Keeping a flock of backyard chickens while raising children is, in my opinion, one of the most wonderful things that you can do as a family. Kids and chickens go hand in hand. From the fresh eggs to life’s lessons, I don’t think that you can chose a better pet. Did I mention that they also make you breakfast? Today, I thought I ‘d share some tips for those of you getting started with a family flock. Keeping chickens with kids is an amazing adventure.
Pick kid friendly breeds. My top two favorite breeds for kids would have to be the Buff Orpingtons and the Australorps. I would also put Silkie Bantams as a closer runner up because at our house, it’s not just about the eggs.
Start with 4 or 6 chicks. You only need a small flock to deliver you a couple dozen eggs per week. It’s also easier to bond with a smaller group of chickens too. Roosters are not necessary for eggs, so be sure to select all females.
Start with baby chicks verses pullets or full grown chickens. This way it is much easier to end up with friendly chickens instead of ones that are going to be skittish around you at first.
Handle the chicks often. Baby chicks will be fearful of you at first too, but it’s easier to begin to bond with babies than adult chickens. Being able to handle your chickens, I believe, makes for more enjoyable adventures. Just like dogs and cats, you’ll become pretty good friends with your flock.
Everyone helps with chicken chores. One the best things you can have kids do from the time they are about 3 years old is gather the eggs from the nesting boxes. As they get older, the responsibilities can increase by topping off the feeders, refilling the waterers and eventually helping you clean out the chickens’ coop and attend to other chicken needs.
Observes and discover their world. By understanding and observing you can quickly determine each chicken’s personality, their role in the flock, who they seem to be “friends” with and many more things! You can even start and keep a chicken diary.
Have the kids name the chickens. I think this is so fun and also helps get them involved right away. My first flock was named when my kids were 3 and 6. We ended up with the names, Oyster Cracker, Sunshine, Feathers, Peanut and Chocolate. I named one, Tilly.
Consider joining a kid’s chicken group. Get involved with your local 4-H or chicken club. You might even end up showing chickens at the local fair or poultry shows.
Plan other family activities with the chickens in mind. Learn to grow a garden, explore the outdoors, create forts and make fun crafts. Learn to make homemade healthy treats for your flock and also begin to learn how to cook. Eggs are a great place to start!
These tips and SO much more can be found in my book, A Kid’s Guide to Raising Chickens.
Photo Credits: Photography by Keller +