Best Breeds for Raising Chickens with Children

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Chickens and children are a perfect match. Chickens are an easy animal to take care of and most school age children should be able to care for a small flock on their own with little help from adults. I think that there is a valuable lesson in raising chickens at a young age, in particular. Not only do kids get the satisfaction of caring for an adorable pet, but they also learn that with responsibility comes reward in the form of eggs in the nesting box. I’ve yet to meet a child that doesn’t get a thrill from collecting a basket full of eggs. 

For the most part, all chicken breeds are safe for children to be around. If you can’t seem to find the breeds mentioned below, I wouldn’t let this discourage you from involving your chicken with a flock. With the exception of an aggressive rooster or maybe a broody hen, who is trying to protect her chicks, chickens make wonderful companions for children.

Chickens can also be trained somewhat. If they are handled frequently from chick age, many breeds will come when called, eat out of your hand and will tolerate being handled. They’ve even been known to enjoy cuddling and gentle petting.

But If you’re looking for some exceptional kid-friendly breeds, there are a few that come to mind.

As a rule of thumb (with a few exceptions), if you’re looking for a friendly, more docile breed for your children to raise, choose larger breeds. It’s true that each chicken will have it’s own personality, but in general, larger breeds are more domesticated, thus some of the “wild” has been bred out of them. 

In my experience most true Bantam breeds, Leghorns, Easter Eggers (Aracauna mix’s) and Rhode Island Reds tend to be uppity.

Below is a list of chicken breeds to keep in mind if you’re looking for pet-type chickens for your children. 

Buff Orpington

Orpington.jpgThe Buff Orpington is my favorite breed. It has been called “the Golden Retriever” of chickens. We also have a Golden Retriever and I couldn’t agree more with this comparison. Orpingtons of any color are a gentle, slow moving, docile breed.

 

Wyandottes

We used to raise Blue Laced Red Wyandottes; a striking breed with rusty red feathers trimmed in a Wyandotte.jpgslate blue lacing pattern. Not only are these birds beautiful but they are incredibly friendly and some of the most intelligent birds I’ve ever met. My husband trained a particular cockerel to land on his arm when it was extended. Wyandottes are a substantial breed with heavy plumage and a rose comb. They do well in climates with cold winters.

Cochin.jpgCochins

A very fluffy bird, with mounded plumage and heavily feathered legs make them the Teddy Bear of chickens. Cochins are easy to handle and quiet. The hens have a deep, soft gurgling cluck. They also make excellent mothers.

Australorp Australorps.jpg

Australorp is another friendly breed. An Australorp is one of the first chickens I ever raised, I was 13 and independently in charge of my flock. My Australorps were sweet birds, regular layers and easy to handle.

 

Jersey Giant.jpgJersey Giant

The Jersey Giant is the largest of chicken breeds. They are a solid bird that’s easy to handle, slow moving and quiet.

 

SussexSussex.jpg

We used to breed Coronation Sussex and not only are the hens gentle and sweet, but we had some of the most gentle roosters from this breed. The roosters were excellent fathers and would treat the chicks with such care and patience that it made me fall in love with this breed. 

Polish.jpgPolish

These last two breeds are an exception to the “gentle giant” rule. Polish chickens are not only a sweet breed , but with the crest of feathers that they sport on the top of their heads, makes them extra fun for children to raise.

 I had a Polish chicken that would sit on my lap while I mowed the lawn on our riding mower. She would also sit in my bike basket. Polish are easy to “catch” and pick up because their crest of head feathers blocks their vision to overhead activity. This discourages children from having to chase them.

SilkiesSilkie.jpg

Silkies are little birds with funny little personalities. Their soft, down-like plumage makes them an extra sweet choice for children. They also have gentle personalities and an incredible instinct to “mother” things. They are slow moving, quirky and a very quiet breed.

Breeds Video.jpgFor Additional Information on Choosing the Right Breed, Watch Our Chicken Breeds Video Here!

 

 

 

PHOTO CREDITS:

Australorp: By Palauenc05 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Jersey Giant: By Erik Fitzpatrick (img_7210.jpg) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Jennifer Sartell - Professional Homesteader & Blogger

Jennifer Sartell - Professional Homesteader & Blogger

Jennifer Sartell is the primary care taker of all animals on her and her husband’s farm in Fenton, MI. With a passion for living a simple life, Jennifer enjoys creating art, taking in nature, raising animals and has developed a deep appreciation for homesteading. Jennifer and her husband, Zach, currently raise goats and poultry. Her vast amount of experience on the farm includes, but is not limited to: milking, shearing, hoof trimming, vaccine administration, assisting in animal births, dehorning, egg collecting, chick and turkey hatching, feeding, watering, etc. She can also cook a mean farm-to-table meal and when the day is done has documented and photographed their day on the farm.

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