The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

Old MacDonald had a what?

Alessandra Arroyo
“Old McDonald had a what?” Chickens make wonderful pets if you have the right resources and time to accommodate to their everyday needs (this includes their little poops).

They are fluffy, silly, loud, loyal, cute, intelligent, affectionate and lay eggs. More than 12 million people in the United States own backyard chickens for different reasons and purposes.

There are many Californians with chickens. In fact, within California, there are more than 100,000 backyard chickens, with Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento having the highest percentage. There has been an increase in chicken owning within the last two to three years due to being stuck at home because of COVID-19.

Above all, one of the main reasons that people start owning chickens is because of their eggs. More often than not, the eggs that are produced under your roof have more health benefits than that of the eggs you get at farmers’ markets. This has to do with the fact that you know what your chicken is ingesting for it to produce an egg.

Wes Alcott, the owner of Kruse Feed & Supply in La Habra has a more informed view of the health benefits of at-home-produced eggs.

“Having backyard chickens is a great way to learn about where your food comes from. Knowing that fresh ingredients that are hormone and antibiotic-free went into the production of the eggs you eat is a big reason why people decide to do backyard chickens. In addition, many people believe that if they feed their chickens a diet free from soy and wheat, it will help with their soy or gluten allergies when eating the eggs. It is for that reason that we sell a lot of organic feed to people with backyard chickens,” Alcott said.

However, some people have chickens more as pets than as a resource for their home. It could be because their hens are getting to the age where they can’t produce eggs anymore or are producing fewer and fewer eggs, as time goes on.

Junior Sarah Moreno, chicken owner, talks about her own experience with her chickens as they have gotten older.

“We initially had them for fun and just as some pets, but once they started having eggs, we decided to keep them since they now served a purpose. However, since they are pretty old now, they don’t provide as many eggs, but we still have them because, in some way, they are still family,” Moreno said.

Additionally, having chickens as pets isn’t as bad as some might think. They tend to be quite interesting pets when you observe and spend time with them. If anything, chickens are like humans; they all have different personalities and act differently from one another.

Georgia Jones, former 4-H instructor and chicken owner, brings up certain personality traits some chickens might have.

“It depends on the variety and the breed sometimes. Some roosters can be mean and peck you, and some are curious. Some are crappy and want to be the queen of the coop,” Jones said.

On the other hand, owning chickens isn’t for everyone. Backyard chickens need a very secure area for them to roam and keep them safe. Many predators will cause harm to backyard chickens.

Jones shares her concern about protecting chickens.

“You need to have a secure place for them because of predators like raccoons. They need to be protected,” she said.

Due to the large amount of space, you will have to worry about the chickens leaving their feces all over the place. Not only will you have to clean it all up, but if you leave it without cleaning up, it will start to give off a very strong odor.

Moreno warns others that what goes in must come out.

“Be careful with the poop,” Moreno said.

Not only that, but owning a chicken is equal to that of owning a dog, cat, or fish. They all require commitment. You can’t own a chicken and not take care of it and then expect them to lay eggs.

Chickens need to be cared for because without the proper care, they won’t lay eggs. For some people, it would be much simpler for them to just buy eggs at the farmer’s market than to take care of a chicken.

In the end, chickens can make wonderful pets, but only for those who can care for them and give them the attention they need. Although if you can have chickens, maybe consider owning one. It’s a two-in-one deal, you get fresh eggs and a new member of the family.

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About the Contributor
Alessandra Arroyo
Alessandra Arroyo, A&E Editor
I don’t like carrots, I have a pet cat called Opal, and I love both Jack Stauber and Avenged Sevenfold.