Sponsored Post Backyard chickens are a kid's best friend

sumi

Égalité
Staff member
Premium member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,107
23,964
1,252
Tipperary, Ireland
4 Tips for raising chickens and children in one happy backyard.
Peanut butter and jelly. Milk and cookies. Macaroni and cheese. Some things are just better together. The same holds true for kids and their pets.

unnamed.jpg

Pets provide unforgettable memories – from greetings at the front door to backyard adventures. Today, these family moments are made with an unconventional pet: backyard chickens.

“Chickens are popular urban and rural pets, providing benefits for the entire family,” says Patrick Biggs, Ph.D., a flock nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition. “Kids love chickens because they are friendly and filled with personality. Parents value the lessons they teach about responsibility and where food comes from.”

Here are four tips if you are considering a family flock:

1. Choose a kid-friendly breed

Just like kids, each chicken has a unique personality. There are a few chicken breeds that are especially patient with children.

Silkies, often called the lap dog of chickens, are a top choice for families looking for affectionate birds. They have a sweet and caring nature, with soft, fuzzy feathers. Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks are quiet, gentle birds and can lay up to 300 brown eggs per year. Other kid-friendly chicken breeds include: Cochins, Brahmas, Australorps, Polish and the colored egg-laying Easter Eggers.

“If you have kids, these are all good starter breeds,” says Biggs. “They typically have mild temperaments and enjoy human company. No matter the breed, start with four to six chicks and teach children how to handle and care for them. As you grow in your chicken journey, consider adding other breeds to your flock.”

2. Celebrate each milestone

Once you choose a breed, you’re in for many fun milestones as chickens grow quickly. Be sure to celebrate each moment as shown in this list from Purina Poultry Facebook fan Kathy Evans and her granddaughter Tensley:

  • Pick out chicks together
  • Learn how to hold chicks gently
  • Name your new chicks
  • Watch them grow through the teenage stage
  • Build the perfect coop
  • Run out in the morning to check for the first egg
  • Celebrate the first egg at week 18
“Tensley’s chicks quickly became some of her best friends,” says Kathy. “We’ve collected at least 200 eggs. She’s as excited about them laying eggs today as when they first started.”

3. Practice safe and healthy handling

Raising chickens can also teach about the importance of biosecurity. Kids learn valuable lessons to keep their birds and themselves safe and healthy.

Biggs recommends these three tips:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after collecting eggs or working with birds.
  • Wear clean clothes and wash shoes with disinfectant before spending time with birds. Consider providing your kids with “chicken shoes” they only wear out to the coop.
  • Clean and disinfect equipment, including any tools that come in contact with your birds or their droppings.
4. Make daily caretaking fun

“Daily chicken chores can be fun and rewarding,” says Biggs. “A hen produces about one egg each day, so it’s quick to see the results. Kids can help care for the birds and see their work pay off with farm fresh eggs.”

Dana Adkins, a mom in North Carolina, says raising a mixed poultry flock has brought her family together through shared responsibility.

“We started raising chickens, ducks and geese because I wanted my kids to learn where their food comes from,” says Dana. “The kids help with everything, from cleaning the coop to collecting eggs. We enjoy each step of the way together, from hatching chicks to having fresh eggs to eat.”

Ready to add backyard chickens to your family? Visit your local Purina retailer this fall for Purina® Flock-Tober® festivities, visit www.purinamills.com/chicken-feed or connect with Purina Poultry on Facebook or Pinterest.
 

Lady of McCamley

Crowing
8 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,002
4,649
462
NW Oregon
Lovely article Sumi, thank you for writing it.

I wholeheartedly agree. Chickens and kids are wonderful together. Chickens can make great pets (with the right breeds, of course) as well as provide a wonderful opportunity to teach kids animal care and respect.

As a former homeshooler of three children, may I add that chickens also provide a lot of education too? They provide ample opportunity for science and animal husbandry. Helping to care for a flock can even become a stepping stone to a career with older kids.

4H Units are a wonderful place to begin.

