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Young Children & Chickens?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mwatro34, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. mwatro34

    mwatro34 Hatching

    Sep 24, 2008
    We want to get backyard chickens, but my wife is afraid of illnesses for our young kids. We will have the typical cool/house arrangment, but would like to allow the chickens to run around the back yard, which will include a swing set and sand box. If they poop everywhere, is that a problem for the kids? Are their health concerns? Should I just block off 1/2 the yard for them instead? Thanks, Matt
  2. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    What size is your yard, how old are your kids and how many chickens do you have?

    There are a couple illnesses that can be transmitted to humans from birds, but it's not that easy if you aren't the one cleaning their coop, butchering them, etc.

    Chickens are a fabulous way for children to learn to care for an animal and to learn where food comes from without getting into the butchering business right off the bat. I have an 8 year old daughter and she LOVES the chickens and ducks. We recently took several of our birds to the high school for the FFA kids to see and I couldn't believe how much information my little girl was able to share with all those teenagers about raising poultry!

    You wife might have grown up, as I did, thinking chickens are dirty. That's all I heard from my parents when I was growing up. They really aren't though. I think it just seems that way because they poop indescriminately. We have a 10x10 coop with a 2x5 "bedroom" for the chickens and the bedding needs changed anywhere from once a week to once every 3 weeks. We have ducks too and they are much, much messier! We also free range our birds on what's left of our 1/2 acre after you take away for the footprint of the house, garage and shop. We don't have grass, just rock and wild plants, and I really don't notice the chicken poop being an issue. Granted, we get a lot of rain that washes it away, but still.

    If you have bug problems the chickens will take care of that in a hurry. If you have a garden area or your wife has flowering bushes, you may want to put some chicken wire around those. But other than that I wouldn't say they have made our yard any "dirtier". Just teach the kids to use antibacterial rub after petting the chickens and they will be fine.

    You'll love having the birds and many a dissenting spouse has later been found to be the most doting "chicken parent" there is.

    ETA - Holy typing errors!
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  3. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    I've been reading these forums religiously for months. During that time I've never read of someone's child contracting a disease from one of their flock members.

    I agree w/ Kodiak that the "chickens are dirty" perception comes form chickens pooping pretty much anywhere. It's true that the do take a load off any time the need crosses their little pea brains. It's also true that you can restrict their movements or hose off their droppings.

    DBF and I have been shocked at how much we've fallen in love with our girls. They've completely captured our hearts: they're always happy to see us, follow us everywhere, vocalize to us, weed our gardens, eat the bugs, and bring us joy.

    Oh, and they even lay eggs!
  4. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    My kids have grown up with chickens and so have I. Ive never had a problem with them getting sick. I quess it can happen, but Ive never had any problems what so ever personally.
  5. Rhett&SarahsMom

    Rhett&SarahsMom Songster

    May 8, 2008
    I have a 6 year old daughter and 5 pet chickens.
    We have a small back yard as we live in the city. But the chickens are no messier than our dog, the three cats or the three house rabbits. In fact I like cleaning up after the girls more than cleaning up the yard of dog poop. We do not have them free ranging though. They have a coop and run that I clean bi weekly now and weekly during the warmer months

    My daughter helps take care of them and knows to wash her hands after petting them or helping me clean. She loves the girls so much that when I "spoke" (I really didnt since I have no voice still) to her earlier she said she missed the girls, cats, rabbits and dog without saying that she missed me. *she has been at my moms this week for Christmas vacation.

    I think that as long as you practice good animal husbandry then illness wont be a problem. Same as with any other pets.
  6. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    This old rooster has never heard of kids getting anything other than dirty shoes from chickens.
  7. Rhett&SarahsMom

    Rhett&SarahsMom Songster

    May 8, 2008
    Since my daughter used to play on the manure pile at the first barn I kept my hose at. I think chicken poop wont bother her.
  8. Daycare Mom

    Daycare Mom Chickens, Cuddly and Delicious

    Apr 9, 2008
    Conklin, Michigan
    We have 25 chickens and 9 kids running around the yard all together. Unless your kids have a habit of licking their shoes you should be fine. Of course they should always wash their hands after they are out with the critters. Your kids will love some chicks and some fresh eggs! Go for it! [​IMG]
  9. dixiechick

    dixiechick Songster

    Honestly, my kids handle and kiss all our animals...even our chickens...and I know they don't always wash their hands....no sickness so far, although I am sure there is a chance...just like there's a chance to winning the lottery....

    I believe kids can't grow unless they get a little fertilizer on 'em!

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