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Chickens are poultry normally kept on farms for the agricultural production of meat and eggs, but a minority of chickens are kept as pets. Keeping chickens as pets has increased in popularity,[1] especially among urban and suburban residents.[2] Some people find chickens' behavior entertaining and educational,[3] in addition to the homegrown eggs and meat they may provide.


Chickens are sometimes kept as pets and can be tamed by hand feeding, but roosters can sometimes become aggressive and noisy. Some have advised against keeping them around very young children. Although certain breeds, such as silkies and many bantam varieties are generally docile and are often recommended as good pets around children.[4] While some cities in the United States allow chickens as pets, the practice is not approved in all localities. Some communities ban only roosters, allowing the quieter hens.

The so-called "urban hen movement" harks back to the days when chicken keeping was much more common, and involves the keeping of small groups of hens in areas where they may not be expected, such as closely populated cities and suburban areas. City ordinances, zoning regulations or health boards may determine whether chickens may be kept. [5] A general requirement is that the birds be confined to the owner's property, not allowed to roam freely. There may be strictures on the size of the property or how far from human dwellings a coop may be located, etc. [6]


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A chicken coop is a housing where chickens are kept. Interiors usually have nest boxes for egg laying and also perches for the birds to sleep on. Backyard coops are smaller coops often surrounded by a fence (sometimes made with chicken wire) to allow the chickens an area to roam, peck, and hunt insects, while contained. Sometimes this type of "yarding" is mobile, and takes the form of chicken tractors. While other chickens are kept free range, where the chickens sleep in coops but roam the backyard during the day.

Many people, especially in rural areas, keep a small flock of chickens to provide themselves with eggs and meat, as sustenance livestock, rather than wholly commercial benefit. A growing number of people keep chickens in urban environments as well. This has led to an increase in chicken coops such as the Eglu, which are designed for urban environments with less space, and less of a utilitarian style.

Show chickensEdit

Just as with dogs, horses, and other animals, many people show their chickens, both large fowl and bantams. Chicken shows can be found at county fairs, which are not sanctioned by any national organization, or at sanctioned shows hosted by regional poultry clubs. The two main organizations which sanction poultry shows are the American Poultry Association and the American Bantam Association. These umbrella organizations also work hand in hand with various poultry breed clubs, which allow people who have an interest in specific breeds of chickens to work together. Some of the larger chicken shows may have as many as 4,000 or more birds entered.

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