My Journey to Backyard Chickens

Gone are the days of only seeing chickens on farms, these tiny feathered dinosaurs are steadily making their way into the hearts and backyards of people across the nation! What started my journey into chicken ownership you ask? The answer may just surprise you! Penguins.

That’s right, penguins. African Black-footed Penguins to be exact! In the fall of 2009 I accepted a husbandry position at my local aquarium caring for these warm-climate birds. I was immediately smitten! I fell in love with their larger-than-life personalities, intrigued by their behaviors within the colony, and was especially excited when incubating and hatching season arrived! Let me tell you, there is nothing cuter than baby chicks… regardless of species!

Since personally owning penguins is deeply frowned upon, I made the decision to leap headfirst into chicken ownership that very next fall. And I have not looked back since!
Knowing I could take all my husbandry skills, enrichment ideas, medical experiences (believe it or not, bumblefoot is an epidemic in captive penguin colonies), and apply everything I learned into my own flock of birds with the added benefit of fresh eggs and year-round incubating and hatching – what could be more perfect?!

So while I did not arrive at chicken keeping through a more traditional path, I am thankful every day to those penguins and the inspiration they provided! What started with a colony of 22 African Black-footed Penguins grew into a flock of 45 chickens in my own backyard.

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