Chicken pets? I see many people shaking their heads and wondering why we think chickens make the best pets for kids. A flock of chickens can be educational in a variety of ways and also inspire affection and love. Your neighbours are not likely to complain as chickens are not usually very noisy (unless you have a rooster). You don’t have to take them for walks unless you really want to. They are easy going and can be left alone when you are out for the day. Chickens have different personalities and can be funny and fun. They are pets with extra benefits.
Keeping chickens is an educational experience
Growth and social life
Chickens can teach the entire avian life-cycle if you breed them. If you don’t breed, you can always purchase a few day-old chickens and experience their growth and progress. You can learn how birds function in social groups (the pecking order) and how they learn to fit in. Kids can learn about feeding and nutrition as well as information on ecologically and organically sound growth of birds and gardens.
Seasons, life-cycles and responsibility
Youngsters can learn about seasonal changes and the natural cycles of the weather and of life in general. Chickens help children grow up with ideas of sustainability and giving back to the planet while enjoying some benefit from it. Chickens teach responsibility and routine. Chooks are also really lovely to talk to. Many chickens enjoy being stroked and cuddled as well, making them a good outlet for affection.
Chickens are low maintenance
Unlike many other pets, chickens don’t need a vast amount of time daily to be happy and healthy. Even with school and other functions, children from as young as 5 or 6 can learn to take care of their chickens. They can do their chicken chores such as feeding and watering daily and still have time to clean the coop and give their chooks a snuggle. Being rewarded with eggs is also something you don’t get with many other pets. Allow children to collect the eggs from the hen house themselves to enjoy all the benefits that come with keeping chickens.
Chickens are awesome
Chickens are not boring birds. Once you take the time to get to know them, you will find they all have their own personalities. Some chickens are very affectionate and love being cuddled. Some are more aloof and prefer to go off and do their own thing. You can even teach them a trick or two. Many chickens will learn to follow on command (especially if the walk ends in a treat). Chickens are generally not aggressive. They won’t hurt the kids and will make wonderful feathered friends for life.
Start from young
Socialize your chicks from tiny and they will make excellent pets. There are very few pets that offer the benefits of chickens. Chickens can teach kids so much and give back with bonuses of scrambled eggs for breakfast. It is important that you socialize the chickens from young and that you choose a good breed as a pet. Some chicken breeds make better pets than others. However, you are welcome to make pets of any chickens you want.
Some of the more popular chicken breeds for pets include Silkies, Barred Plymouth, Brahmas, Cochin, Polish and Orpington.
Silkies look like big puffs of cotton wool on legs. They are cute and snuggly and are gentle in nature. Who wouldn’t want to cuddle these sweethearts? They are also on the smaller side, making them great chicken pets for little people.
Orpingtons are friendly and relaxed chickens and are very social birds. They are available in a variety of colours and are lovely and soft to touch. They are also good egg layers. Orpingtons will give you plenty fresh eggs during their life span. They are well known as being wonderful pets and are probably one of the more common breeds being cuddled and petted daily around the world.
Barred Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock chickens are clam and friendly and excellent egg-layers. They are quite hardy birds and manage in some of the harsher weather conditions that other chooks might find difficult to thrive in. Plymouth rocks also tend to live a bit longer than most other chicken breeds. This means your pet will be around for longer.
While they are not great egg layers, Polish chickens are lots of fun as pets. They have long feathers on top of their heads and may even have beards making them look like a feathery Einstein. Keep the feathers near the eyes trimmed and these birds will be the first to greet you at the coop.
Cochin are round, fluffy chickens which tend to have fluff on their feet as well. They are very affectionate and will even sit on your shoulder or in your lap for hours if you let them. These are calm birds that you can get in bantam and normal sizes. They are decent egg layers as well.
Brahmas are excellent egg layers and will easily give you 6 eggs a week. These are largish chickens but they have wonderful natures in general. They have plenty of feathers, even on their feet and are fun to snuggle. They do well in colder areas and you can get them in 3 different colour varieties. Brahmas are also beautiful chickens and have distinct patterning.
Whichever breed you choose, you will find that even within the same breed, the chickens are not exactly the same. The chickens have their own personalities and mannerisms. You will get to know your chooks and come to love them for their little quirks and eccentricities as well as their general chicken behaviours. Chicken pets can bring a lot of joy to a child’s life along with the many other benefits that come from keeping chickens.