When my kids were younger, we did a 4H chick hatching unit with a little mini incubator. Then when my oldest daughter knew she wanted to become a Vet Tech, we used my flock for high school vet science studies. Our Ag Extension (OSU) provides a nice 4H vet science unit. We were fortunate to find a vet who desired to teach it. (My daughter later interned with that vet during high school...setting her up nicely for acceptance into a local highly competitive Vet Tech school....and that internship turned into a full time job after college).

I've continued to use my flock with my after-school ESL students. My ESL kids love the fact that my home doesn't feel like tutoring. I include my animals in the lessons whenever possible....chickens as well as dogs and cats.

I have done that 4H chick hatching unit numerous times over the years with my ESL kids. I now solely use broodies, so the kids get to learn about chicken mom behavior as well as how chicks grow. We learn the anatomy of an egg, candle eggs at specific times, follow the growth charts, and watch some videos for a really nice science unit. I've even had a couple interested in the genetics of how my egg colors and feather patterns come about. (Which of course I gleefully teach as well.)

Parents of my students tell me they never have to prod their kids to come to my tutoring. I believe a large part of that is due to my little backyard farm here on my 1/3 acre, complete with chickens.

I'll link some of my favorite educational tools below for those interested.

I encourage parents to consider providing a small flock for both sentimental and educational purposes. Chickens make for great fun and great learning.

LofMc

OSU 4H Chick Unit (this seems to be a download, but you may need to purchase through OSU 4H. They used to give it away for free to teachers and homeshoolers):
https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/4-h1500
if that link doesn't work, go to here
https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/4-h1500.pdf


Embryo Development:

Hatching:
 

JosieMae

Chirping
Jun 22, 2017
48
28
54
Bellevue, WA
4 Tips for raising chickens and children in one happy backyard.
Peanut butter and jelly. Milk and cookies. Macaroni and cheese. Some things are just better together. The same holds true for kids and their pets.

Pets provide unforgettable memories – from greetings at the front door to backyard adventures. Today, these family moments are made with an unconventional pet: backyard chickens.

“Chickens are popular urban and rural pets, providing benefits for the entire family,” says Patrick Biggs, Ph.D., a flock nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition. “Kids love chickens because they are friendly and filled with personality. Parents value the lessons they teach about responsibility and where food comes from.”

Here are four tips if you are considering a family flock:

1. Choose a kid-friendly breed

Just like kids, each chicken has a unique personality. There are a few chicken breeds that are especially patient with children.

Silkies, often called the lap dog of chickens, are a top choice for families looking for affectionate birds. They have a sweet and caring nature, with soft, fuzzy feathers. Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks are quiet, gentle birds and can lay up to 300 brown eggs per year. Other kid-friendly chicken breeds include: Cochins, Brahmas, Australorps, Polish and the colored egg-laying Easter Eggers.

“If you have kids, these are all good starter breeds,” says Biggs. “They typically have mild temperaments and enjoy human company. No matter the breed, start with four to six chicks and teach children how to handle and care for them. As you grow in your chicken journey, consider adding other breeds to your flock.”

2. Celebrate each milestone

Once you choose a breed, you’re in for many fun milestones as chickens grow quickly. Be sure to celebrate each moment as shown in this list from Purina Poultry Facebook fan Kathy Evans and her granddaughter Tensley:

  • Pick out chicks together
  • Learn how to hold chicks gently
  • Name your new chicks
  • Watch them grow through the teenage stage
  • Build the perfect coop
  • Run out in the morning to check for the first egg
  • Celebrate the first egg at week 18
“Tensley’s chicks quickly became some of her best friends,” says Kathy. “We’ve collected at least 200 eggs. She’s as excited about them laying eggs today as when they first started.”

3. Practice safe and healthy handling

Raising chickens can also teach about the importance of biosecurity. Kids learn valuable lessons to keep their birds and themselves safe and healthy.

Biggs recommends these three tips:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after collecting eggs or working with birds.
  • Wear clean clothes and wash shoes with disinfectant before spending time with birds. Consider providing your kids with “chicken shoes” they only wear out to the coop.
  • Clean and disinfect equipment, including any tools that come in contact with your birds or their droppings.
4. Make daily caretaking fun

“Daily chicken chores can be fun and rewarding,” says Biggs. “A hen produces about one egg each day, so it’s quick to see the results. Kids can help care for the birds and see their work pay off with farm fresh eggs.”

