Chickens used to scare me. I have a phobia from early childhood that is almost conquered, with the exception of having to go into a closed coop. That is still hard, but I have come a long way. Still, I will never understand people's love of chickens. They stink. They are dirty. They are terrible carnivores and will eat anything half dead or rotten and stinky. They fight and fuss amongst each other. When their coop is moved, even a short distance, they are unable to find it and will sit on the ground where it used to be waiting for it to miraculously reappear. My chickens live in moveable hoop coops during the summer, so I know this first hand. The coop can only be moved about 10 feet at a time, no further, or they are lost.
Some people (who love chickens) think they are intelligent, but as far as birds that size go, they do not compare to a raven in the least. A raven IS a smart bird, while a chicken is a bird brain.
How people think chickens are a gateway animal to farming is beyond me too. If chickens were the first animals I ever acquired, they may have been the last. The eggs are a by product of the reason they are here. I can barely sell the organic free run go everywhere chicken eggs for five dollars a dozen and end up feeding many to the dogs and throwing out the rest. People here are not of that mind set and will only pay $2 or $2.50 per dozen and do not care if they are organic or how the chickens are treated, for the most part. The chickens are here because they are supposed to forage, to pick through the manure in the sheep and goat pens and clean out the worms and eggs and such. They do that very well, finally, because I now have the proper breeds. The breeds I have now, also fare well in winter without supplemental heat or light and I am selecting for that ability along with excellent foraging. But, I still do not find any fascination with chickens. And it is nothing to do with my almost gone phobia. They are just not pleasant animals, not like dogs, or cats, or even little lambs or kid goats. They are not even as nice as the ducks or geese that wander the barnyard all summer.
Why my friend values his birds over his dog, I will never understand. I would have taken that dog from him in a heart beat and rescued and rehabilitated him and found a home where he is appreciated. I only barely would feel that way about a chicken, and only then because I am compassionate enough to feel obliged to care for living things. Even chickens.