Chickens around families and children
If you are new to being a urban homesteader then you’re likely to have the urge to raise chickens in your backyard. Most urban families that are getting into homesteading will usually have one of their children wanting to raise chickens. Raising chickens can be fun for the whole family but it does take work and some knowledge. Just going to the local farm store and coming home with baby chicks is just the beginning.
Depending on what you are wanting from the chickens is going to be the first thing that you are going to want to ask yourself. There are many different breeds and they all have different styles of personalities. If you are looking to have chickens for laying eggs and being around young children then you will probably want chicken hens that are calm. I know when my grandchildren are at our house they love to chase the chickens around the backyard, pick them up, holding them and feeding them by hand. If you are going to be having children or grandchildren handling your birds you will want to have birds that will not be aggressive and nervous and protective of their feathered friends. Some breeds can be mean and aggressive, knowing which are the more calm and less nervous type will help from your children getting hurt or scared.
Calmer chicken breeds
Some of the more popular chickens that are good for families and are more calm are the Orpingtons, Wyandottes, Plymouth Rocks, Cochins, Delawares, Faverolles, and the Sussex. The reason I like these feathered friends is that they tend to be larger and are not skittish and are great egg layers.
The famous Rhode Island Red is a great bird but it is more aggressive and is not a good chicken to have around small children. Also most urban chicken raisers will have mixed flocks of chickens and the Rhode Island does not do good with other breeds of birds.
The one word of caution, even though you may pick a breed of chicken that tends to be more calm and easy going does not mean that you may have one that is more nervous or skittish. Chickens are like children, they have their own personalities. You never know what you will be bringing home from the store until they get about four to six months old. If you have several that are the same age when bringing them home you will quickly figure out who is going to be the dominant one of the flock and which ones are going to be the nervous little hens.
Children handling chickens
With children it is best that they learn from day one how to handle the chicks. Also teach the children to be calm and slow moving around the chickens. Our grandsons tend to be like normal little boys and run, scream and chase the chickens all around the yard and in the hen house. They love catching the chickens and carry them around the yard. Luckily we have taught them to handle our girls with delicate grips so they don’t hurt the birds.
My wife and I love having chickens, they are like our children since our girls have all grown and moved away from home to have their own families. We love to spoil our hens and give them special treats and they come running when we go out to the back yard.
Let us know what breed of chickens you have and how are they around children.