The Perfect Pet Might Be a Chicken

Sometimes, early in the morning when the hustle and bustle of the city has died down and the only people on the streets are dog walkers and joggers, sometimes we think we hear a funny noise. No, not a the-floor-creaked-maybe-it’s-a-mass-murderer-noise. It’s more of a clucking noise…like chickens make.

We’ve never mentioned this before, but an article in today’s The Scientist reassured us that we’re (probably) not crazy. Apparently, across the U.S. there is a growing trend of urbanites who keep chickens as pets in cities, including Madison, Wisconsin:

Madison itself has about 40 families with backyard chickens, according to Madison's city treasurer's office. This was illegal until 2004, when Madison began allowing ownership of small flocks in city-dwellers' backyards. Prior to that point, says Harrison-Noonan, there was the "chicken underground" scattered citizenry who secretly kept their birds.

Sounds like the makings for a great documentary—at least it does to independent filmmakers Robert Lughai and Tashai Lovington.

The husband and wife duo have shot 22 hours of film following chickens and their owners, from the mail-order chicks to chicken retirement on a farm. They hope to finish the film, called "Mad City Chickens," by August. "There's something fascinating about watching chickens -- they're funny," says Lovington. "Some people say they've given up watching TV; they just watch their chickens."

Why did the chicken cross the road? To entertain you, of course.  


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Hello, I just read your article online.

For what it's worth, I thought I would let you know about my chicken, Beanie who plays the piano. The whole story is being tracked on Beanie The Chicken's Blog ( ) and just this past week I posted a test video clip on YouTube
( ) showing Beanie practicing the piano.

I am going to post a link to this article on Beanie's blog.

Thanks. --Jim Walker

Err, "mail-order chicks"? That doesn't sound very humane. If you really want a chicken, or a cow, pig, horse sheep or goat, try adopting one of the many farm animals rescued from cruel factory farms, disasters and abusive situations from organizations like Farm Sanctuary. To read more about their adoption program, visit

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