Backyard chickens are not just a trending topic but also a fantastic opportunity for your family to learn and grow together. By raising backyard chickens, children have the chance to learn responsibility, sustainable living, cooking, care-taking, empathy, and so much more! In this article, I’ll share from my personal experience the numerous ways my kids are benefiting from our backyard chickens.
Why is raising chickens good for kids?
I have a few friends who are raising chickens and before a month ago I thought, “Not me! Chicken poop, the clean up, the smell…never me!”
And then the egg prices went from $3 for 18 free range eggs to $8! And it stayed there and to this day, eggs are too expensive and in short supply.
So now, I’m a backyard chicken Mama too! I was a little worried at first about how my kids would handle chickens and how my egg laying hens would respond to my kids. I would never want to bring something into our lives that could hurt them. Thankfully, the opposite has proven true for us! Our hens are sweet and gentle and I can see just how beneficial having chicken is going to be for our kiddos.
Right off bat my kids were eager to help take care of the flock. They showed interest in understanding all there is to know about chickens and eggs and why, why, why. Being an unschooling family, I started to research ways to educate kids about chickens and I found so many things they can learn just by having these girls in the backyard.
I made some notes and am sharing what I’ve found and what I plan to teach my kids while we raise our egg laying hens.
What are the benefits of having chickens in your backyard?
There are so many incredible benefits to be gained from this fantastic adventure! From teaching children important values to promoting sustainable living and good old family bonding, raising chickens can truly enrich your kids’ lives in countless ways.
Green living? Yes, please!
Having your very own flock of egg-layers not only means saying goodbye to those store-bought, expensive cartons (and hello to fresh, delicious eggs), but it also helps our beautiful planet. My little chicks are absolute composting machines – their waste will be like pure gold for my garden.
I usually have a small garden in my raised garden bed and plan to try composting chicken manure this year to use in the garden. Chicken manure returns the essential building blocks of life back to the soil (nitrogen, carbon, etc) so that new plants can thrive. Which means less money I’ll spend on store-bought soil and organic fertilizer.
So, not only are we enjoying the freshest eggs on the block, but we’re also planning to help reduce waste and nurture a greener, healthier garden by using chicken manure. Talk about a win-win situation!
Fun with the flock
Backyard chickens are the ultimate entertainers. My kids and I love setting the chickens loose in the backyard and sitting on the swing to watch them have at it. Our hens will peck the ground for hours, finding just the right spot to scratch with their feet.
They don’t necessarily love us, but they do want to follow us around the yard sometimes. My kids like herding them around. We’ve only had them 5 weeks now, but I’m sure there will be more memorable moments we share with them. More than anything, my kids and I have yet another thing to bond over. Whether it’s cleaning out the coop together or just sitting on the swing being amazed by these birds, its time we’re spending together, in the moment.
Family bonding, chicken-style
My husband and I spend a lot of time with our kids. It’s a tiring job being parents, but we treasure every moment we spend living our life with kids at our side. Whatever project or adventure we take, the kids are right there, learning and exploring with us.
It took 4 days to build the chicken coop. The kids were there, watching our teamwork create a home for our hens. They helped shop for materials, haul supplies to the backyard and even helped with some roofing and hammering along the way. Now they help collect eggs, herd the flock and clean the coop. They don’t think of it as a chore, it’s part of our day now and they are happy to help.
Sure, there will be ups and downs – maybe even a few chicken-related mishaps along the way – but that’s all part of the adventure! These experiences will become cherished memories, stories we’ll share and laugh about around the dinner table for years to come.
So, if you’re ready to embark on an exciting journey of family bonding, chicken-style, go ahead and welcome some feathery friends into your backyard. You’ll not only gain a few clucky companions, but you’ll also create priceless memories and strengthen your family bond.
What can children learn from chickens?
Chickens have so much to teach our little ones, and these lessons can really make a difference in their lives. From responsibility and empathy to gardening know-how and even cooking skills, these feathery friends are full of wisdom. Ready to dive into all the incredible things children can learn from chickens?
Having backyard chickens is not just about the egg-citing adventure; it’s also about learning to care for living beings who depend on you.
When your little ones get involved in the day-to-day tasks of feeding, watering, cleaning the coop, and gathering those precious eggs, they’re learning to be responsible, compassionate, and caring individuals. I mean, who doesn’t want their kids to grow up understanding the importance of nurturing those smaller than them?
As they bond with their feathery friends and experience the ups and downs of chicken life, they’ll develop a strong sense of responsibility and empathy. And you know what? These are the kind of life skills that will stick with them for years to come, helping them become kind, caring adults.
The circle of life
Since they could understand the English language, I’ve been explaining to my kids the circle of life. I think it’s important for them to have a grip on the realities of life from an early age. Having backyard chickens is one way for them to have a front-row seat to the circle of life!
