Chickens have become more and more popular throughout the years. Many families are deciding to give raising backyard chickens a try and are finding that their children are benefiting in so many ways, giving them countless opportunities to learn and grow.
1. Raising Chickens is Good for Your Child’s Emotional Well Being
Chickens are a nice, safe pet for young children to have. They are small enough for a child to hold, pet, hug, feed, care for and make wonderful companions for your child.
Chickens can help to alleviate anxiety and stress that your child may be experiencing during their day.
Children like to feed chickens and it makes them feel special when the chickens follow them around because they know they have treats for them!
Chickens will raise your child’s self-esteem when they see that their chickens depend on them to care for them.
2. Raising Chickens is Good for Your Child’s Social Development
Studies have shown that children that interact with their pets are more likely to be socially adjusted as adults.
By having your child involved in raising chickens, it gets them outdoors and off their “screens.” This is so important these days. Depending upon your child’s age they will be able to perform certain daily chores with the chickens. This gives them the opportunity to interact with them.
Children love interacting with chickens; picking them up, holding them, hugging them and playing with them!
Kids are often seen talking to their chickens like they do their dolls or stuffed animals. They can be safe landing spots for their secrets and private thoughts.
3. Raising Baby Chicks Will Teach a Child How to be Gentle
Whether you are incubating fertile eggs, raising from baby chicks or full size chickens, this is a great learning opportunity for your child about the importance of being gentle.
Fertile eggs have fragile embryos growing inside and jostling them around or dropping them can harm the embryo. Show your child the proper way of handling fertile eggs and let them handle them too with your supervision.
Baby chicks are very tiny and young children are taught how to sit still when they are handling the chicks. Teach your child how to properly pick up and hold baby chicks and full grown chickens.
It is important to monitor closely with young children so the do not accidentally drop or injure a chick. They catch on pretty quickly with an adult there to teach them. Before long, young children understand the importance of respecting their chickens and handling them properly.
4. Raising Chickens Can Teach a Child About Hygiene
When handling fertile eggs it is important to wash your hands both before and after them to stop the spreading of bacteria. Eggs are very porous and if you handle an egg without washing your hands, you are increasing the chances of that egg becoming contaminated.
By involving your child in the incubation of fertile eggs, this also involves candling the eggs to monitor the chick embryo development. Having your child wash their hands before and after candling chicken eggs helps to teach them about the importance of hygiene and not spreading germs.
Baby chicks and chickens can carry many germs, the biggest one being salmonella. Salmonella can be in a chickens gut, manure, their feet, feathers, etc. and passed to humans when we hold them.
It is important to teach your child the importance of washing their hands, both before and after handling them. This goes the same for when they are collecting eggs in the hen house or performing any daily chores that have to do with the chickens.
Teach your child the proper way of washing their hands. Make sure they are using soapy water and have them sing the alphabet song 2 times when scrubbing their hands. Kids get to be pretty good hand washers after you teach them why they are doing it!
5. Raising Chickens Can Teach a Child to be Compassionate and Empathetic
A child that is involved with raising chickens learns to recognize when it is hungry, thirsty or uncomfortable. They see that their chickens are out of water and must be thirsty, so they will give them more water.
By getting your child involved in daily chicken care chores, it makes them more empathetic. Children actually can form strong bonds with chickens, just as they would a cat or a dog. They know what it feels like to be hungry, thirsty or uncomfortable and want to do what they can to make their chickens comfortable.
6. Raising Chickens Will Teach a Child About Responsibility
Like any other pet, with owning chickens, there are responsibilities. Depending upon the maturity of the child will determine what age they should perform a chore. This is up to the parent to determine if their child is mature enough to do a certain chore.
In the beginning, it is important to supervise your children more during the chicken chores. Even as time goes on, it is still important to check to make sure that chores are getting done. The last thing you want is for your chickens to go without enough food or water. Sometimes kids get busy and “forget.”
Below is a list of chore responsibilities that children can do to help with the care of chickens. Again, it’s up to the parent to determine when their child is mature enough to carry out each of these chores. One child may be able to deep clean a chicken coop at 10 years old, but another may not be capable until age 15.
|CHANGE BEDDING IN NESTING BOXES|
|GIVE FRESH WATER TO CHICKENS|
|CLEAN FEED AND WATER CONTAINERS|
|GIVE CHICKEN TREATS|
|TRIM WING FEATHERS|
|INSPECT CHICKENS FOR INJURIES|
|HELP WITH INCUBATING FERTILE EGGS|
|INSPECT COOP FOR NEEDED REPAIRS|
|DEEP CLEANING CHICKEN COOP|
|HELP MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN AT NIGHT|
7. Raising Chickens from Fertile Eggs Will Teach Your Child About the Life Cycle of a Chicken
From seeing the development of a fertile egg hatch into a baby chick that quickly grows up into an adult hen that one day produces an egg of her own, is just priceless!
