Are your kids just starting to ask you for a pet? Maybe they are just getting to the age where they want to be responsible for something cute and furry, but you are shaking your head thinking- “Do I want to be responsible for something else?”
When we first got chickens, I was amazed at how easy-going they are. The maintenance of looking after six chickens at the time was the same as maintaining one rabbit’s cage. Sure more to clean up, but the frequency was about the same. Then I thought- why do we not see chickens as frequently as people have cats or dogs?
Chickens will actually GIVE us something to sustain ourselves.
I really encourage everyone, if they can, to raise chickens. I understand chickens are a bit harder because of city and town laws. Yet I wish they were as common as cats or dogs.
Here are 15 Reasons Why Your Kids Should Raise Chickens
They will provide you with delicious farm fresh eggs
If you haven’t tasted a fresh farm egg yet, do yourself a favor and try it. Then, if you are on a budget and want to cut back on grocery costs, you can make many amazing meals with eggs! Fortunately, there are so many delicious recipes using eggs on Pinterest.
When this chicken gets older you can make it into a delicious stew
Life on a farm, there isn’t much waste. If you don’t get too attached, you can always cull your older hens and use them for wintertime stew!
Will teach your child responsibility of providing for an animal by feeding and watering
Chickens are one of the easier farm animals for younger kids to start with. They get so excited about gathering the eggs from the nesting boxes. Teaching responsibility comes naturally when a child is caring for an animal. Although, of course, the younger kiddos will fall and break a couple of eggs, that is okay. It’s a learning process as well to teach them how to slow down and walk carefully! Our toddler did this a couple of times, and she learned how easily eggs do break.
The deeper understanding of how our food system works
It’s hard. I know when butchering time comes. I didn’t grow up on a farm as a kid; I volunteered at a petting farm, so there wasn’t any process of raising the animals for meat. Our first time with chickens was a whole new experience when it came to butchering. I made it a point not to get attached. It was gratifying to know they had a great well-cared life and how they were serving their purpose here on our property.
It is a lot of work and may not even cost you less than what you would get at a store, but the quality is so much better. I can eat a meal completely at ease, knowing exactly what went into that chicken.
They will be able to identify every single chicken by name- even when they are all the same breed
It’s true. They will be able to recognize every chicken. This can also make butchering time more difficult. My husband is always amazed at how they say to him, “NO Daddy, that’s Minty, We can’t eat her.. ” Oh boy. 🙂
Your chickens will squat down for the kids to pick them up- making them feel special
Our kids thought this was the best thing. They got such a kick out of seeing the chicken squat for them. We started with chickens while we lived across the street from Walmart. Six hens no rooster, and those girls would squat every single time the girls came for them. They felt so special. If you end up getting a rooster, they still squat, but it changes the whole process with the kids 😉
You can add cleaning the coop to their chore chart
How many times have your kids asked for a pet, and you emphasize how they will have to clean up the poop? The kids say, I know I know, and you find yourself cleaning up the poop instead. Make it part of their chore to clean the coop. Swap out times if it’s their least favorite because, in reality, it is everyone’s least favorite chore.
Sharing in the fact that they are giving their chickens a much better life than factory farm birds.
This is a huge one for me. With today’s regulations and labels, you really have no idea what’s going on. Free-range can mean they stepped outside but only have enough space to turn around. I mentioned it before, but again, it’s a peace of mind you get at the dinner table.
Your kids will have fewer bugs around. Think of chickens like a natural pesticide when you let them free range.
It’s true chickens will peck at the bugs flying around them. But it’s quite entertaining as well.
Your kids will learn a lesson on self-sustainability.
Not much more to add to this one, other than again they see the bigger picture of farm to table.
If you have a Rooster, your kids can watch baby chicks hatch- the circle of life – hands on.
Think Lion King up close and personal. This can be even harder-hitting if you decide to free-range your chickens. Yet, life with chickens leads to death. Sometimes it happens for no apparent reason. Yet, it is such an important realization about life and farm animals.
Will Learn About Death and Illness
My husband warned me with some batches of birds; you will get some that are going to die. I didn’t want to believe him. So with our third batch of chicks, we had one that was ill. It gave my kids a look at what death is. I want to have them worry about death at young ages, but when we talk about death in our family for younger kids, they don’t understand. It’s good for them to know that sometimes animals and people get sick, and their bodies can’t fight it. It’s also a great time for us to share our faith and talk about Heaven.
They can learn about composting while using the chicken manure to enrich the pile.
We love composting around here, and chicken poop is a great one for it! You can read about how to start the perfect compost pile here.
Kids can take chickens to 4-H.
This is an easy one to get the kids involved with animals in 4-H. Especially if you don’t have a ton of space to raise larger animals. 4-H is an all-around great program. You don’t have to show animals to be part of it either.
If you start with chicks, your children will learn the importance of being kind to the animal. They are fragile little beings and need to be handled with care. As the hens grow older, your chickens can learn to eat out of the child’s hand when they call and follow and play with them each day.
I know I would have never given thought to my kids raising chickens. But, when my oldest daughter went to a sleepover at her grandma’s, she came back home picked up a chicken, kissing it, saying how much she missed it. Call it what you want, but kids love these birds.
So I hope that helps you decide if chickens would be a good fit for your family and your kiddos.
Do you raise your own chickens?