Kids and Chickens

by Daisy on 12/21/2015

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I know a lot of people are contemplating whether or not to get chickens these days, and one of the factors involved is often how will the children in the family react and interact with the new additions to the household. I thought I’d offer some thoughts on our experience and also get some reader input that might be helpful for other families.

For our part, my children love our chickens.

Not a day goes by without chicken/kid interaction.

When they were chicks, they were of course soft and fluffy and small and irresistible to all. It was not surprising that they captivated the children. The chicks came in the spring and the tiny birds spent their early weeks on our screened porch inside a large plastic storage container with a heat lamp, then graduated to a wire pet crate. First thing every morning the kids made a beeline to the peepers, helping keep the fresh feed and water available, helping with the cleanup.

Every afternoon as soon as they got home from school, they would again rush to the chicks and carry them around, incorporate them into their play in various scenarios, again helping with the feeding and general care.

Once they were fully feathered out, with the kids eager help, we would transfer them to an outdoor “playpen” each morning, and carry them back into the cage again every evening. It was a great way to get them used to being handled as well as a lot of fun for the children.

Chicks are adorable, but would they continue to play with them as big hens?

I already knew the answer to this, because these were not our first chickens. We had already raised chicks into hens, and the kids, while temporarily beguiled by the newcomers, still loved our big hens.

Something about the ages of our kids while raising this current new flock meant a special bond and extra interaction. This latest batch is our most people-friendly bunch yet. They are easy to grab and carry around, calm and personable.

They are fully grown, laying hens, now, and they still get daily love and attention. They get carried around, fed special treats, and generally loved to bits.

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I know it’s not always that way, though.

I spoke to an acquaintance recently who got chickens for his kids and one of them ignores them and the other is afraid of them. I wish I knew more about how that came about, but it may be a simple personality issue, a lifestyle issue, or an issue with how the chicks were habituated to humans.Ā  We have two hens who were hen-raised, and they are very skittish, although excellent birds in all other ways.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what it has been like for those of you who have children, big and small, to have your own backyard flock.

 



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lara December 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

I’d love some Chickens, but one of my dogs kills chickens, doesn’t eat them or the eggs just kills them. Besides my city won’t allow them. Bonus for Leo.

Charleen December 22, 2015 at 9:47 am

Don’t have children so I can’t speak to the actual nature of your article, but I sure do love my flock. By the way, those are two very beautiful hens. I know the one is a Dominique, but what kind is the lovely brown hen?

Daisy December 22, 2015 at 9:50 am

Charleen–Chickens have charms for all ages! Thank you, she’s a Rhode Island Red.

Daisy December 22, 2015 at 9:55 am

Lara–Sorry about that! Maybe one day your ordinances will change and your dog will mellow?

ann foshee December 22, 2015 at 8:05 pm

I have 3 hens and 1 rooster. No children with them, but the backyard has a chainlink fence. I get the greatest joy watching my neighbors, old and young, watch the chickens. I think mine are the first real chickens most of them have ever seen. My joy is when they run up to me and the thrill of eggs in the nest is indescribable. Like your site.

Daisy December 23, 2015 at 8:22 am

ann foshee–I would describe that as being a chicken ambassador, introducing chicken keeping to the neighborhood and showing what they’re like and what can be done. Kudos! And thanks šŸ™‚

Kiy April 5, 2016 at 1:28 pm

I have had chickens for the past 3 years. Our girls are happy and lay eggs everyday. We do not have a rooster. Since we live in a development (no HOA) we did not want to have trouble with noise ordinances. Our girls are quieter than the neighbors dog behind us. Most of our neighbors have come to see them and their set up. We did have a few neighbors that did not want them here but that has since gone away and acceptance seems to reign. My granddaughter loves the chickens and has given each a name. We started out with 12 birds and now have 8 with an addition of 8 new chicks coming in a week or so. I never thought I would have chickens but now would not live without them. They are a joy to watch, not to mention the eggs they provide.

Daisy April 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Kiy–I’m so glad your neighborhood has come around. They provide so much to the “farm.”

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