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.
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.
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.
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.