CHICKENS ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY POPULAR AS DOMESTIC PETS THAT SUPPLY TRULY FREE-RANGE EGGS AND ARE EMERGING AS A COSMOPOLITAN ALTERNATIVE TO THE USUAL DOG OR CAT!
So what has triggered this new boom in ownership, where it is estimated that there are some 500,000 homes keeping chickens as pets.
Certainly the influence of TV chefs like Gordon Ramsey, who himself keeps quite a flock, has contributed. So too welfare documentaries and campaigns led by Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fernley Whittingstall, who are active campaigners and keep chickens themselves has added to the momentum.
Then there's a cultural trend towards a 'Good Life' for the new Millennium where keeping chickens as productive pets fits in very well.
But it's not just about the eggs! Because with care and patience they can become friendly and entertaining too, being relatively easy to tame through a feeding and reward system that may eventually allow you to both hand feed and even stroke them.
Chickens also make great pets if you have young children - not only are they fun and quirky, they also represent part of the natural food cycle, so can provide responsibility, education and a closeness to nature for all the family.
Free range eggs have been shown to contain two / three times more beta-carotene than factory eggs; four times more omega
3 fatty acid and twice as much vitamin A. Cholesterol in the free range egg
is tested to be half the factory
(Mother Earth News magazine).