6 Tell Tale Signs Your Chickens Went From Food to Pets

Some people get chickens because they solely want them for pets. Some people get them because they’re actual farmers. And then you have some people like me who think they’re farmers and then get attached to their chickens.

The reality of owning laying chickens is this: They lay for a couple years and then their egg production drops dramatically. At that point (or actually, before you even purchase your first chickens) you make the decision to make them stew hens or keep them as pets without any eggs.

What would you choose?

Scott and I decided we were going to make them stew hens after their egg production dropped but in the mere 7 months we’ve been chicken owners, our flock of mixed breed chickens went from “food” to “pets.”

The crazy part is that it just sorta creeps up on you.

When raising them from chicks, you don’t allow yourself to be mesmerized by their cute peeps and fluffiness because you are a farmer. You take care of them in the most loving way but you don’t hold them for long periods of times and make them into pets. Once they’re old enough to be outside in the coop, you make sure they are properly cared for but you don’t spend too much time so you don’t risk getting attached. Remember? You’re a farmer!

Then it seems like time slllooowwwllllyyy goes by as you anxiously wait for the first egg. During that time, you enjoy being in their company, seeing them run to the coop door as they see you walking up to the coop, and you learn each of their unique clucks and bakawwks and find yourself talking to them.

Then all of a sudden… BAM. Your farmer heart turned mushy and you find yourself saying “love” and chickens” in the same sentence. You wonder, how such little creatures make your heart feel mushy like chicken poo? You now ‘get’ how cute fluffy chicken butts are and know what an egg song is.

Does this sound familiar to you? Are you on the same road I am? If you’re still trying to figure it out, here are 6 tell tale signs your chickens went from food to pets.

1. You hand pick weeds for them because you feel bad they don’t free-range

And then you go to your in-laws house and fill two grocery bags full of your ladies’ favorite weeds that you hand picked. You do it because they’ve literally made their coop and a run a deserted sand pit and you can’t bear the thought of them not having any greens.

2. You buy them Chubby mealworms because you feel bad they’ve virtually demolished any living creature in their coop

You first considered raising your own mealworms but the idea of having to sift through different stages of meal worms with your own hands made you get the heebee jeebees. You then search for better options and come across Chubby Mealworms, a reputable business that does all the hard work for you. You love Chubby Mealworms because 1) They strive for quality mealworms, 2) They have free ground shipping and ship within one business day, and 3) Their customer reviews speak volumes!

You obviously want the best for your girls so going with Chubby Mealworms is the best option in your eyes. No having to sift through creepy crawlies but your ladies still get the treats they deserve.

And p.s. Who ever thought you’d be searching online for mealworms!?

3. You make them a chicken swing to help their boredom

You’re convinced your chickens are bored. You transform yourself into Mrs. Bunyan for a day and saw down a small tree (manually) to make a swing with the help of your husband (get the tutorial here). Even if they aren’t bored, it makes you feel better knowing there is something in there to keep them entertained.

Plus, who doesn’t want to see a chicken swing?

4. You know their unique clucks, egg songs, and personalities

Although you refuse to name them because you are a ‘farmer,’ you do know each and every one of your chicken’s unique noises. If people come over and check out your chickens, you automatically find yourself giving them the lowdown on each chicken and “who” they are.

AKA this means you spend a little more time in the coop then you’d like to admit.

5. You all of a sudden have a thing for fluffy butts and consider yourself “a Chicken Lady”

Who knew fluffy butts would get you so excited?

Bring on the fluffiness — the fluffier, the better! You also feel like you’re automatically in cahoots with anyone that owns chickens. They get it. You get it. Y’all are just the crazy chicken people together and you’re 100% okay with that.

6. You’re in denial

You keep telling yourself that when the time comes, your ladies will be stew meat. Or maybe, you’ll keep this first flock and the rest of the girls you bring on later will only be for food. You tell people your plan of each year purchasing more chicks so your egg production will never miss a beat which means in order to make more room for new chicks, the old ones will have to go.

