7 Reasons Why You Should Not Get Chickens

7 Reasons Why You Should Not Get Chickens

Many people get chickens thinking they are cute, easy to look after and do not require a great deal of maintenance.

After all, how much upkeep can a chicken require?

Unfortunately, this rosy outlook puts a lot of chickens into shelters, on the streets or killed because they did not meet the owners’ expectations.

If you are looking at getting chickens but are not 100% sure, then this article is for you.

We have compiled a list of all the reasons to not keep chickens. We don’t want to deter you from keeping these beautiful creatures, but for the best interests of you and the bird we are going to take a real world look at keeping chickens.

Chickens Can Be Expensive

Whilst the average chick will set you back about $3-5 per bird, there are plenty of additional expenses to keeping chickens.

The biggest will likely be your coop.

If you are handy and can build from scraps, a sturdy coop will set you back less than around $100.

DIY Chicken Coop
A simple DIY chicken coop

It’s also possible to re-purpose a garden shed or small outbuilding too.

To buy a ready-made coop for a few hens will cost you upwards of a few hundred dollars, depending on what you want. Often, the advertising of these coops are optimistic- to say the least! A large hen such as a Rhode Island Red, requires about 4 square feet of per chicken. So, if you bought a coop that says it will house six hens, it probably will house four comfortably.

Another hefty expense can be your equipment: feeders and drinkers in particular.

These don’t have to be expensive and there are plenty of homemade or re-purposed chicken feeder and drinkers. If you decide on secondhand, make sure they are well cleaned and disinfected before you use them with your flock.

And finally, a sometimes forgotten recurring cost is feed- depending on how many chickens you have will determine how much feed you use. I have 30 chickens and they eat about 50lb every two weeks, so roughly $6 a week.

To help you figure out the cost of feed, an average hen will eat between ½ – 1 cup of feed/day.

Other items your chickens will need are grit, oyster shell, vitamins/electrolytes, dusting powder and any toys you may buy them.

The ‘Ewww’ Factor

Chickens can get lice and mites, not to mention intestinal worms and other icky parasites. Are you up to dealing with these?

Truthfully, in five years I have dusted my birds only a handful of times since they have had few lice. They dust bath themselves regularly, so keep the parasites in check for themselves.

Homemade Chicken Dust Bath

I have however trimmed ‘poopy’ feathers from around the vents- this is not for those who have a delicate constitution and it needs to be done to prevent maggot infestation in the summer.

The hens’ usually sit quietly for me, but I have a few that are convinced I’m going to kill them, so it becomes a struggle to see who wins out!

A note on dust bathing- chickens need somewhere they can dust. We have shown you how to make a simple dust bath in a previous article. However, they will still make your garden look like it has survived a bomb blast. They love to make several small depressions in the garden for their own personal spa!

Chicken Scratching Area
A poor garden which the chickens have ‘scratched’.

They Need Some of Your Time

Once you have your birds’ set-up and running smoothly, they will actually only require about half an hour or so of your time each day.

However, to get to know your hens well, spend as much time as you can with them whilst they are still young. The rewards are tamer chickens and the ability to spot trouble early and treat accordingly and of course, free psychotherapy!

The coop needs cleaning regularly to keep it and your birds clean and healthy.

The summer months especially need your regular attention. Dirty, uncared for coops can lead to disease and death of your birds, possible rodent infestation- not to mention flies!

To give you an idea of coop cleaning, here is my schedule for an eight by twelve foot coop:

The coop and surrounding area is cleaned thoroughly two times a year- fall and spring. I use a spray of vinegar and water to clean the walls and surfaces, a shop-vac to remove dust and cobwebs etc. All used bedding is removed and disposed of to the compost. Replace with new bedding etc.

Once the ‘spring clean’ is done, I remove the poop and soiled straw at least every other day in summer, this helps to keep the coop from smelling.

If you have a small mobile coop such as a tractor type, obviously the time you need to clean thoroughly will be considerably less.

Chicken Zoning in Your Area

Depending on where you live you are likely to be zoned for noise, nuisance, sanitation etc.  Many towns and cities are slowly relaxing laws on keeping chickens due to public demand.

However, roosters are usually a ‘no-no’ in urban areas.

Rhode Island Red Rooster
You won’t be allowed to keep this rooster in most places!

