75% of respondents confirmed that they did want to take advantage of fresh, free range eggs for the whole family
• New chicken owners researched after lockdown forthrightly claim it was always their intention to have chickens as pets and it is not a ‘fad’.
• Over two-thirds admit they got their hens as pets - a quarter saying they got them as pets for children too
• Three quarters admit they wanted to take advantage of the fresh daily eggs
Following the influx of new chicken keepers during lockdown, it seemed the pandemic had started a new fad as Brits flocked to keep the feathered beauties as pets. Concerns were rife that this was just that – a new fad. But according to research of lockdown’s new chicken keepers, it appears it was always their intention to keep chickens as pets.
A whopping 80% of those who got their first ever chickens between March and August 2020 confirmed they always had the intention to keep chickens as pets and that lockdown gave them the time to prepare for their new arrivals. In fact, two-thirds of the adult respondents admitted the feathered friends were pets for them personally, with a quarter saying they wanted them for their children too.
The research undertaken by ChickenGuard - developers of the world’s most popular automatic coop doors wanted to find out the main motivations of new chicken keepers following press reports that the ‘fad’ had taken off because of the pandemic. Aside from keeping them as friendly pets, 75% of respondents confirmed that they did want to take advantage of fresh, free range eggs for the whole family – just 1 in 10 of those saying it would be a benefit to sell them. It is not going to be long before they have plenty though, as 43% have 2-5 birds, 33% 6-9 birds and a surprising 22% have over 10 chickens clucking around their yards. That is a whole lot of eggs with one egg a day in peak laying conditions.
Ben Braithwaite, creator and founder of ChickenGuard comments: “Following our global research over the last couple of years, we wanted to go that step further than just identifying the rise in chicken owners - which is now up to 1.42m households in the UK – by also asking why homes are keeping them and their motivations. It is not surprising to see that a high percentage wanted to make use of the eggs – your loving pet can provide breakfast for the family every few days. However, during lockdown panic buying led to a real concern that food would be in short supply, so we must take that into account. What is delightful is seeing how many want to keep chickens as pets for them and their children, as they are wonderful creatures.”
The research also identified that new chicken owners appeared to be spurred on by other keepers with 90% knowing someone who have a brood, 50% of which were friends and 19% family members. Most respondents also had other animals too, with 58% having a dog and 43% having a cat – not the typical animals you would expect to be paired with chickens - only 5% had a horse and none had any further farmyard animals - further proving that chickens are becoming urban pets.
Ben continues: “Chickens make great pets for a family and it doesn’t surprise me that such a high number of people already knew someone with a flock. It is very easy to be envious of these entertaining and loving birds, and “flock following” is quite common – especially on urban streets and in villages. It is important that there is plenty of space and the birds are safely secured at night, as they are equally as vulnerable to attacks from predators, such as foxes who roam at night.”
Chickens are diurnal animals and often will naturally flock to the coop as dusk descends and will be patiently waiting for their coop to open at dawn. Having a secured coop and run - in any garden - is vital, even urban yards that may feel secure. Predators are devious and can surprise at their ability to find a way to reach a flock. This can lead to dreaded circumstances, as Ben experienced:
“I was gifted a flock by my mother and through lack of knowledge and experience I lost all of them to a devious fox. It is difficult in the craziness of life to remember to be up to let the girls out, but as nights get longer you may not be home to secure the flock in the coop. I decided there needed to be a simple, convenient solution and I created my first ever automatic coop door. The technology has since continued to advance to provide convenience and confidence for chicken owners all over the world.”
If you would like to learn about keeping chickens, how to best look after them, protecting them from predators and the benefits of keeping chickens with children – lots of information can be found on the website www.chickenguard.co.uk.
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ChickenGuard is a Cambridge-based company that created the innovative automated chicken coop door opener. Their aim is to protect poultry against predators and give chicken owners peace of mind by creating quality products which are handcrafted in the UK and providing unequalled customer service. Since launching commercially in 2013, ChickenGuard has created a global presence and expanded sales to 58 countries worldwide. With over 60 million chicken-keeping households globally and over 1.4 million in the UK alone, ChickenGuard is set to continue growing and create products that protect poultry everywhere against all predators.
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