Two Banned Animals That Make Better Pets Than Dogs

My wife and I do not own any dogs, but have found that some animals make just as good pets, or even better. If for some reason you cannot have a dog, or just do not want one, these are great alternatives, however they are illegal as urban pets in most areas.

Dogs make great pets, for some people, and I don’t want to knock them, but they do have some problems, particularly when people do not care for them properly. They can be loud, they can be destructive, and if not handled well, they can be dangerous. Yet other animals, such as hens, or sheep, who are not loud, not destructive, and seldom dangerous are often banned as pets in most areas.

Man's best friend by Melody.loves.you.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/melodygutierrez/2480800128/

Hens Are Better Than Dogs Because…

I have had my hens lay eggs, almost one a day. These eggs are a great food source and when we have extra we can give them away. Dogs generally do not provide you with food, and if they do it is either something they killed or regurgitated.

Hens are considerably more quiet than dogs, and will annoy the neighbors far less than a high strung, or loud, dog would.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8198384@N03/3490594056/ 

You will note that this child seems to love her pet chicken, and the chicken doesn’t seem to be minding being held. 

Hens do not require a vast array of toys. Dogs can be expensive because they need many toys for teething and to keep them occupied. Hens are quite happy if allowed adequate space to roam around in and a few branches or logs they can hop up onto.

Hens are cheap to feed, a bag of feed, and chicken scratch, as well as all other requirements are far cheaper than dog food. Plus the hens, if allowed to free range in your yard, will eat some weeds and bugs, they love dandelions and slugs.

 Campine Chicken by AlishaV.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alishav/3653438934/ 

Veronica is a house chicken.

More and more cities are seeing the value of allowing people to keep hens as pets. Roosters are still usually not allowed, and are not needed for egg production anyhow. Despite the bad publicity about smells, if not kept in overcrowded conditions, chickens are less smelly than dogs. Specific breeds of chickens are quite friendly and make great pets.

Most city lots can easily accommodate three to five hens.  They should have a proper shelter of course.

Sheep Are Better Than Dogs Because…

Sheep mow your lawn, dogs dig it up. Give a sheep a yard and it will carefully trim your grass, keeping everything even, the dog is likely to dig some of the grass up, and not even bother to provide manicuring services to the lawn they do not dig up.

photo by my wife. 

Sheep cost very little to feed, dog food can cost a lot. Even if your lawn is not enough food for them bales of hay are available at much less than the cost of dog food. Oats can be supplemented too and again, are much cheaper than dog food.

Sheep require less grooming than dogs, while some breeds of sheep need shearing once a year, others never need to be sheared. Dogs on the other hand should be brushed daily, or weekly, depending on the breed, and some need to get their hair cut every six to eight weeks. The once yearly shearing of a sheep costs about 1/10 of what a hair cut costs on a dog, and takes a fraction of the time.

Sheep will not bark all day and annoy your neighbors. They baa, which is fairly quiet, and they usually only do so to communicate with each other, or with you if you are slightly late at feeding time. They will not baa at passing traffic or guests, as some dogs tend to do.

Sheep will not surprise you with 10 pups. When they do have lambs, it is usually only one or two, an easily managed number for the purposes of finding them new homes.

Sheep do not have top front teeth. You really do not have worry about them biting you, your children, or your stuff. If they do bite their teeth are not pointy like those of a dog, as such they are less dangerous.

Unfortunately most municipalities do not take ownership of sheep as serious pets. Yes, sheep can be halter/leash trained, yes, they can be friendly. Just like dogs it is the intact males who can be more aggressive, although I have never had an aggressive pet sheep myself. Bottle babies (orphans) tend to make the best pets, and like all herd animals they are happier in pairs or groups.

Sheep are only appropriate if a person has space enough for at least two animals. Most urban yards are too small for sheep, but some people have the space, if only the laws would allow it.

I will point out that sheep are better urban pets than goats, since goats can climb some fences and will chew on anything.

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  1. cutedrishti8

    On November 12, 2009 at 4:58 am

    I love all of them

  2. ken bultman

    On November 12, 2009 at 7:52 am

    I just sold nine goats to a foreign country for $3,000.00 each. They had to be registered and pregnant. Who is smarter, the goat or the goatherder. That country did not want sheep or chickens. Love the shirt, remember the 60s.

