Pets make a great addition to family life, and in recent years, people have been moving away from the traditional companions such as dogs, cats, and goldfish, to embrace animals usually found on a farmyard.
The popularity of poultry keeping comes as no surprise to us. After all, they’re fantastic company, and who wouldn’t want fresh eggs for breakfast everyday?
If you’re considering welcoming some feathered friends to your outdoor space, here are some reasons we think you’ll be making an egg-cellent choice:
Eggs, eggs, and more eggs
The most obvious benefit of keeping chickens is the eggs. As part of a healthy diet, eggs contribute to strong muscles, brain health, energy production, and a healthy immune system.
Eggs are easy to turn into quick and delicious meals, so are the ideal ingredient to get budding chefs into the kitchen.
Finally, let’s not forget that eggs are also a key component of cake…
Children learn responsibility and empathy
Having animals at home helps to teach children fantastic life skills such as taking responsibility and having empathy for others.
Smaller children can fill feed bowls, collect eggs, and check that the water is clean. Older children can really get stuck in with hands-on chicken care by cleaning out the hen house and shutting the hens up at night before they get ready for bed themselves.
Teaching children how to handle chickens safely builds their understanding of empathy and encourages discussions about emotions and behaviour. Chickens may not speak but their body language and vocalisations ensure they make themselves understood!
There are brilliant breeds to choose from
There are so many breeds of chicken that you’re sure to find one that appeals to your family.
Silkies, Buff Orpingtons, Polish, Wyandottes, and Warrens are all breeds which are popular to keep as family pets.
Chickens also lay a variety of different coloured eggs. If you’d like something more unusual than the eggs you find in the supermarket, consider a breed such as the Araucana, who lay blue eggs, or the Black Copper Maran, who lay chocolate brown eggs.
Chickens offer many opportunities for education
As well as the practical and emotional skills children can learn from chicken keeping, you can also incorporate more academic subjects into chicken care.
Children can develop their mathematical ability by counting eggs and chickens or working out how many days a bag of food will last.
Allowing your children to name the chickens will spark their imagination and they can learn to spell the names they’ve given their new pets.
Chickens are the ideal way to spark conversation about where our food comes from, animal welfare, and the environment.
Pets are good for mental health
Studies have shown that when we stroke or cuddle a pet our bodies release the “feel good” hormone Oxytocin.
With time and patience chickens can become very friendly and will come running when they hear their names called (or they know you have treats!)
Many families who keep chickens report that their poultry are firm favourites and often find their child cuddling their preferred hen and sharing tales of their day.