More People Turn to Chickens As Pets

COLLEYVILLE - The leaves shiver, the branches quake and 9-year-old Sophia Genco bounds out of the bushes, clucking at the top of her lungs while sprinting after a flock of scurrying chickens.
calendar icon 20 July 2007
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She isn't chasing down dinner. She's just playing with one of the family pets.

The Gencos are among a growing number of urban and suburban families keeping chickens in their backyards. While the birds don't cuddle like kittens or play like puppies, owners say they offer a soothing presence in the yard and an endless supply of organic eggs.

"Nothing calms you more than sitting out in the yard watching your chickens poke around for bugs and carry on conversations with each other," said Carla Allen, who keeps chickens on her ranch in San Marcos.

There are no firm numbers available to illustrate the growth because it's hard to define who's keeping chickens for pets and who's keeping them to eat, said Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Vetere, whose trade group tracks trends in the pet market, said there is evidence to suggest the organic trend is fueling a pet chicken underground, especially in middle America.

Backyard Poultry magazine was resurrected about a year and a half ago after being halted in the 1980s. Readership in the Medford, Wis.-based publication has skyrocketed compared with its publisher's other two animal magazines - sheep! Magazine and Dairy Goat Journal.

Source: Forbes
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