The big concern most neighbors voice is rodents. Where there is food there will be mice or rats. If you keep your feed stored securely, there really should not be a problem, but keep your eyes open.

Using a metal container is best, but a plastic tote bin works well also. Make sure you check the plastic bin frequently for any sign of gnawing on the plastic- rodents can be very determined!

How Is Your Health?

If you suffer from allergies or respiratory problems, you must think very seriously about keeping birds- chickens or otherwise.

The dander and dust created by birds is an allergen and it can occasionally causes reactions in people.

Many people raise chicks inside their house until they are big enough to go outside- the amount of dust created is huge and anyone suffering from asthma or similar ailments will be highly stressed.

If the allergy is mild and you want chickens anyway, a facemask will help to keep the dust from bothering you.

Do You Have a Backup Plan?

Having pets or livestock is a big undertaking. You should always discuss it with your family.

What will happen if you are unable to take care of your birds for a few days? Will a family member take over- or will the birds be left alone?

If you don’t have a back-up plan for the welfare of your birds, think carefully now about what will happen to the birds in an emergency. They are living, breathing creatures that depend upon you to care for them.

Many families make chicken keeping a 4H activity which teaches children about keeping and caring for livestock. It’s a great educational experience and may be the best route to decide whether or not keeping chickens is for you.

If you have a dog in the family it could be a problem. Dogs love to chase things and chickens are no exception. You have to train your dog to accept the birds and leave them alone or fence the birds in well so the dog cannot access them.

Hens Stop You Going On Vacations

If you regularly go on vacation you need to check that your usual pet-sitter is ok with chickens.

Some people are terrified of birds- this would be good to know before the vacation starts!

Chicken sitting is a bit different to regular pet-sitting. They have to be let out in the early morning, fed and watered, eggs collected and in the evening they need to be securely locked in.

Collecting Eggs

Your ‘sitter’ must be diligent about this otherwise you may come home to find the local fox had chicken for dinner…

A friend recently went on vacation and came home to find the chickens had not been fed for a couple of days, eggs had not been collected and she now had four broody hens!

They Lay Lots of Eggs

Hopefully, this is one of the reasons you are considering adding chickens to your home, but if you aren’t ready to collect eggs, eat them, sell them, or give them away on a regular basis then take a hard pass on chickens.

Most hens lay about an egg a day, and if you don’t plan on collecting them, they will end up all over the coop, dirty and cracked.

Additionally, uncollected eggs are a magnet for predators and rodents, especially in the winter. Raccoons, snakes, and even barn cats love to eat eggs, and if they’ve found their own egg factory, guess where they will be setting up shop?

So, if you decide to get chickens, make sure you have a daily plan to collect the eggs, and a place to put them. Whether that’s in your own tummy or your neighbors; someone will appreciate them.


We have given you much to think about here. Caring for chickens is usually pretty straight forward, but you must be prepared!

If you’ve read this and aren’t deterred, the best advice we can give is start small with a few hens and read this advice from 47 chicken keepers.

Some people ‘collect’ hens because they have pretty feathers or lay blue eggs. Decide what you want and stick with it.

Many online hatcheries will supply you with small order numbers and can give you one each of what you want.

So, as always- do your homework and decide what’s right for you.

For those of you who have decided to get some chickens- welcome to the world of crazy chicken people!

If you already have chickens, let us know in the comments below advice for new chicken keepers…

Read Treats That Will Make Your Hens Lay More Eggs

Chicken Raising Book

  • How to choose the perfect breed of chicken for you- including our top 5 beginner picks.
  • What to feed them for optimal health and egg laying, including if you’re on a tight budget.
  • From bringing your chicks home for the first time to putting eggs on the table, we’ve got it all covered.

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  1. Lisa Steele says

    Great points for people to consider. I do think that sometimes they jump in without thinking things through. Chickens do change your life. Mostly for the better, but they do make going on vacation or even out for the evening a bit more challenging. But still, I think the benefits outweigh any hardship!

      • madison smith says

        well i have chickens and even thought there are some bad factors there are way better ones like you get fresh eggs that haven’t had any antibiotics or medicine in them. you also get free fertilizer, and they rid your yard of weeds and ticks and mosquitoes..

  2. Anita Shelby says

    Make your hen house and coop AT LEAST twice the size you think you need. Chickens are addicting! and then you don’t have to build another one when you find the next perfect chick after another…

      • Alex Belles says

        I disagree. If you have a hen with a problem that you aren’t comfortable dealing with, you might want to see a professional. When getting chickens, it’s a good idea to have a number to call in an emergency.

