Are you trying to convince yourself or your significant other that you should get chickens? Do you have kiddos running around? This will give you a few more reasons why you should get chickens. Here are 6 things that backyard chickens can teach your kids.
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Responsibility is one of those characteristics that make for a well rounded citizen. Someone who is responsible is accountable for one’s actions, knows and follows various rules/laws, treats others fairly, is trustworthy, honors their commitments, and is environmentally aware. That is a lot!! So how do we teach these things to our children? By giving them little things to be responsible for starting at a young age. Chickens have needs that can be called chores. Our children can help with the Chicken Chores which in turn fosters responsibility.
Chicken Chores for Kids-
Small children can help collect eggs, scatter treats for the chickens, and learn how to refill feeders. Older kids can be responsible for making sure waters are full, cleaning the coop, and helping to round up the flock at the end of the day. And when they are rounding them up have them count the chickens, which is a great way for young kiddos to work on number sense.
Empathy for Animals
Animal kindness and the ability to identify and stop animal cruelty is so important in the current state of our world. We need to respect all living creatures and strengthen our relationship with our planet and all its inhabitants.
Since chickens are small and fairly non-threatening, they are more family-friendly than some of the larger types of livestock and perfect for all ages. Chickens are a great way to introduce your family to other animals besides cats and dogs.
Growing up we always had dogs and cats and I couldn’t imagine being scared of them but there are many children who have anxieties when it comes to animals. Backyard chickens are pets and with some oversight and nudging children can also practice overcoming anxieties, especially animal-related anxieties just by being around the chickens and interacting with them.
Check out my post on the Best Chicken Breeds for Children to see which breed would be the best for your family.
Chickens are considered low maintenance but they do have a few requirements, they will need a coop. Building a small coop is a great weekend project for the whole family. Working together will build relationships and lasting memories. And your kids will be exposed to some great life skills like woodworking, measuring, how to use tools, etc.
In addition to learning responsibility, there are other lessons that chickens can teach our kids. Counting the number of eggs collected and keeping a weekly chart to track the results is a great lesson in arithmetic, as is doing nightly headcounts to make sure each hen is safely in the coop and on her spot on the roosting bar. Since chicken eggs can come in different colors ranging from greens and blues to cream, tan, and white, little ones can practice naming the different colors, sorting and making patterns.
Connections with our Natural World
Chickens provide the opportunity for children to make connections with our natural world. Many children in urban and suburban settings aren’t exposed to nature on this level. Raising backyard chickens teaches children where their food comes from.
Outside of the practical means of understanding where our food comes from, children can also learn about the connections between plants, animals, and people, and the life cycle; observations from egg to chick to chicken.
Getting the whole family outside, planting or wedding a garden, doing chicken chores or just enjoying watching the chickens wander in the backyard looking for bugs, seeds and grass to eat, contributes to valuable family bonding time.
Kids can even help plant a chicken garden. Chickens love eating from gardens so why not plant one for them. All the culinary herbs have wonderful health benefits for chickens. Like chickens, herbs don’t need much space so they’re perfect for a backyard of any size.
Herbs do benefit from regular pruning and trimming, so letting the kids tend to their herb garden and share the trimmings with the chickens is beneficial to all.
Read How to start a Chicken Garden for more ideas.
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Backyard Chickens can teach our kiddos many things but you also need to make sure you are doing everything to take care of your children and chickens. Here are a few things you should do every time your kiddos help with the chickens.
- Wash your hands!!
- Any footwear that is worn in the coop should not be worn in a house or a place where children will play on the ground. This eliminates a major potential contaminant in your home.
- Collect eggs daily so that they are not pooped on or broken.
- Don’t wash your eggs. Cold water can actually pull bacteria from the shell into the egg itself, and warm, soapy water can remove the cuticle, which protects the contents inside. Instead, use fine grit sandpaper or a brush dedicated to egg cleaning to wipe off any small streaks of dirt or chicken feces.
- Discard cracked eggs
Get Your Kids Involved
For us homesteading is a family affair. We have 4 kiddos and lots to do. The best way to spend time with them is to get them involved. We start by educating them on what we are doing and why. Of course this is tailored to their age. Mainly we do a lot of reading, here are some of our favorite chicken books for kids.
What Backyard Chickens Can Teach Our Kids- Review
Chickens can not only provide you eggs and meat but they can also teach us many things; responsibility, empathy, teamwork, and mathematical concepts. Along with strengthening our connection with nature and our families. Backyard chickens provide so many great opportunities you won’t regret having them.
Ready to get started? Check out Raising Chickens for Beginners.