The first city chicken I ever saw in practice, back in the seventies, was an orange rooster named Jerry. Jerry and owner Tammy lived in Phalen in St. Paul and they'd been calling all over the Cities trying to find a vet to help her with Jerry's health concerns; he was her favorite in her backyard flock. This was at the original Cedar Pet Clinic in south Minneapolis.
Today, backyard or urban chickens are one of the fastest growing areas of our practice. As many owners discover, chickens are a delight to have as pets...although the roosters can be a little noisy. Many communities are starting to recognize that they be safely kept in town, and ordinances are changing to allow them as pets. Some chickens live in the house and go outside during the day, and others have fancy coops and pens to live in year round. Chickens form strong lifelong emotional bonds with each other as well as other species. They are routine- and home-centered and can thrive in a space the size of a normal urban backyard and home. They can coexist happily with compatible dogs and cats and have similar life spans.
We see a variety of health issues in chickens including injuries, respiratory, intestinal, reproductive and parasitic issues, but most are treatable with the owners providing most of the care. We see chickens in all different sizes and colors. Breeds include Bantams to Wyandottes, and everything in between. Some of the Bantams only weigh a couple of pounds and the largest breeds may go over twenty pounds. And you can only imagine the colors -- reds, white, orange, black, grey and many different combinations.
Just another of the many different types of pets we see at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo, and you may get to see (or hear!) them in the reception area.
Photo credit: Maria Dimitrova-Dreamstime