        • Fluffyhead says

          Why get an expensive vet for the sake of a sick chicken (most people kill them for meat anyway) a lot of people raise chickens for economic reasons, how many butchered chickens could you buy from a supermarket for price of the vet bill? Or how much feed could you buy? Unless the chicken is a prized breed or a pet then it’s not viable.

  3. Natasha says

    Hi if you are out of an evening and can’t get back to put the hens to bed so to speak, are they ok to put themselves to bed if they are left in the joint coop/run for the day?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      They will find their way on their own and should be completely fine. They just cant close the door 🙂


  4. jacob says

    hello i have chinkens to i have 7 of them 5 hens and one boy i had ten but they keep dieing on me i was thinking of the cold if any boudy has a quit about it that will be nice or you can call me at 608 404 0238 thank agian

  5. Laura Waldbart says

    In our area(Lake County Illinois) there is an enterprising business. It is called Urban Chicken Rentals. They bring you everything you need (coop, feed, bedding, run and some chickens!) This way you get to try before you buy to see if you want to get into chicken keeping.

  6. Peter Goble says

    If you want to keep chickens bear in mind that cleaning out the urine and poop stained bedding regularly is an unsavoury job. It’s useful to wear a waxed full length apron and a pair of sturdy rubber gloves to transfer the soiled litter to you compost heap, and you’ll need a composter too. Otherwise the hens will spread the stuff far and wide, and with great glee and enthusiasm.

  7. sonya mayer says

    I have 3 hens, i plan on getting 6 more chicks this Spring. When the pullets are old enough to be incorporated into the big girl coop, what’s the best way to keep them out of the big girls layer feed, since they will still need to be on grower feed for awhile?

  8. K.B. says

    Natasha, Tara, & Jacob:
    (Tara) Mostly you need to check your area you live in. We are lucky because it is rural but not “too” country. Meaning there are lots of farm areas, but we live in a normal neighborhood so we never see raccoons, foxes, weasels, really only crows & squirrels. ( Natasha) Our two coops, two big hens in one, and two smaller in the other, to keep the peace, let themselves out in the am & put themselves to bed when it starts to get dark.
    (Jacob) As far as the cold goes, in Calif. it does get wet, foggy, and pretty damn cold at night, not like N.Y. where we’re from, but I always worry about any pet being cold so my wife and I bought a heater for each coop off Amazon, looks like a black plastic computer screen, with a hi/low switch, so the ladies stay nice and warm all winter. They are stupid cheap and give us peace of mind knowing no one is suffering. No matter who or what you are, being freezing cold is horrible and if all it costs is a few bucks and a little electricity, well I sleep better at night too! KB

  9. K B. says

    I forgot to mention, save up and buy a good solid coop the first time. It will stay warmer, and last longer and you won’t have to replace it as soon. We bought (6) 4-ft x 4-ft sections of picket fence and put a coop on each side of our far backyard, and used the fence to make a large circle with the coops as part of it. That way, they have a huge community courtyard and they all play, scratch, and interact during the day, and at night they separate, pair up, and go to bed. That way the big ones don’t take over the coop and make the little ones sleep outside on the perch in the cold like they used to, drove me crazy! Took some doing, to let the big ones know they didn’t have two coops. We did it by wiring the big entrance door slightly open on one coop, enough for the little guys to fit in, but not enough for the big ones, and chasing the bigger ones off when they got near. It took awhile, but worked, and eventually solved the problem and they love it.

  10. Chicken keeper says

    There are definitely way more good than bad I’m only 16 and I take care 30 chickens completely by myself and it’s a great deal of fun. They end up being more than just a chicken they become part of your family. My chickens have made a great impression on my life and yea it revolves around them but it’s amazing

  11. Kim says

    I’m still on the fence. I live in northern Utah where the winters are cold. And I’m worried about committing to having to go out in the snow every day to take care of them. I’m also worried about the smell. I’d only be able to get 3, 4 at THE MOST. Any advice?

  12. Emma says

    I have four questions. How much maintenance do chickens need? How bigger coop do three batnams need? We have a dog who barks a lot will this scare the chickens? And finally do batnams get picked up by birds and if so which ones?

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