If you want more than just backyard chickens, Orpingtons make excellent pets but they do need more space than the average chicken. Orpingtons come in a wide variety of colours and feather patterns and each chicken has it's own unique personality.
Before you do out and buy chickens as pets there is a few things you should know. chickens are really outdoor pets and need access to pasture and fresh air.
Below: A video of an Orpington hen that is really calm even though I am filming her close up.
Despite what you see on social media with people keeping single chickens indoors as pets, this is the exception rather than the rule and may even bring you into conflict with the law.
Chickens are also quite smelly and dirty and are best outside.
Chickens are sociable animals and even if you want pets they require the company of at least three birds.
Below: Chickens come in lots of colours and feather patterns, this Orpington was first bred for Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebrations and is one of the prettiest.
Reasons to get Orpingtons as pets:
- Calm happy a docile chickens that like human company,
- Very poor flyers so they will stay put,
- Good personality and easy to tame,
- Quality eggs for many years.
- The cockerels are quiet.
Reasons not to get Orpingtons as pets:
- They are large and heavy chickens that require space,
- Orpingtons are quite slow to mature,
- They will not lay as many eggs as modern hybrids,
- Orpintons are not good in hot climates and prefer cooler locations.
- Chickens cannot be house trained and are outdoor pets.
Being poor flyers, Orpingtons are good for the garden as they are much less likely to get into trouble with your neighbours.
Even Orpington roosters are quiet and friendly birds. As I have mentioned elsewhere in the Orpington pages, I once sold one to a young lady who had just ditched her boyfriend and wanted some company about the house and she was delighted, mentioning to me a few months later that the bird made less mess, was quieter and less smelly than her ex-boyfriend.
The calm disposition and generally unflappable nature of the Orpington makes them good pets. And of course you get fresh free range eggs into the bargain.
Below: Eggs from my Buff Orpington hens.
The roosters are calm but all cockerels need watching around young children. You will need to take some hygiene precautions like you would with all pets to prevents getting sick from them.
If you want the super friendly chicken pet that comes running to you whenever it see you then consider raising Orpingtons from chicks for this.
Chickens in general and Orpingtons in particular are quite low maintenance and easy to look after and they can help educate your children about pets and where their food comes from. You get free pest control and fertiliser into the bargain.
Chickens are also inexpensive to keep compared with dogs for example.