Yes, chickens can be pets; and chicken owners want what's best for their flock. As a chicken owner, you have one of two choices: raise free-range chickens or cage them. Caged chickens don't have the same freedoms and longevity as free-roaming chickens; and it's less humane to keep them cooped-up with other chickens.
Here are the pros of free-range chickens:
"Like humans, and any other pet for that matter, poultry needs exercise - a secure place to stretch their legs and interact with other members of the flock. By providing chickens with a secure area to exercise, chicken owners are offering weight loss support for chickens. This is when a chicken fence comes in-handy; so, consider building poultry fence in the backyard.
Next time you decide to bake a cake, do it from the eggs from a free-range chicken. You will notice the cake is fluffier, better looking. Why? It's because the nutrients are passed on to the eggs. When chickens are fed natural ingredients, they will produce eggs with more nutrients. There is debate around this subject; but it's important to trust your egg source; and know that they are not using pesticide-free grass.
Bugs, small insects and snails are part of a balanced chicken diet; and free-roaming chickens get to eat all of them." (EasyPetFence.com)
As you can see, raising free-range chickens is the way to go and is highly recommended for chicken owners.