The first time that I raised backyard chickens, we started with a mature flock to begin with. If I could do it all over, I would raise them from chicks and not purchase already grown hens and roos. It went okay, but we didn’t have that bond that we do with our current flock.
In fact, our first flock ended with a showdown between our 2-year-old son and our not so loving rooster, and me chasing everyone with a garden hose! It was quite a sight and the neighbors definitely had something to talk about for a while. It was at that point that I realized I wasn’t maybe ready for all that backyard chicken raising entailed! Knowing the right timing for this adventure is important.
Fast forward to round 2 of raising a backyard flock. From the very first day, our kids have been involved. They have helped me set up multiple brooders and helped me, feed, water, play with the chickens, clean their coop, and they’ve watched me care for our chickens that needed a little extra TLC. Our kids have learned responsibility and what it takes to care for something other than just focusing on themselves. They’ve seen the extra work it takes to raise chickens from babies, and they’ve seen the rewards and benefits from that.
They’ve also learned that chickens are a lot like people. They all have different personalities. Some are welcoming, some are quiet, some are loud and some are more prickly than others. They all look different, but they’re all important. Honestly, we’ve truly learned about life through raising chickens.
Our kids have learned that raising chickens takes effort. It’s not hard, but it does require them to have a few chores. They never seem to mind having all of those fresh eggs around though!
I would say to those who are on the fence about embarking on this backyard chicken adventure to remember these few points:
1. Timing is important! Just because it’s the popular thing to do right now, doesn’t mean it’s the right time for your family to do! Sit down and weigh the pros and cons and discuss if your family has the appropriate amount of time for a flock.
Make it a family project. Get everyone involved. Many hands make light work!
Understand that you may not get everything right the first time! We had no clue when we started out and we did a lot of things wrong. Now look, I’m a blogger about chickens! Haha!
Be ready for your heart to grow a little bit bigger with each chicken and build your coop larger than you think you’ll need. #chickenmath
I think all in all, parents want to teach their kids to be responsible, to have manners, to be respectful and polite, and to follow through on their commitments. Chickens aren’t going to teach your kids all of these things, but YOU will be able to teach them these important parts of life by working alongside them raising your chickens. We’ve had many conversations out in the chicken coop that have nothing to do with chickens. And it’s those conversations that will change the world.
Until next time,
–The Wing Lady