Are Your Chickens Livestock or Pets?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Morrigan, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

    Apr 9, 2014
    N. California
    This seems to be the most fundamental difference that effects how people view their chicken care and deal with things like illnesses, culling and general flock management.

    I got my chickens as livestock, and livestock they remain, although it has at times been a struggle to maintain an objective air, keep my flock strong and productive and make sure I don't go sideways on chicken math. I was raised in the city, and so my only experience with animals was to have them as pets. Having pets is fun and I love it. Raising animals for food is fun too, as well as deeply satisfying. But it's also quite hard at times. All the eggs and chicken I bought living in the city, I honestly never thought about what all went into it.

    I'm not sure there is much of a middle ground. If I start viewing my chickens as quasi-pets, it means I'm making decisions that will eventually leave me with non-productive hens, overcrowding, and not enough eggs to meet my family's needs year around. The one compromise I made when I first got started, was that I allowed myself to pick one chicken who I would name and who I could consider a pet. I lucked out that my pet chicken was (and is) extremely healthy and highly productive, so I've not had to make any compromises in keeping her.

    How to you view your chickens and has your view changed over time? I should add that I don't think there is a right or wrong answer.
  2. Tortoise

    Tortoise Songster

    Aug 19, 2018
    I don't having any chickens yet sadly. In the spring I will and they will be strictly pets. All my animals as a kid and adult, were pets. I have had all common farm animals except a cow. Now have reptiles and always a dog. I could never kill an animal of any kind.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
  3. 2 many chickens

    2 many chickens Songster

    Jan 14, 2017
    I guess outdoor pets you could say. I have named a few... just a few. I love those little ground peckers.
    Mbcox, to BarbsGirls, dunnmom and 8 others like this.
  4. Aceoky

    Aceoky Songster

    Aug 19, 2018
    W. KY
    They're livestock, cute, entertaining yes, but they are livestock . We don't name them, we enjoy them but know their place . We like chicken & eat eggs why not those we raise. Someone has to butcher them for us to eat, we take responsibility in that fact. I don't want to have others do something we are not willing to do ourselves. :thumbsup
  5. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

    May 16, 2015
    Livestock that also entertains us . We eat the eggs of course and sell enough to support this habit :)

    My pets are in the house and I care much more about them , but I have shed a tear or two for my hens .....

    I think I’m on the fence :/
  6. PrettyChickens15

    PrettyChickens15 Songster

    Jan 5, 2018
    DDDDDEEEEFFFinitely pets. I could never kill a chicken :rolleyes:
    named, cuddled loved and enjoyed very much.:D
  7. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    My chickens are livestock but I see them as sentient intelligent beings who should be treated with respect. I like them as individuals.I talk to them. Maybe that does make them pets.....I don't know. They are their own category.
  8. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

    Apr 9, 2014
    N. California
    I think that whether pets or livestock, animals should be treated with respect. I think "livestock" can conjure up visions of feedlots stuffed to capacity with animals being fed the cheapest food possible and being treats as "things" rather than sentient beings. The main reason I wanted my own livestock was to do things differently.
  9. mixedbreeds

    mixedbreeds Songster

    Mine are livestock there is always one or two that I really get a kick out of but in the end they are livestock. I do raise Cornish x for the main meat birds but the others stew up just fine, need to do something with the older layers like you said if not there would be over crowding. I have about 65 layers at the moment and normally do 30 Cornish x for meat every year.
  10. LikeTurkeys

    LikeTurkeys Chirping

    Jul 25, 2018
    Mine are livestock as well, but I have named one. They're nice to be with and have fun with, but well, if their egg production goes down to much, then that means they go to the stew pot. Birds that I raise for meat only I haven't named at all yet, I'm too worried that I'll be heartbroken when I slaughter them.

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