You’ll probably bawl your eyes out when it’s time. If that time comes. But it will, because you’re a farmer and that’s the “plan,” right?

So, tell me, how did YOU know your chickens went from “food” to “pets?” Or were they pets or food from the beginning?

This post is sponsored by Chubby MealwormsHowever, the opinions and photos are of my own. Authenticity is important so I would never promote any brand or product that I wholeheartedly don’t believe in.

Similar Posts


  1. Our ladies started out as solely egg layers. Having five children at home, my ladies had names before they were even home from the store. It’s been three years. They forage on my half acre, and my neighbor next door, and the one across the street… they will not go in a pot. I know. When one died last summet, my kids buried it, next to the cat.

    1. My son named all of our chickens after Mickey Mouse characters and the coop was the clubhouse. Hehe, but I don’t use the names so he doesn’t really use them either.

      It truly is amazing how loving chickens can be and how much you can love them! Who knew?

  2. We have 30 chickens. 11 barred rocks, 9 black australops, and 10 buff orpingtons. We have named 2 of them. Karl is a buff and Kevin is a barred rock, yes they are both hens! Now which buff or which rock I’m not sure, whichever is friendlier that day I guess! The australops are a little more standoffish. We will eat them. The kids and myself will be upset about it but it will happen. We will get more and repeat the process. It will be a hard lesson but it will happen.

    1. I have a feeling we will be eating ours except for a select few. Not sure if I can be the one to kill them but my husband is willing to take on that role. I do feel like it is necessary to have full respect for our food and where it comes from to at least be a part of the culling somehow.

      1. T had five chickens and raised them from chicks. first they were in my spare bathroom and graduated to a coop I made in my shed. I had to hand carry them in and out and they would run to the gate when I came home/ They escaped to my deck and I had chick poo all over. I never had chicken greet me before.
        Two of them would sit on my lap and fall asleep. I gave them to a friend who had a bigger yard for them and she called all excited saying, ‘Your chickens don’t know how to be chickens.” they didn’t go to roost on their own because I always hand carried them. lol lol lol

        I enjoyed your article. I wasn’t going to eat my girls either.

  3. We had “lap chickens”. I could sit on a chair inside the coop and they would come sit in my lap for treats. I think they ate better than we did most days LOL! My parents still have one of the hens, Hattie Mae. She is now 13 years old and spoiled rotten.

    1. We took on 2 chickens and one of them was definitely a lap chicken. I didn’t allow myself to get attached so she’s no longer a lap chicken. However, she did turn out to be the most annoying of them all so she may very well end up in the pot!

  4. My husband and I moved back to Michigan four years ago after “experimenting” with Phoenix, Arizona. Nuff said on trying to put country folk in an urban environment. Shortly after coming back “home” we heard of a distant neighbor who was going to “cull” (read murder) her mixed breed flock in order to sell Silkies. We contacted the family and said we would take them, sight unseen. We (well, I) didn’t even haggle about the price which was $100 for four senior hens and a head rooster and his two semi-adult sons. We lost Henny within a month to a raccoon that got into the pen. Within the next three days we exterminated NINE raccoons that kept coming back. (Did I say we live out in the middle of nowhere in the Manistee National Forest)?. Then this last Spring we lost Miss Betty, our white Cochin, who died in our bedroom of old age (She was over ten years old). She was buried with ceremony in a spot overlooking the chicken run. Interesting, every single member of the flock came to watch and were very silent during the funeral. Don’t tell us chickens are stupid.

    To edit this story we now 38 chickens. Our last chicks were born in late August to Charity. We had tried to break her of brooding and she “ran away”, hiding where we couldn’t find her. She came back just before Labor Day with eleven beautiful babies about the size of a fifty cent piece. Three weeks later we heard an awful noise and saw a hawk take one of the babies. Charity went for the hawk and gave her life to protect her children. We have been raising the remaining chicks for her and hopefully keeping her memory alive. And yes, Charity is buried next to Miss Betty.

