Raising chickens has become quite popular in recent years and for good reason; they’re pretty amazing animals. If you don’t have backyard chickens yourself, there’s a decent chance you know someone who does.
My family has had chickens for a year now and I’ve been amazed at how well our chickens fit in with our family. They’re part of our family, they’re not just egg layers. Of course, the fresh eggs are pretty amazing. There’s no going back to store bought once you’ve tried freshly laid eggs!
Beyond the fresh eggs, raising chickens is great for the whole family. It’s something everyone can get involved in together.
Here’s just a few of the many amazing benefits of raising chickens as a family:
1. Chickens are friendly and they make great pets!
Have you ever seen a child carrying around a big chicken? It’s heartwarming and hilarious at the same time.
While you might picture a giant rooster chasing people away, the truth is many chickens are extremely friendly and great with children!
Chickens can make wonderful pets, and many will happily submit to being picked up and cuddled. Some might even insist on it!
Learn the difference between hens and roosters, so you know what you’re getting into when buying chickens for your home!
We have a variety of chicken breeds and, while we can easily pick up any of them, some are definitely more friendly than others. Our Plymouth Barred Rocks, Speckled Sussex, and Silkies are very sweet. We also have two Cochin/Easter Egger mix chicks that are the sweetest, most cuddly chicks I’ve ever had, so I’m pretty confident they’ll make my “friendly” list.
Chickens have personalities too and it’s so much fun to get to know them, especially if you get them as chicks. They’ll follow you around the yard hoping to get treats whenever you head outside.
Sometimes when I’m trying to leave, I have to shoo chickens away because they surround my car!
Chickens are pets with benefits. What other pet provides breakfast for your family every day? But raising chickens will!
2. Chickens are hilarious.
All it takes is a few minutes of hanging out with chickens and you’ll be laughing. They’re funny buggers!
From the way chickens run across the yard with their wings flapping to how they all insist on using the same nest box (even though there’s 5 more identical nest boxes) and line up and squawk impatiently as they wait for one girl to finish laying her egg, raising chickens can be very entertaining.
I just have to look outside for a few minutes if I want a laugh. Even now, I see our little Silkie rooster marching proudly along with 6 large Australorp pullets. Since we don’t have a large rooster, Harry Potter (he’s my son’s rooster) thinks they’re his girls, but they’re already so much bigger than him!
Chickens have very different personalities and benefits as pets; check out some of the differences between hens and roosters here.
3. Chickens eat bugs.
Free-range chickens love to peck over the yard and eat bugs. And for every bug they eat, that’s one less to bother you. Some chickens are really good at eating ticks too, which can be a major problem in woodsy areas.
Last summer, I had to remove ticks off our cat almost every week, but once our chickens got bigger and started free ranging, that number drastically reduced.
4. Chickens can help teach kids responsibility.
While it doesn’t have to take a lot of time, chickens require some attention every day. Simple chores like feeding and watering the birds are things that kids can take responsibility for. Even younger children can help gather and count eggs.
Raising chickens is a great way for children to understand caring for animals. Especially because chickens lay eggs (or won’t if they’re not cared for), it’s a simple cause and effect that kids will quickly understand.
My kids each have their own chickens (Scooby Dooby, Chickadee, Paprika, Anna, Elsa, Harry Potter, Thunder, Violet, Harry, Mikey, Ghast, Fire Ball) and they each have their own responsibilities for helping to care for our flock.
My kids give the chickens fresh water each morning and let them out of the coop to free range. (Nate and I take care of feeding them since it requires a lot of scooping into a big feeder.) My younger boys enjoy searching for eggs (sometimes one of our girls will find a funny spot) and Luke especially loves to hunt them down. We also have three sets of chicks inside now and the kids help change out water bowls and food, and clean out brooders.
An adult should always supervise and make sure the kids are following through on their jobs, as a lack of food or water can cause serious issues, especially during hot summer months.
I go out to the chicken coop at least two or three times a day to check on our flock, give them more food, and spend time with the chickens too. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see quite a few chicken pictures there.
5. Chickens aren’t hard to care for.
Unless you have a lot of birds, raising chickens doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or require a lot of time.
Your biggest cost or time requirement will most likely be setting up housing for your chickens, but even that doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
In the beginning, you’ll want to set up a chicken brooder for your chicks. But after that, you’ll need to plan for their coop long-term.
If you or a family member are handy, you can build a coop yourself. You could also find a used coop or convert a shed, both of which are great, usually inexpensive options.
Always remember that bigger is better; more space equals happier, healthier chickens. A good rule of thumb is that each chicken should have 4 square feet inside the coop and 10 square feet in the outside run.
Good food is essential for healthy chickens and that’s why we use Purina® Organic Poultry Feed.
I take chicken feed very seriously, especially since my kids and myself have some health issues. The food that our chickens eat will trickle down to their eggs, so a high quality organic feed is important for us.
Purina® poultry feed is made with good stuff and none of the yucky stuff. So there’s no genetically modified ingredients, animal by-products, fillers, artificial preservatives, or growth hormones.
Purina® has a full line of certified USDA Organic chicken feed for all our chicken-keeping needs. We were sent Purina® Organic Layer Poultry Feed to try out with our flock.
For chicks up to 18 weeks of age, there’s Purina® Organic Starter-Grower Poultry Feed, which provides simple, complete nutrition to support a healthy immune system, proper muscle development, and beautiful feathers.
For chickens over 18 weeks old, there’s Purina® Organic Layer Poultry Feed. With a choice of pellets or crumbles (we do pellets), this feed helps support a healthy immune system and strong, nutritious eggs.
There’s also Purina® Organic Scratch Grains Poultry Feed, which is meant to be a treat fed in moderation for chickens over 18 weeks of age.
We switched to Purina® Organic Layer Poultry Feed about a month ago and our chickens love it! While some chickens can be picky, not one of our girls hesitated to gobble up their Purina® Organic Poultry Feed.
Between fresh eggs, backyard entertainment, fewer bugs, adorable pets, and a great responsibility for kids, you can see why raising chickens is great for families.
Click here to print a $5 off coupon now!
1 lucky winner will receive (1) Product Voucher for a free bag of Purina Organic Poultry Feed!
This giveaway ends on May 13, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST.
Open to the US only, ages 18+.
Click here for complete rules and disclosure.
Closed: the winner is Gena!
This post has been sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition, as such I received free product from Purina to share my opinion with my readers. However, my opinions are based on my individual and unique experience. Based on my experience in 2016 I believe this line of feed has been amazing for my flock and I encourage you to try it too!