If you have the opportunity or have been “thinking” about incubating some fertile chicken eggs, DO IT! It is such an awesome and rewarding experience to have. Your children will also benefit from it too!
If your kids are “old” enough, let them help with incubating the chicken eggs. Below are ways in which your child can participate in the incubation of the fertile chicken eggs
|HOW A CHILD CAN HELP WITH |
|PLACING EGGS INTO THE INCUBATOR|
|TURNING EGGS AT APPROPRIATE|
TIMES EACH DAY
|ADD WATER TO RESERVOIRS|
|HELP WITH CANDLING|
|HELP DETERMINE IF EMBRYO IS VIABLE|
|*KEEP TRACK OF “WINNERS,” |
“YOLKERS” AND “QUITTERS”
For more information on “WINNERS,” “YOLKERS” AND “QUITTERS,” read my article 11 Best Tips: How to Properly Candle Chicken Eggs.
It’s an awesome experience being able to candle a chicken egg and see signs of life pumping through the blood vessels. Kids love to see the little chick embryo develop and to see it move around inside the egg!
What’s even more exciting is your child seeing the eggs that they cared for finally hatch and turn into fluffy balls of cuteness!
Within the next 5-6 months the baby female chicks will grow into adult hens that will produce eggs.
Now, depending upon if you keep roosters, this can lead to another teaching experience, “reproduction.”
8. Raising Chickens Can Teach a Child About Reproduction
If you do have roosters, it is inevitable that your children will eventually see them mating with the hens and ask questions. If you choose to, this can give you the opportunity to explain to your child about reproduction. Depending upon the age of your child will determine how in depth you might have to get with them.
Chicken reproduction is quite a bit different than human reproduction, but it is quite fascinating.
- A rooster only has to mate one time with a hen and she will produce fertile eggs for up to 21 days!
- A hen will produce fertile eggs 10 days after mating with a rooster.
- A hen does not need a rooster to produce eggs. These eggs can not become baby chicks, but are perfectly fine to eat!
- An egg will only produce a chick if it was fertilized by a rooster, before the hen laid it.
- In the last hours before a chick hatches, it absorbs the “yolk” as nourishment.
- A new born chick does not need to eat or drink the first 24-48 hours after hatching (it received enough food from absorbing the yolk before it hatched).
9. Raising Chickens Makes Kids More Aware of Where Their Food Comes From
Children that care for chickens know and understand that their hens give them eggs that they can eat. If you raise meat chickens, children learn and understand that you are raising them for eating.
Children eventually see that their hard work of caring for their chickens pays off. They are rewarded by being providing with food on their table.
Most children don’t truly understand where food comes from, thinking it just comes from the local “grocery store.” By owning chickens that produce food that they put into their body, a child has a better understanding of where food comes, much deeper than any of their peers.
10. Raising Chickens Can Show Your Child How to Make Money
Most kids grow up having a lemonade stand or selling old toys at a garage sale, but kids that own chickens have the opportunity to sell chicken eggs and baby chicks or chickens!
This is an opportunity for your children to show the entrepreneur side of them. They can ask family, friends and close neighbors if they are interested in purchasing eggs.
They can keep track of all of their customers and learn how to charge them and give them the appropriate amount of change back.
It is a great way for them to be social with other people.
Make sure that you teach your child to put away enough money to cover the overhead cost of supplies before rewarding themselves. (chicken feed, egg cartons, nesting box bedding, etc.) This can also help the child to determine if they are charging customers enough for the eggs.
Selling baby chicks or meat chickens is another way children can make some extra cash.
This is very rewarding for kids, seeing all of their hard work of caring for their chickens actually produce an income!
11. Raising Chickens Helps to Teach Your Child About Death
With life there also always is death. This can be one of the most difficult lessons to learn for both a child and adult, but a very good learning experience. It will not be easy telling your daughter that her very favorite hen, “Henrietta” died.
Children can become quite attached to their chickens and think of them like another family member.
Depending upon your child’s age and the questions that they ask will determine how in depth you will need to be in explaining what has happened.
It is always best to be honest and upfront though. Do not tell your child that their favorite hen is lost or just went on a trip. This does not make not having their pet with them any better.
It’s ok for you to be sad too. In fact, it can be comforting to your child to know that they are not alone in feeling the sadness.
Talk about the good memories that they had with their favorite hen.
Let her know that she will always be able to hold on to the good memories she had with her “friend.”
Be there to support your child during this difficult time and do your best to help your child heal so she can move on.
Conclusion: The Many Ways Raising Chickens Will Benefit Your Kids
- Good for your child’s emotional well being.
- Good for your child’s social development.
- Can teach your child to be gentle.
- Can teach your child about hygiene.
- Teaches your child to be compassionate and empathetic.
- Can teach your child about responsibility.
- Will teach your child about the life cycle of a chicken.
- Can teach your child about reproduction.
- Will make your child more aware of where their food comes from.
- Can show your child how to make money.
- Helps to teach your child about death.