Can you keep Serama and other chickens indoors?
I do not as a rule recommend keeping chickens inside as an indoor pet, Serama and other true bantams can kept indoors and in apartments because of their small stature and docile natures. It is quite common practise in some Eastern countries but they do limit the types they keep to the smallest like Serama.
This article is not about training show birds which are often kept in cages in rooms indoors for a period of time to get them used to people, cages and being handled.
I do prefer to have all my chickens outside, with lots of room to spread their wings. I raise bigger breeds in addition to my tiny Serama, Japanese Bantams and Seabrights. I do know some people who keep large fowl outside, but their Serama inside.
Below: I have some experience of this. This is just 1 hen and her chicks and the mess was incredible, and she was only inside for an hour or so!
Chickens as a rule are quite large and even bantams take up a lot of room. The also have wings and tend to make a mess when they flap them.
Opinions range from it's fine to absolutely not. I have chickens, and they cannot control their poop. Any animal that cannot control their poop should be outside. I keep all my chickens over 8 weeks of age outdoors in coops, sheds and runs.
You could quite easily set up a nice area in a spare room for 3 or 4 Serama, using sawdust or sand in the bottom of their cage making it easy to clean up.
Something like a large rodent cage would do for Serama as they are so small. Keep in mind that in some parts of the world there are minimum space requirements for chickens and livestock and you could find yourself being prosecuted if you are not careful.
Be sure to make sure your local town authority or council allows chickens as pets, as not all do. And that your landlord and neighbours are OK with it.
What are the pro's and con's of keeping chickens indoors?
- It keeps them safe.
- They are protected from the cold.
- It amuses their human keepers.
- There is the dust that comes from feather growth and shedding. If too much gets in your lungs, you can get pneumonia or worse.
- It also is best if they can access sunshine and have some outdoor time daily.
- Birds lack sphincter muscles. When they need to go, it comes out.
- I think it would be cruel to raise chickens without access to the outdoors where they can chase bugs & have dust baths.
- Chickens are very curious & get bored easily. I think you should wait till your a little more settled & have outside space.
- Chickens are prone to respiratory problems and infections and most household cleaners are toxic to them.
- Their body temperature is higher than ours and they produce a lot of humidity in confined quarters as a result.
Sorry but there just isn't many positives to keeping chickens in the house.
Is it possible to house train a chicken?
I watched this program on UK television a few years ago where they were trying to house train a chicken and in six weeks all they got it to do was wipe it's feet on the way into the house. They accomplished that by hiding feed and treats in the mat so the chicken scratched at the mat as it thought it was going to get a tasty morsel.
So they didn't succeed at all, they just manged to adapt the chickens natural behaviour to suit themselves and if you want to house train a chicken then this should be your aim.
Chickens can be dirty, so I don't recommend having them indoors. You can't train them to use a litter box. They will poo everywhere and do the most of it while they are sleeping and roosting.
They poop a lot. One chicken poops once every 30 minutes and that adds up to 45 pounds of crap a year to be exact! You will have to be a very diligent cleaner. If you live in small house or flat, the ammonia in the droppings can make you incredibly sick.
They produce a lot of dust or dander to give it it's proper name, which in a small room can result in a condition bird keeper’s lung or pigeon fanciers lung. The lung of the keeper can be permanently damaged as a result.
Also, chickens are loud! As I am typing this I can hear my rooster’s crowing outside in their coop that is 50 feet away from the house!
Below: Serama are small enough to be able to be kept indoors.
The space a chicken needs is at least 5 square feet of per standard chicken and 3 per bantam. Do you really have that much space to devote in your room? Now that I’ve hopefully got the point across that chickens just aren’t feasible in your situation here are some animals that could quite easily work.
But there are several sites where you can find chicken diapers in different sizes. There are lots of people who have made duck and chicken diapers to keep their pet indoors.
Can’t keep chickens but want something that can lay eggs? Give Coturnix a try! Though their eggs are 1/3 the size of a chicken’s they are well known for laying an egg almost every day and because of their small size you can keep more of them than you can chickens. They require about 1.5 square feet of space per bird.
Do chickens need to be outside?
Chickens like to come in to the human coop occasionally and this often prompts the question, can I keep chickens indoors?
Chickens need to be outside and have the sun on their backs and fresh air to breathe. They need to graze, forage and scratch for bugs and dust to bathe in.
That keeps them happy and and stimulated and gets them moving around and keeps them healthy which in turn makes for good eggs.
You haven’t seen a truly happy chicken until you’ve seen one that’s purring with contentment on its side sunning itself after a long dust bath.
Keeping a chicken indoors is not a good idea under normal conditions. You do need someplace safe for them to be inside overnight, but unless you have a single chicken situation or one that needs to temporarily be separated from the flock because of illness or injury outdoors is better than indoors.
The only other exception is if you’re hand raising chicks and they’re not old enough yet to be outside on their own. But even then if weather permits they do best with some time outside while you watch them.
Seriously, chickens produce a lot of poop and smells, as well as carrying disease. Both you and the chickens would end up sick.
Chickens are also noisy, destructive and inquisitive. They will root through your flower beds and everything they can get into and make much mess.
Below: I have some experience of this.
Your neighbours would also campaign to get you evicted and possibly prosecuted. So no, it’s not a terribly good idea.
Keeping a chicken in a bedroom is like keeping a dog in a small run. They hate it and prefer to be in small groups of their own kind doing chickeny type things outdoors.
So by all means let them come into your house if you want to but do not try to keep them permanently indoors.
A chicken also needs sunlight to get the nutrients they need to lay healthy eggs. They also eat grit outside, which is essential to their physical health and helps them lay eggs without getting egg bound. Chickens also get bored VERY easily.
I can’t stress this enough. Chickens are very smart and need interesting things to keep them occupied. So no, you can’t keep chickens in your bedroom.