    Our friends think we are crazy because none of our flock will be eaten. Our senior birds (including those original roosters) have had to have some coop adjustments and care concerns because they can’t move around so much anymore but they are still important members of the flock and our family. And no, we don’t even eat chicken at all anymore – even at other’s homes or in restaurants. In fact, the only animal protein I eat is our own eggs. It is amazing how living with animals make you realize they are worthy of living their natural lives out in peace and dignity.

    1. @Bart and Jamie Ritter:
      your story made me teary eyed. Thank goodness for wonderful people like you, who understand that every living being’s life is important, especially to it. A chicken cares no less for its own life that we care for our own. Thank you so much for being such glorious caretakers of other living creatures. I’m considering getting chickens (just for the eggs – like you we don’t eat meat) and you’ve inspired me deeply.

  5. I have already become the “crazy chicken lady” so I loved this post. Ours have definitely become pets, and yes, I have a few hundred chicken pics on my phone.

  6. mine are for food however one of them has taken to sitting in my mothers lap during free range time. i am pretty sure that one will die of old age while sitting on a heating pad. i keep them at my mothers house because they are not allowed at my house.

  7. I used to be a duck person, that is until I bought two chicks hoping to get a rooster for my husband. We got one of each. Roady our Rhode Island Red Rooster had to go! Helen, (named after my mother) our Barred Rock just melted my heart. Chicken Helen used to sing to me and want to be with me all the time when she was younger. I used to take my chicken Helen to see my mother and her roommate Bernice at the Nursing home. They both loved it. My mom was raised on a farm and had chickens. She would just laugh and smile when I would bring her there. Bernice and her late husband used to have a chicken farm years ago. The day my mother died, the Nursing Home called me that night to see if I had left one of my chickens there. A Production Red just showed up. They were going to call the Humane Society and I said ” NO! SHE”S MINE!” My mother sent her to me! We named her Bernice, after my mothers roommate that had also just passed. We have a total of 10 chickens now. We have invested in a new Chicken House that is 10’x12′ with a privacy fence that is 10’x12′. Our girls Gretta, Pearl, Wilma, Bessie, Penny, Lucy, Nugget and Precious are all different breeds and have very unique personalities. Precious is a very old girl, she has curled toenails and pretty much hangs out by herself. We adopted her when a friend was getting rid of her flock. I love to go over and just sit and listen and watch them. I call it therapy! 😉 They love their little treats! I wish I would have gotten chickens years ago! Who would of thought chickens could bring so much joy to my life. I just wish I could have brought mom and Bernice to my Chicken House to enjoy them along side of me before they passed!

  8. I am a city girl through and through but a year ago my husband convinced me to move to the country so we could have property with acreage in hopes of becoming sustainable. We soon inherited 5 chickens from our son’s 4H group. I am so in love with those girls, I find myself making hot oatmeal especially for them on our cold PNW mornings. We got them as chicks last August and they started laying in early February…probably because my husband installed a nice warm heat lamp in their coop, I don’t believe him for one second when he claims that they will be “dinner” someday. They are delightful, entertaining and now a part of our ever growing menagerie and I am proud to say, I just might be a tad bit country.

    1. I love everything about this comment! Thank you for sharing your story. 🙂 It’s funny how chickens can weezle their way into your heart. We just got 4 more chicks and they have already stole my heart!

  9. Just found your blog. Love this post. I have ducks (all rescues and more than my fair share of drakes) in a suburban setting. Most of them are between 6 and 8 years old so the eggs are few and far between but we don’t care. We just love them and they are pets er feathered kids. I actually became a vegetarian after raising ducks.(Not that I EVER ate a duck) For much of the world they are a food source but my goodness they are so smart-they know their names, they greet me with quacks of joy when they see me, some of them snuggle and some of them follow me around nibbling on my pants leg. Glad to hear you decided to ‘adopt’ them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *