day they were here, the little banty rooster chased them out of the pen because he had no idea they were chickens! Then later on, things calmed down and I put the ducks back in their cage which is adjoining the chicken cage. They stood staring at the ducks in the cage next door, thinking “what the cluck is that! – And the ducks stood there staring right back at them and I know they were thinking, “What the quack is in the chicken pen!” They both stood there staring at each other not hardly moving, and this went on for over a half hour! I was laughing so hard watching them watch each other. I wish I had it on video!

I love my pet chickens and ducks so much, they are totally part of the family and add so much entertainment in my life. Also, I totally agree, they get me out of the house rain or shine or blizzard…which is really good for me and NOT something I would do “just for the fun of it” if it weren’t for my chickens!

Beth K July 3rd, 2013

My husband had talked a long time about getting chickens but never acted on it. So last spring I got 6 chicks from the feed store in town. He says now that I stole his idea. Anyways I went ahead and got the chicks. Started out with 2 Plymouth rocks, 2 silver Wyondotts and 2 RIR. I got 5 hens and a roo….one of the RIR. The roo ended ul having something wronng with one of his legs. It totally went backwards. I put him in a dog crate. I tried several things to try and get him better but nothing worked. Eventually we had to put him down. I hadn’t planned on having o roo but I was so sad we had to do it. All this to say is I’m not as active as I should be and often choose not to go out. Especially in the winter. But now j have to go out and take.care of my girls. I love just sitting and watching them. It’s so cool to see how God made all his creature. So perfectly. There is such a variety too! God has a great sense of humor…..

Leann July 27th, 2013

It so calming to traipse outside after dinner with a plate full of kitchen scraps to find my six sweet girls happy to see me arrive on the patio. I open the coop and they scamper around me to get to the veggies and bread chunks. After they sample the offerings, it’s time to jump, fly, run and generally spread their wings for a little while. I adore the time outside and hope I can do something on a smaller scale when the weather gets colder because it’s such a therapeutic experience.

Lourdez Fontanilla November 29th, 2014

It is so TRUE! My Sister Leonida and I both keep chickens and we love watching them! We spread a blanket or something to sit on and we camp near her chickens and we watch and talk at the same time! She has had depression from taking drugs before and keeping chicken help her not be depressed! She gets a lot of exercise climbing the hill up and down when she change the chickens’ water! She loves it! She tells me you have to watch the chickens so that you know what they doing so that you can help them to be happy and know when they are ready to broody! She leaves the eggs in the basket and 1 hen will go broody! My Sister have helped her hen hatched chicks many times ( I don’t have that experience yet; I want to try it in the future. She also have had hatched chicks by means of an incubator! I haven’t. She says put a rooster and a en separately in a cage and collect the fertile eggs and save them turning them every so often until a hen goes broody and then put the fertile eggs that you collected under it! (The fertile eggs don’t have to hers! She doesn’t know the difference!) I don’t watch my chickens as much as we watch hers so I don’t how to help them when they are sick or broody! I haven’t had any go broody because we always take their eggs! I have 75 chickens! I did separate a rooster and a hen! Actually I have 2 cages containing a hen and a rooster! I collected some eggs in 1 of the cages! But I did not think to save it for hatching! (I will now.) The other care no eggs they eat the eggs.) I want to eat them already! My rooster is fat and big! I love eating fresh eggs! They are so delicious! Keeping chickens help me understand the Bible better! The Text that mentions about how Jesus wanted to take the Jews under his wings for protection from the invading Roman armies but they did not want it! So the Romans destroyed them all in 70 C. E. And also how Jesus said birds of heaven have roosts but the son of man (himself) have no where to lay down his head! Keeping chickens have help me to draw closer to Jehovah God! For example how he made fertile eggs hatched 21 days later at the right temperature! Either buy a broody hen sitting on them or in an Incubator! I love Jehovah and love all of his creations including chickens!

G.Leigh November 29th, 2014

Watching our chickens is good for a laugh every day. When we first got them, I intended mainly for them to eat bugs, but I quickly discovered they all had individual “chickenalities” as one of my daughters put it. Watching them run after a mayfly, legs flying everywhere, cracks me up every time!

Our chickens very quickly became pets who give us eggs, insect control, and lots of laughs. The girls love to hug them (Our hens are very spoiled and tame!) and say they are like poofy pillows!

[…] three years ago. With my children glued to their iPads all day, I wanted something that would take them outside: and so came the pet […]

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