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Welcome to our blog post all about the benefits of having chickens as family pets, especially for children! If you’ve ever considered getting a pet, chickens are a fantastic choice that offers a range of benefits for both the kids and the whole family.
Not only are they adorable and fun to have around, but a flock of family pet chickens also provide an opportunity for children to learn valuable life lessons, responsibility, and the importance of sustainable living. So, let’s dive in and explore the wonderful world of chickens as family pets!
Family pet chickens in the UK – a growing love story
In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the popularity of chickens as pets in the United Kingdom. More and more families are discovering the joys and benefits of having these feathered friends as part of their household. From a humble half a million in 2016/17 to a staggering 1.4 million in 2021/22 – our love for domestic chickens, ducks and other fowl has grown within a feather-filled community.
The pandemic was a huge catalyst for this change in our pet-keeping preferences – hugely increasing the popularity of the backyard flock.
During lockdowns. our confinement led families to seek companionship and entertainment within their own homes. We found a new focus on self-sufficiency and sustainable living amidst global food shortages and the difficulties and dangers of supermarket shopping. And, we found ourselves with a new lifestyle, where we’re at home more.
Even post pandemic, with most office-based work now taking part on at least a hybrid basis, more and more of us work from home – allowing us to enjoy the company of animals so much more, and the time to devote to nurturing them.
Chickens provided both love, amusement and a means of increased self-sufficiency, with their quirky personalities, amusing antics and nutritious eggs.
The magical benefits of family pet chickens
Speaking from our personal experience, keeping chickens as pets has been nothing short of fantastic. Our cheeky three-year-old twins absolutely adore chasing and playing with the chickens in the garden. And they love an egg!
But the benefits of having family pet chickens go beyond entertainment value and a supply of fresh eggs to enjoy. Let’s explore some of the reasons why chickens make excellent pets for children and the whole family.
1. Educational opportunities
Hens offer a unique learning experience for children, teaching them about responsibility, biology, and life cycles as they witness the miracle of life from hatching eggs to grown-up chickens.
2. Connection with nature
In a digital world, where screen time increases, introducing chickens to your family can bring children closer to nature, instilling a love and appreciation for the outdoors. Our favourite part is the joy of our eco-system being nurtured through our circular economy. We feed the larvae recycled brewery waste, we feed the larvae to the chickens and the chickens feed us with their eggs!
3. Sustainable living
Backyard chickens teach our little ones about reducing waste by turning kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich eggs, compost, and garden fertiliser – a sustainable living lesson for future eco-warriors!
4. Emotional Well-being
Chickens are wonderful companions, promoting calmness, empathy, and reducing anxiety in children and adults alike. A comfort during times of stress, these gentle creatures bring focus and happiness to our lives. Chickens have been kept in prisons and probation hostels to help people not only learn responsibility, but also develop empathy. There are community chicken groups that bring people together to care for a mutual project and provide focus and bright moments.
5. Fresh Eggs
Fresh, home-grown eggs that are not only tastier but healthier too! A lovely reward for you and your family, knowing your chickens are raised in a natural, loving environment.
6. Low Maintenance and Entertaining
Chickens are easy to care for and their quirky behaviours bring endless joy and laughter, as they chase, peck and play, both with each other and their loving human family. They don’t require constant attention like some other pets – so long as they have other chickens for company and lots of enrichment. You can learn more about hen enrichment in our blog.
7. Pest Control:
Who needs pesticides when you have chickens? Our natural guardians against garden pests such as bugs, snails, and slugs – a chemical-free, sustainable solution.
Breeds of chicken that make good family pets for children
– the golden retrievers of the chicken world. They’re a native English breed that are known for their gentle and friendly nature. Buff Orpingtons are great with children and enjoy being handled, making them an ideal choice for families. They usually lay three eggs per week – but have a tendency to become broody (this means they want to be a mother and will guard their eggs, fertilised or not, and stop laying).
these fluffy, small chickens are known for their docile and friendly personalities. They have a unique appearance with their soft feathers and feathered feet, making them a popular choice for children. They’re another breed prone to broodiness – which means laying can be a bit erratic. When they are laying, you can expect three small white, cream or pink-tinged eggs a week.
these chickens have a sweet and friendly disposition, making them great family pets. They have a round, fluffy appearance – and cute, fluffy feet. They’re known for being calm and gentle. Cochins come in a variety of colours, allowing you to choose the perfect match for your family. And about three eggs a week is average.
Pekin Bantams –
our choice of hen for our family pets! Pekins are small, fluffy and friendly – with the cutest feathered feet. They’re available in a wide range of colours but only produce about 2 eggs a week – so if eggs are your goal, consider a high-laying breed.
they’re big but docile! Brahmas are perfect for first-time chicken keepers who want lots of eggs but calm, gentle birds. They’re not prone to broodiness and lay lots of large eggs all year round.
they’re alert, sprightly and intelligent but also docile and adaptable. They’re good egg producers, but the speckled Sussex can be prone to broodiness.
Making the right choice for your family and the environment
Keeping chickens as pets can have a positive impact on your well-being, provide you with fresh and healthy eggs, require low maintenance, and offer entertainment for the whole family. It’s also a way to take a positive step towards sustainability, particularly if you choose the right feed and environment for your new feathered family members!
We have lots of tips for sustainable chicken care on our Hen Hub. Stick around to check out some guides – and pay particular attention to why supplementing your hens’ diet with live Black Soldier Fly larvae is the perfect choice!
Happy chicken keeping! Follow is on our social channels for lots of top chicken-keeping tips and info.