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Newbie---How do chickens fit into a family with young kids?

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by r3wishes, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. r3wishes

    r3wishes New Egg

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    Mar 21, 2009
    Hi,
    I'm new to this forum. I am considering getting chickens for our backyard. We can have 3 hens in our city (Olympia, WA). I would like our kids (7, 1.5, 1.5) to be more in contact with their food (we already have a huge garden) and enjoy the fun of chickens. My research has led me to believe that we will need to build a coop and a run. If this is what we do, do the chickens sometimes come out into the yard? If you want them to? How do the kids get to interact with them? Do we have to go into the run to be with them? What about diseases, etc? I realize our toddler twins are too young to be really involved, but my oldest wants to be able to treat them like pets. Is this feasible? Any suggestions or help is much appreciated! Please feel free to "tell me like it is"--maybe I'm really off track?!?

    Thanks so much!
    Alissa
     
  2. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    These are great pets for kids. I have a pic of myself at 2 years old feeding chickens cracked corn out of a can. I would not get any roosters though, just hens, because some roosters are mean. Hens would be fine.

    I would get a small "chicken tractor" with a house and run (say, 8 x 4 foot for the whole thing. (just google "chicken tractor" or "chicken ark" to get the idea. Or look on the BYC small coops page -- it has tons of pics. If you want to let them out on any particular day, you can open up the door and let them out as you desire. A small chicken tractor would still allow the kids to interact with them, feed them, gather eggs.

    And if you handle the chicks or hens a lot, they can get very snuggly. There are many pics on here of kids holding pet chickens.

    No disease issues, except make sure to wash their hands between caring for chickens and any eating, just in case the kids get dirt or poop on their hands, just like normal.

    Great idea for your kids. Go for it.
     
  3. mistylady

    mistylady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I keep my kids out of the run unless I'm there. And my kids never go in the coop. Chicken poo contains some nasty stuff - hystoplasmosis (spelled wrong probably). We have a 4 year old son and a 5 year old daughter. They feed the chickens through the fence but only if I'm there. My son is mean. I mean really mean - he could make the Pope cuss. I'll pick up a hen and let the kids pet her. Remember that chickens peck at movement and eyes move. My hens are sweet but they go for eyes. Your older child should be fine for holding a hen but the little ones might get hurt if she goes for an eye. And chickens are fast! I'm trying to tell you not to get chickens but just be careful with them around your young kids. YOur older child should be fine. My kids love to sit on the porch and watch the chickens chase bugs and scratch. And they loved to see the chickens when they were chicks and I let them hold them. Just my opinions!

    Our chickens do not come out of the run to free range.We ahve too many hawks here. All of my hens are pets. They will sit on your lap and cackle to you. Chickens make great pets! My roos .... not good pets! But my hens are lovebugs! Any of my hens will sit on my lap as long as a kid will pet them. Or until my rump goes numb from sitting on the ramp and I stand up!

    So yes to a good pet for your older child but be wary of the little ones with the hens when they get pecking at things. [​IMG] I hope this helps!
     
  4. Hello and Welcome to BYC , glad to have you here. [​IMG]

    chickens for a kids pet is a really great idea.Barred Rocks are pretty docile breed for around children.My daughter has a silkie and its really great too.

    A coop and a run works or you could build a movable chicken tractor so they can free range , all depends on what you want to do.

    After the chickens have been in their coop/run area for a few days , if you let them roam free just leave coop door open so they can get back in and they will usually return to coop to roose before dark.

    Its best to get them as chicks so they can grow with your children and it gives them more of a chance to bond.

    Hope that helps some.

    Fay
     
  5. newchickenfamily

    newchickenfamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    We've had great luck with our chickens and kids. Our kids are 9, 6 & 3. Our coop is not big enough for the kids to go inside of it (Chick N Barn & Run) so they only interact directly when the chickens come out to run around in our yard.

    My kiddos love to feed them our scraps and my 3 year old son always likes to bring them a scoop of sunflower seeds or scratch.

    My kids aren't really interested in holding the chickens because they are fairly large girls! The chickens do peck at shiney things on the kids clothes or the holes in my sons Crocs! The kids know that this is "what chickens do" and aren't bothered much by it.

    The benefits of having chickens is big in my mind! Even my hubby who was dead set against having chickens in the yard has done a complete turn around and is even in coop-building mode! The girls need a bigger house!
     
  6. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Kids and chickens are a great combination.

    Just follow thru with the washing hands stuff and watch the toddlers, they like to squeeze things.
     
  7. TXmom

    TXmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    We are new to chickens...got our first chicks at the end of January. My kids are 10 and 6 so they are a little older than yours. Almost every day, my 6 year old lays his head on me and says, "Mommy, I love our chickens". [​IMG] It's soooooo sweet!

    We have a large coop and run that we can go into because we live in the country and have a LOT more than 3 hens. [​IMG] My kids go in the run daily. I DO make sure they wash their hands...they are pros at washing because we have lots of pets that require it (gerbil, rats, turtle, etc).
     
  8. GopherBoyFarms

    GopherBoyFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2008
    Vancouver WA
    We got our first chicks a year ago knowing nothing about them....now a year later we have almost twice as many and our now 9 yr old son is in 4H (as a matter of fact he is away at a show right now and won RESERVE!!!! ) He has learned a lot from the chickens about responsability and that they depend on him. He feeds and waters them, collects and records eggs and helps with incubation and loves seeing chicks hatch. Our chickens free range all day every day and our son (and any other kids that are at our house that day) interact with them all day. We have a ATV track in the back yard, and it's normal to have 2 ATVS on the track, 4-5 kids, and 30+ chickens and a cat all sharing the area.
    From day one the main rule is WASH YOUR HANDS! After any contact with chickens, chicks, or eggs. Our son also sells eggs to pay for the feed. I think your children will LOVE having chickens and its a great learning tool.
    We have added bantams to our family for the kids to show in 4H and they are totally the kids responsability (all but the new bantam coops...they will be helping build it)
    Good luck!!! Enjoy!!!!!!!


    ~Tiff~
     

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