Official BYC POLL: Chicken Keeping - Easier, same or harder than dogs/cats?

How did/do find chicken keeping compared to keeping dogs/cats?

  • Easier than keeping dogs

    Votes: 104 59.4%
  • Harder than keeping dogs

    Votes: 29 16.6%
  • Same as keeping dogs

    Votes: 27 15.4%
  • Easier than keeping cats

    Votes: 37 21.1%
  • Harder than keeping cats

    Votes: 51 29.1%
  • Same as keeping cats

    Votes: 43 24.6%

  • Total voters


Staff member
Premium member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
Tipperary, Ireland
Many of us keep dogs, or cats and many have kept one or both before we took the plunge and started keeping chickens. We're curious to hear how you all think chicken keeping compares to keeping dogs or cats.

Please cast your vote in the poll options above and share your thoughts in reply to this thread :pop


Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
California's Redwood Coast
I voted easier than keeping dogs. But I guess that is presuming all are healthy. And it would also depend on individual situations. The main reason for the vote of easier is because they aren't as emotionally dependent and they don't pine away staring at the door or out the window when you leave.

That being said, I think it can be equally as challenging just in different ways.

Should be fun to see the responses and should also be helpful for people who might still be on the fence about keeping chickens. :thumbsup


Easily distracted by Chickens
Jun 3, 2016
Lewiston NY
We have 5 dogs and 2 cats (which were expecting a litter from one) and i'd have to say chickens are slightly easier to raise then dogs. But all we need to do if feed our barn cats and they'll go off on their own. Unlike my dogs my chickens actually need to go for the night and all i have to do is lock em' up meanwhile I have to bribe my dogs with treats to get in their cages for the night. Another thing is my chickens are much friendlier then my dogs (Towards other animals) I think we all had a dog that killed at least one of our chickens before. :th My dogs can't stand my turkeys, ducks, guineas, or chickens!
so we're planing on getting rid of some dogs.. Oh speaking of that anyone want some jack Russells..? only 75$ each! :plbb



Jun 23, 2016
Hixson, TN
I think once you have a secure coop and housing situation for the chickens, then they're easier to care for than dogs. Trying to make sure they are safe from predators was my biggest problem, as dogs aren't as fragile and not everything in my backyard wants to murder and eat my dogs.

When I went out of town for the weekend recently, I had to move someone into my house to take care of the 5 dogs but set up the chickens so they were good on their own for 3 days. The chickens can handle you not playing with them for a bit as long as they've got food/water/shelter, but the dogs require someone to feed them, give them their supplements, let the indoor dogs in/out which usually requires someone to spend the night there, etc. The house sitter did throw some treats in for the spoiled chicken brats, but since she was afraid they might get loose/hurt if she opened up the coop, she didn't have to deal with them since I got them set up properly beforehand.


Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
California's Redwood Coast
I think we all had a dog that killed at least one of our chickens before.
Nope, not YET in 7 years.

Jack russels are probably a difficult breed to keep with chickens. But my dogs come first and if I couldn't keep my birds safe, they would be the ones to go. My dogs WOULD lay down their life for me. They are not disposable and were here first. But I know we all have different experiences and expectations.

Good luck finding new homes for your fur babies! :love :fl


yep, still winter
Staff member
Premium member
6 Years
Dec 12, 2013
I think chickens are about the same to raise as cats and cats are easier to raise than dogs (had several of both dogs & cats). Although, I do wish the chickens were litter box trained and the cats didn't shed fur! :)

It seems to me dogs are needier for human companionship while cats & chickens seem to be more self-reliant. With the crazy schedules DH & I work, we don't have the time a dog would need and deserve.

All animals have their pros and cons (just like all people). Love all 3 of them, but for now I settle for 3 cats and 5 chickens.


6 Years
Mar 12, 2013
New Jersey
The thing about keeping chickens is that they are SO easy to keep! I got my first flock when I was 19 and about 5 months after, I went away to college. My father - who didn't have much experience in keeping anything - looked after my hens with ease! As long as there is available food and water, the birds pretty much go on cruise control.

I usually checked on the birds 3-4 times a day when I was home, but that was more for my sanity than theirs. Chickens are hardy and much more adept to caring for themselves than people get credit for. In comparison, a dog is SO much work. Dogs require a lot of attention and veterinary expenses. While they are man's best friend, they are probably the closest commitment to having a kid, and you really have to plan your schedule around them (can't leave the house all day if you have a dog!).

Read a few articles, talk to a local Backyard Chicken keeper, and have faith! Anybody can keep chickens, and the more work you put into your coop/birds, the better off they'll be. As of care though, they are not an animal that needs constant looking after, so you'll maintain your freedoms without worry!

Hope this helps!


Wattle Fondler
May 23, 2017
Greenville S.C, formerly Noneya U.S.A
Way easier than keeping dogs,don't have to worry about the chickens chewing up stuff, attacking anyone, or marking territory everywhere. Harder than cats, cat is pretty much self running. I fill bowls, dispose of poops and the cat is good. Chickens, got to fill bowls, lock them up and let them out occasionally got to deal with a chicken issue mites,an injury maybe a squabble .:)


Aug 2, 2016
Geneva, Ohio (northeast of Cleveland)
I'd say that chickens are about the same level of work as our newly acquired kittens.

We have two Yorkshire terriers but they use pee pads so we don't have to worry (too much) about accidents when we use a farm-sitter.

Ducks on the other hand, require a lot of water even in the winter so I think they are more work than chickens, our Yorkies, or our kittens. But I love them soooo much!!!! :love Totally worth it.

However, no one is as much work as the stupid guineas! Every. Single. Night. my poor husband has to climb up on the coop-camper and "persuade" them to get down and sleep in the coop instead of on the camper roof. No way a farm-sitter would do that! If it weren't for the fact that the turkeys destined for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners also join the guineas, I'd just let the stupid things take their chances. (There's an electric fence around the whole thing plus a Maremma livestock guardian dog who takes his job very seriously so it's not they'd be completely doomed.)

Of course, even all combined, none of them are as much work as kids would be so I'll stick with my critters. ;)

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
Chickens are low maintenance in that they are outdoors. They don't shed on the carpets. But, they require daily maintenance, as well as protection from predators. I could leave a cat alone in the house and go away for an extended weekend. Can't do so with my birds, even though they have an auto pop door. The flock is too big to be able to leave out enough food, and any food left over night would be an attractant for predators/vermin.

For the small back yard flock in a secure run/coop, leaving them for an extended time would bring the ease of care more in line with managing a cat. But, cat's don't lay eggs, and cat's don't make good compost, and cats don't eat the yard bugs, and cats don't manage the garden.
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