  3. lillyrose

    On November 12, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Lovely article! I would love sheep and chickens and ducks and maybe a couple of cows! Need to move to some where with land!

  4. martie

    On November 12, 2009 at 10:26 am

    My son had a pet sheep all the time he was growing up, it followed him around just like a dog!

  5. papaleng

    On November 12, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Interesting article and good choices.

  6. coffeeadict

    On November 12, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Lovely pets, the lot of them. Unfortunately we have dog who is all the things described. But we love him, and I know what he’d do if we had some hens in the garden…

  7. Brenda Nelson

    On November 12, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Plus if a person owns their own free range hens and get eggs, it means less suffering of hens in battery cages, which are so cruel!
    I suspect the chicken industry does not want people to keep pet chickens for the reason of a potential loss of income.

  8. diamondpoet

    On November 12, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Cute article and nicely written.

  9. BluSphere

    On November 12, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Very weird and interesting article. The problem is just that you’re going to be “that weird person with the pet sheep” among people.. I don’t say it’s a problem for everyone, but it may be for some.. I think a cat is a good soulution too..
    I like dogs cause they can be hugged and they can tell you that they are happy or sad. I don’t see that in a sheep or a chicken..

    Best regards,

    Anders W Hegelund

  10. richardpeeej

    On November 12, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    I’ve always wanted to keep a few chickens. My grandfather used to love them and we would collect eggs when I was young. My wife was not to keen on the idea though and I had a choice of a nice shed or keeping some chickens. However my wife only told me that after I had the shed!!

  11. Lauren Axelrod

    On November 13, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I’ll stick with my puppy, although a chicken might attack one of dogs now and then, therefore stopping him from attacking my cats. MMM, chicken army. I can see it now. lol

  12. R J Evans

    On November 14, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Great stuff – blogged at http://www.webphemera.com – thanks a lot for an interesting read!

  13. strovek

    On November 15, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Good article.

  14. deep blue

    On November 19, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Bravo, this is really a wake up call my friend. Why do humans keep dogs for the sole reason that they bark? If chickens could be kept as pets they could lay eggs and as you told, a sheep for mowing the lawn. Dogs won’t even be a great source of hotdogs but an endless source of litters to pick up.

  15. catlord

    On November 29, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    A turkey makes as good a ‘watchdog’ as a canine! The are territorially defensive (and so are ostriches.)

    Miniature goats are AWESOME pets! The are so amusing!

  16. Nataliya

    On December 7, 2009 at 1:50 am

    There is not a single other animal, that bonds as closely to a human as a dog does ! Chickens and sheep are very cute, but… will they be loyal to you, no matter what ? Can you train them, so you have a communication mode ? They are mostly interested in food, not the human. And, you can house-train a dog, completely, if you know what you are doing. If a person just doesn’t know how to handle animals, he/she just shouldn’t have any, period. Aside from all that, the article is nicely written and very entertaining !

  17. Mike Pool

    On January 31, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    They are both interesting choices, but there are few disadvantages I can see in both:

    Where do the chicken and sheep leave their droppings? Do they wait like dogs to do it outside or do they consistently use the same spot like a cat or is it wherever they are when they feel the need to let it go?

    Also, I would think a sheep would be quite annoying indoors (during winter for example) with its hoofs making noise on the floor all the time. Maybe you could just buy a young sheep in spring and eat it just before winter.

  18. shyam

    On February 15, 2010 at 2:02 am

    I too have chickens as pets..luckily you can have a chicken as a pet in India..Are there any other interesting and unusual pets like this??

  19. Anon

    On November 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    This article is plain biased. Just because you don’t like dogs doesn’t mean they are worse pets than chickens or sheep. I like the empathy of my dog, the way she comforts me if I’m feeling down. I had a chicken. They don’t do that.

  20. Mark Gordon Brown

    On November 29, 2011 at 1:03 am

    to Anon, actually I love dogs and grew up with dogs.

    This article is partially written tongue in cheek, it is not to say that dogs are bad at all.

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