People think dogs are so great. A lot of people, in fact. I read somewhere that they are in more households than any other pet in the U.S.A. And I’m no exception–save for the years around college, I don’t think more than a few weeks of my life have passed without having a dog in my home. But, if you really think about it, are dogs really THAT great? Chickens, on the other hand… now there’s an animal that’s worth owning!
We’ve had chickens for a few years now and I have had a dog (or two), like I said, for most of my life. I’ve put in the time. We also have neighbors, friends, and family with dogs and chickens. I even know a little bit about raising dogs and chickens, too.
What I’m saying is, I’ve got at least an average perspective on things when it comes to having dogs and chickens. And I’ve done the math.
It’s my opinion that chickens, on the whole, are just better.
Think I’m crazy? Love dogs more than you love people?
Let’s go head to head on this.
Keeping chickens vs. having a pet dog
Round 1: Expense
Due to a mild obsession with budgeting and spreadsheets, I can actually tell you with some accuracy how much it costs for our family to have a dog and to have chickens. After accounting for food, veterinary care, and ongoing supplies, etc., our one dog costs the same amount as raising approximately 21 chickens. And those chickens eat organic! So as long as you have 20 or fewer chickens, they’re cheaper than a dog.
Round 2: Noise
If you compare a barking dog to a crowing rooster, it’s a tough one. Sure, the rooster only crows a few times a day, but man that early morning cock-a-doodle-doo is downright infuriating.
Your average annoying neighborhood dog can bark its brains out at anything, though. From a jogger in the road to a squirrel that was in a tree 3 towns over 2 years ago, some dogs just bark it up.
I think the dog’s bark is more psychologically irritating, because you know that if the owner were more attentive and caring, the barking would be so much less. You can’t really blame anyone for a rooster crowing.
But since a dog with good training and care won’t be a nuisance, and because the rooster is optional, I think we have to call this one a tie.
Round 3: Protection
Chickens can be pretty ferocious, believe me. Our Golden Comet at a frog once. It was insane.
But even I can’t find a way to twist this one in favor of chickens. The barking and general danger of dogs, things that might make you favor chickens in other categories, are actually what makes dogs so valuable as a protector. I know this is why a lot of people keep dogs. Whenever someone pulls into our driveway our dog lets us know. It’s actually kind of nice, having that.
Round 4: Health Benefits
I’ve heard that dog owners are healthier than cat owners. Not to knock cats (different blog post), but it’s pretty easy to guess that this is because dogs require your energy for proper care–i.e., the walk. We walk at least an hour a day with our dog, and I’m sure that’s a good thing.
However, I’ve also heard that keeping chickens makes for healthy owners because they can greatly reduce stress. I know this to be true, as watching my chickens for even a few moments makes me feel better just about ALWAYS. Plus you get to eat their nutritious eggs!
So let’s call this one a tie, too. Dogs and chickens can both be very heart healthy in their own ways.
Hoo boy, 4 rounds have flown by and it looks like we have a really close match. But you know, there is one thing that really sets the chicken apart from the dog. Let’s see what happens in the final round…
Round 5: Whether or not it’s OK to eat them
When a chicken is no longer wanted or becomes a problem, you can eat them. Heck, you can even raise chickens specifically for their meat. Hundreds of millions of Americans eat chickens regularly.
But if a dog barks too much and you suggest eating it, everyone will be, like, so mad!
Maybe this talk bothers some of you, but I’m willing to bet that you’ve eaten more chickens than dogs in your life. I’ve never even eaten one dog.
And hey, morals aside, dogs can’t be as juicy and tender as the chickens we raise.