Thinking about keeping chickens indoors? You might want to read through the dangers of keeping chicken chickens in your house before you make a decision!
First of all, I want to point out that I am a backyard chicken enthusiast and I love chickens - as I’m sure most of you reading this do too.
Most of the articles on this topic I was able to find are written by people who do not raise or understand chickens, or just think they are dirty animals without really knowing what it’s like to keep chickens.
I’m still taking an unbiased stance and running through all the possible downsides though. As much as I love chickens, there are some serious drawbacks to letting chickens into your home as I will be explaining!
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Is It Safe to Keep Chickens in Your House?
It can be safe to keep chickens in your house if you take all of the necessary precautions, yes.
You do have to be prepared for your chickens to make some mess though. As much fun as chickens are, and as much as you may see them as house pets, they’re still wild birds.
Here are the main ‘dangers’, risks, and problems you’ll encounter if you give your chickens the freedom to roam inside your home:
The Risk of Harmful Bacteria
I'm going to be blunt with this first point; chickens can carry some pretty nasty bacteria and diseases.
The risk of coming into contact with these diseases yourself is pretty low when chickens are kept outdoors and you practice good biosecurity measures.
When they're allowed to roam indoors, however, and come into contact with things that you're going to be touching, the risk is a lot higher.
Chickens can be carrying this bacteria without showing any symptoms and it’s easily passed along to us.
The symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, and it’s incredibly unpleasant, to say the least!
Chickens Poop a Lot
Chickens poop a lot, they really do. You can read this post to find out more about how often they poop on average.
It's almost completely necessary to put a diaper on your chicken (more on that below). Otherwise, you're going to spend a lot of time cleaning up chicken poop which really isn't a fun job.
It's not just about the mess or cleaning up, chicken poop can be toxic to humans and other animals and is one of the ways harmful bacteria spreads so quickly.
Chickens Can Cause a Lot of Damage
If you have an immaculate home and care about your decor and furniture, you're going to have to monitor chickens closer than a small kid when they're indoors.
Then There’s the Mess...
Yeah, chickens can be pretty messy. Just take a look inside their coop or run, they don't exactly pick up after themselves, do they?
Take it from me, things might be going well...until something spooks one of your chickens and they start flapping around furiously.
You will see dander, debris, loose feathers, and all sorts filling the air - even that can be quite the clean-up job afterward.
Chickens are meant to be outdoors where they can forage, poop, flap around, and make all the mess they want. If you bring them indoors, expect to bring that indoors with them!
Should Indoor Chickens Wear Chicken Diapers?
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as chicken diapers (or chicken nappies in the EU) and it's not that uncommon for people to put diapers on their chickens if they let them roam indoors.
If you don’t, your chickens are going to poop in your house. So, I know what I’d do.
All you have to do is strap the diaper onto your chicken, and it will do what a diaper does - collect all that chicken poop to protect your home.
Here is an example of what I'm talking about, some chicken diapers available on Amazon:
As you can see, they simply attach with some velcro strips and are good to go.
The good news is that chickens aren't like cats or dogs, they don't seem to be too bothered when you attach something to them.
In fact, from talking to a number of owners who have used chicken diapers, they say that their hens don't really seem to notice that they're wearing one.
Trust me, it’s a much better option than cleaning up chicken poop!
Related - Will chickens freeze to death outdoors?
Can You Get Sick From Having Chickens in Your House?
Yes, you absolutely can get sick from having chickens in your house.
The risk of them spreading disease is pretty high. Salmonella is the main concern, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are pretty adamant people shouldn't allow chickens indoors for this reason.
Salmonella germs can spread to any surfaces chickens come into contact with and live there for hours.
Unless washed and disinfected properly, those germs will then transfer to you or whatever else comes into contact with them.
Is Chicken Poop Toxic to Humans?
Let's be honest, seeing chicken poop - or any poop for that matter - in the home is pretty gross.
It absolutely can be toxic to humans and other household pets, yes, and is capable of spreading a number of diseases.
Chickens poop far too frequently and it's incredibly difficult to reliably potty train, which is why people put diapers on them when they allow them into their home.
They are not trainable house pets. No matter how much you love your chickens and want to spend time with them, you have to keep this in mind.
Which Breeds Of Chickens Are Good for Indoor Pets?
There are some breeds of chickens that are better than others to allow indoors.
Bantams, in particular, are much better than regular chickens as they're a lot smaller. Smaller chickens mean less mess!
However, if I had to name a breed that was the best for indoors, I'd have to say Silkies.
Silkies have soft, fuzzy fur, they're small and have calm and friendly personalities. They're the closest thing to an indoor pet that you're going to find with backyard chickens.
If you want to find out more about Silkies as well as where you can buy them, I recommend checking out these posts:
It's really up to you if you want to keep or allow chickens to come into your home. I know a number of people that have their doors open and let their chickens roam in and out freely without any problems.
As long as you are aware of the dangers and risks, which you now should be, you can practice proper safety and biosecurity measures to keep yourself, your family, and other pets as safe as possible.
Image credits - Photo by Jang Raw on Unsplash