When I started out on our journey of becoming a chicken owner, I had no idea how my children would take to the chickens. I am also surprised daily by how much my chickens love my kids! I keep having the same thought, “This is such a great experience for my boys!” And it really is. My kids have learned so much. They have watched the chickens grow from chicks into hens & a rooster, they have learned to care for medical concerns, take responsibility for feeding and caring for the chickens, and regularly involve them in their playtime. Here are my top 10 reasons to raise kids with chickens.
I am frequently asked, “what type of chicken is that.” The black and white chicken in the photo is a Houdan. We purchased a “choice layers” mix of hens and received two of these chickens. They are not bright, I’ve wondered if they’re blind, but they do lay a small white egg every other day or so and provide endless entertainment. They are, by far, our friendliest chickens. We just have to make sure they don’t get lost or eaten by a predator more so than the other breeds we have.
When I initially started toying with the idea of having chickens, I never considered how much my kids would love them. I was egg-focused. It was covid seasons and the eggs were gone at the supermarket. When they did have eggs, it was a limit 1 per family. But I have 4 kids! I’d explain. It didn’t matter, it was a one-carton limit.
To me, the logical thing to do, living in the country and growing up with some farming knowledge…was to get chickens. So, off on our journey, we went.
It has been wonderful, amazing and my sons have had their lives enriched greatly from raising chickens. Here are my top 10 reasons to raise kids with chickens.
1.Developing Kindness and Compassion
While I didn’t anticipate it happening, our chickens are pets. One of the fondest memories I have is of my oldest son reading books to our chickens. He has watched me read to his brothers and put two and two together. The chicks were babies…and you read to babies! While he is a kind kid to begin with, he has gently held our chickens, loved and cared for them and watched their joy as they received his care. The boys also helped me care for our chicks when two arrived with wry neck, we were prepared and ready with our chicken first aid kit and nursed them back to health.
2. Ongoing STEM Educational Lessons
My boys have learned so much! From seeing chickens hatch at my friend’s farm to watching our own chickens grow into full-grown birds who lay eggs…the list goes on and on. Recently, over the past winter, one of our hens became egg bound. While Henrietta wasn’t intending on leading class that day, she taught my boys all about how chicken anatomy works! We couldn’t find a vet to care for her and the boys helped me as I removed the egg from her vent and even helped care for her in recovery. When we finally found a vet, they marvelled at the x-ray and information from the only doctor, 2 hours away, who would see her!
3. Developing Carpentry Skills
I am often thankful that my Dad taught me how to use power tools! Recently, my sons and I installed an automatic chicken coop door! They got to use their math skills, follow directions, measure and help cut the hole for our chicken coop door. Real-life lessons like that just don’t happen in the classroom. And with many schools removing shop class and other life-building lessons, it’s more and more important to teach kids how to do repairs and work at home. Affiliate banners below.
4. Chickens are a Continuous Source of Amusement
When my kids are playing, they often involve their chickens. Some of our birds are very social, I believe this is from caring for them when they were chicks, and look for the fun and attention! You can often find they with my boys, on the swings, getting treats and generally interacting. They have been way better than watching TV!
5. Teaching Responsibility
Raising kids with chickens has been a wonderful way to develop responsibility. Every day the chickens need to be fed, given their treats, including dried bugs, and the egg collection at the end of the day. While I handle cleaning the coop, my kids see me doing it and understand that regular cleaning and upkeep is a necessity for a healthy flock!
6. Dealing with Loss and Death
When our mail-order chicks arrived, I did everything I could to get to them fast. I had called the post office to let them know I was expecting them and was given a return phone call when they arrived. I drove right over to the local post office, with save-a-chicken electrolytes, a dropper and water handy and started caring for the chickens in the parking lot. While two had wry neck, and later recovered, we had one chick that didn’t live 24 hours. We held a little funeral, buried the chick and talked about death and loss. While losing the chick was sad, it was also a good opportunity to talk about death, loss and to attend a little funeral.
7. Bragging rights
My boys and I were picking blueberries and two other kids from a nearby family came over to make friends. One of my middle sons jumped right in, “So, do you have chickens?” The little boy looked a little confused and replied, “No.” “Well, why not?!” My son replied in wonder. Chickens are awesome, we have eggs and they’re so much fun. He went on. I find that if I listen in when they’re talking, they are often bragging about their chickens and all of the beautiful eggs we get!
8. Entrepreneurship and Money
In addition to free-ranging and eating the lawn, our chickens are fed chopped kale, cabbage, leftover produce from our house and chicken feed. They eat dried mealworms, a seed mix and lots of goodies. My boys give eggs to our friends and family who will often given them a few dollars towards their upkeep. Looking at the cost of their food and needs is a great way to understand saving money and keeping costs reasonable. Keeping their chickens fed is a high-priority so they make sure to save and watch their budget!
I know that many people feel as though chickens are livestock and merely object. However, our chickens are pets. As a single Mom, who has been going through a divorce, I love that my kids find companionship with ALL of our pets. Our dog, our cat and yes, even our chickens. Dare I say many of the birds are sweet? Yes, yes I dare.
10. Friendship and Relating to Others
One of the activities my kids do is attending horseback riding once a week. If we can, we even go to shows! Often, the other kids at these events have chickens too and it’s a great way to start up a conversation and instantly relate to the kids and adults around them!
Dealing with the critics
If you have not had anyone criticize your parenting yet…I’d be shocked. It seems like people are always offering up unsolicited tips and advice. Yes, just like any pet, it’s important to wash hands after handling chickens. No, as I’ve been asked, all chickens are not covered in disease and mites. The way you care for your chickens, coop and flock determine it’s health. Yes, occasionally a bird may become sick. However, this is not an ongoing issue and like our egg bound hen, is treated and dealt with as needed.
Thank you for stopping by! I’d love to hear if you have any comments about your experience raising kids with chickens!