Dana Adkins, a mom in North Carolina, says raising a mixed poultry flock has brought her family together through shared responsibility.

“We started raising chickens, ducks and geese because I wanted my kids to learn where their food comes from,” says Dana. “The kids help with everything, from cleaning the coop to collecting eggs. We enjoy each step of the way together, from hatching chicks to having fresh eggs to eat.”

Ready to add backyard chickens to your family? Visit your local Purina retailer this fall for Purina® Flock-Tober® festivities, visit www.purinamills.com/chicken-feed or connect with Purina Poultry on Facebook or Pinterest.
I'm a teen and my chickens love me! I have two silkies, two amerucanas, and one polish :) The silkies are just cuddle monsters and one of my amerucanas will give me chicken hugs :) They all get jealous of each other when spend time with the other ones and will keep rubbing their beaks on me and try to muscle their way in. They make great pets! The only thing I would watch out for is that getting young chicks is a risky game. We got all ours as day old and unfortunately some of them didn't make it through to adulthood. Chicks aren't the heartiest and seeing them die could be upsetting to young kids...
 

N F C

yep, still winter
Staff member
Premium member
6 Years
Dec 12, 2013
69,858
206,784
2,012
Wyoming
When my 2 kids were young, we didn't have chickens. We just had the usual cats, dogs, lizards, snakes, etc. (ok, maybe the lizards and snakes aren't everyone's usual :)). Adult kids meeting chickens for the first time can be pretty amazing too!

The first chickens my adult DS was around was a couple years ago when he came to visit and was captivated by my flock. He's a talented photographer and thoroughly enjoyed taking pictures of the birds. He has since learned quite a bit about various breeds, how to house them, feed them and enjoys chicken tv whenever he visits.

Being able to share my flock with him has given us both hours of entertainment and a new hobby to share together. My son doesn't have any birds of his own but loves spending time with mine and always asks about them when we visit on the phone.

Chickens are one more thing to bond over, no matter what age your 'kid' is.
 

Sylvester017

Crowing
7 Years
Nov 29, 2012
7,455
1,594
421
So. Calif.
When my 2 kids were young, we didn't have chickens. We just had the usual cats, dogs, lizards, snakes, etc. (ok, maybe the lizards and snakes aren't everyone's usual :)). Adult kids meeting chickens for the first time can be pretty amazing too!

The first chickens my adult DS was around was a couple years ago when he came to visit and was captivated by my flock. He's a talented photographer and thoroughly enjoyed taking pictures of the birds. He has since learned quite a bit about various breeds, how to house them, feed them and enjoys chicken tv whenever he visits.

Being able to share my flock with him has given us both hours of entertainment and a new hobby to share together. My son doesn't have any birds of his own but loves spending time with mine and always asks about them when we visit on the phone.

Chickens are one more thing to bond over, no matter what age your 'kid' is.
My DS is also grown and visits often. He likes feeding my little backyard flock their treats. He says I should text photos of my chicks as they grow -- he says my chickens are now legendary and his friends want to see photo progressions of them.
 

N F C

yep, still winter
Staff member
Premium member
6 Years
Dec 12, 2013
69,858
206,784
2,012
Wyoming
My DS is also grown and visits often. He likes feeding my little backyard flock their treats. He says I should text photos of my chicks as they grow -- he says my chickens are now legendary and his friends want to see photo progressions of them.
That's so cool! Sounds like they have their own fan club, lol.
 

N F C

yep, still winter
Staff member
Premium member
6 Years
Dec 12, 2013
69,858
206,784
2,012
Wyoming
Kids and friendly chickens indeed go together. I've had a few visitors afraid of chicken attacks until one holds a sweet docile Silkie that craves the attention.

Photo of a young visitor holding our sweet little 6-yr-old Silkie that we sadly lost to ovarian cancer this past year.
View attachment 1146083
Sorry for your loss, that's always tough.
 
Top Bottom