When kids are there to witness the life cycle of chickens, they’ll gain an understanding of how life works in the most organic way possible. And you know what? This unique experience paves the way for some deep, meaningful conversations about birth, growth, and even the tougher topics like aging and death.
By engaging with your kids and answering their questions, you’re helping them make sense of the world around them, one chicken at a time. It’s not only educational, but it’s also a heartwarming, bonding experience that your family will cherish.
Egg-cellent cooking skills
With a steady supply of fresh eggs right outside your door, your kiddos will have the perfect opportunity to discover the nutritional goodness of eggs and learn how to whip them up in a variety of scrumptious dishes. Both of my kids like eggs and we’ve had the discussion about the nutritional benefits of eggs. If your kids like cooking like mine do, you can explore a number of ways to cook eggs and add them to their favorite dishes.
Making friends and being kind
You see, chickens are quite social creatures, and observing their little clucky community can be a fantastic learning experience for our kids. They’ll witness how chickens interact with one another, communicate, and even form friendships. This can open up wonderful conversations about how we, as humans, can learn from these feathered pals.
By caring for and bonding with their backyard chickens, your kids will develop a sense of compassion and empathy towards not just their clucky companions, but also their human friends and family members. They’ll learn the importance of understanding the feelings and needs of others, and how a little kindness can go a long way in making the world a better place.
How are chickens used in education?
Isn’t it amazing how much we can learn from our feathery friends? When it comes to education, chickens play a crucial role in teaching kids about animal husbandry. This age-old practice of breeding and raising livestock is a treasure trove of knowledge, just waiting to be discovered!
As your little ones get involved with backyard chickens, they’ll start to grasp the ins and outs of breeding, genetics, and animal behavior. These lessons are so important, as they help kids develop a newfound respect and appreciation for wildlife and the environment around them. Plus, understanding the intricacies of how animals grow, thrive, and interact with their surroundings can inspire a lifelong love of nature and maybe even spark an interest in pursuing a career related to animals or the environment. How cool is that?
What are the advantages of laying hens?
One of the biggest perks is, of course, those delicious, fresh eggs – seriously, they’re a game changer!
Besides being incredibly tasty, these homegrown gems pack a serious nutritional punch. They’re loaded with high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a fantastic addition to your family’s diet. This also creates a great opportunity for you to talk to your kids about nutrition and the importance of eating healthy, nourishing food.
Don’t forget the money-saving aspect! By having your own laying hens, you’ll be saving some hard-earned cash by not having to buy store-bought eggs every week. Our eggs are way better than those we’ve ever bought at a store.
How Many Laying Hens Do I Need for a Family of 4?
From my personal experience, 4-6 egg layers will do. From the 6 we have, we are getting 5 to 6 eggs each day and that seems to be just the right amount to keep a steady supply at all times. But hey, every family’s egg needs are different, right? Maybe your family eats more or less eggs than ours or perhaps you’re the neighborhood’s egg fairy, spreading the love to friends and neighbors. In that case, feel free to adjust the number of hens accordingly. Just keep in mind that each hen will typically lay around 5-7 eggs per week, depending on her breed and age.
The 10 things kids will learn from keeping backyard chickens – A review
Backyard chickens offer a wealth of learning opportunities for children. Let me give you a quick review of the 10 things children can learn from having backyard chickens that we talked about in this article:
1. Green living: Children can learn about sustainability and reusing the animals’ waste.
2. Gardening: Backyard chickens can teach kids about gardening.
3. Responsibility: Children can learn about responsibility by caring for the chickens and ensuring they have food, water, and a clean living space.
4. Circle of life: Backyard chickens can teach kids about the circle of life, from hatching to egg-laying to natural death.
5. Cooking skills: Children can learn how to cook and bake with fresh eggs from their chickens, inspiring them to create delicious and healthy meals.
6. Fun and entertainment: Raising chickens can provide endless fun and entertainment for kids, from watching them peck and scratch to listening to their clucks and crows.
7. Kindness and compassion: Children can learn the importance of being kind and compassionate towards animals by caring for their chickens and observing their behaviors.
8. Educational opportunities: Backyard chickens can provide valuable educational opportunities for children to learn about animal husbandry, biology, and ecology.
9. Health benefits: Fresh eggs from backyard chickens are nutritious and healthy, providing children with essential vitamins and minerals for their growing bodies.
10. Sustainability: Keeping chickens in the backyard can promote and teach how to live a sustainable lifestyle and reduce the reliance on industrial egg production, leading to a healthier planet for future generations.
Conclusion – It’s worth it!
As you can see, backyard chickens offer a multitude of benefits and learning opportunities for children. So, if you’re considering welcoming these clucky companions into your home, go ahead and take the leap – the rewards are well worth the effort, and the memories and lessons learned will last a lifetime.